Principal investigator - ERA Chair in Quantum Optics and Photonics

    University of Latvia
    PhysicsApplied physics
    PhysicsComputational physics
    PhysicsQuantum mechanics
    Leading Researcher (R4)
    15/08/2020 23:00 - Europe/Athens
    Latvia › Riga

University of Latvia announces a competition for the position of a Principal investigator - an ERA Chair in Quantum Optics and Photonics (ERA Chair).

The position of the ERA Chair holder is open to all EU and non-EU nationals worldwide and matches the profile on the level of "Leading Researcher (R4)" (https://www.more3.eu/indicator-tool/career-stages-r1-to-r4). The ERA Chair holder is expected to be an excellent researcher as well as a science manager and project designer with a proven record of effective leadership.

The ERA Chair should be experienced and interested in:

  • quantum optics, laser technologies, photonics and related industrial activities;

  • project design for EU Framework programmes, including Quantum Flagship;

  • research activities which fits the topics and infrastructures of NSP FOTONIKA-LV.

The ERA Chair is expected to implement the European Regional Development Fund project No. “The Development of Quantum Optics and Photonics in University of Latvia” (PROJECT), which is a refinanced project submitted initially for Horizon 2020 ERA Chair programme. The implementation period of the PROJECT is 1st May 2019 – 30th November 2023 (55 months). Recruitment period of an ERA Chair is expected to be 1st October 2020 – 30th November 2023 (38 months). The total budget of the PROJECT is 2.5 million EUR.

The PROJECT is realized at the University of Latvia (University, LU) and its National Science Platform (NSP) FOTONIKA-LV. NSP FOTONIKA-LV includes the Laboratory of Quantum Optics and the Laboratory of Atomic Physics, Atmospheric Physics and Photochemistry of the Institute of Atomic Physics and Spectroscopy (LU ASI) and the Institute of Astronomy. NSP FOTONIKA-LV was created to be a centre of excellent research in the European Research Area and to be a strong and welcomed partner/coordinator in consortiums of EU Research and Innovation Framework programme projects.


Expected impact of the PROJECT and activities of the ERA Chair, according to the PROJECT’s planning and Horizon 2020 ERA Chair program:

  1. Increased attractiveness of NSP FOTONIKA-LV and the University, as well as Latvia and the Baltic countries for internationally excellent and mobile researchers, including local nationals;
  2. Increased research excellence of NSP FOTONIKA-LV and the University in the specific field of “Quantum Optics and Photonics”;
  3. Improved capability of NSP FOTONIKA-LV and the University to apply successfully for internationally competitive research funding (including Framework Programme funding);
  4. Institutional changes for NSP FOTONIKA-LV and the University for implementing the European Research Area priorities (including an open recruitment policy, gender balance, peer review, and innovative doctoral training).

Main tasks of the ERA Chair:

  1. To perform research in “Quantum Optics and Photonics” within NSP FOTONIKA-LV and the University resulting in at least 24 scientific publications in journals or conference proceedings. This indicator should be achieved by the ERA Chair and his/her team till the end of the PROJECT. Innovative activities should result in at least 2 patent applications;
  2. To form and manage an ERA Chair’s research team of about 4-6 members that will be selected in an open competition via the EURAXESS portal. The team should contribute to the achievement of the results of the PROJECT, acting coherently with local colleagues, groups and labs. Local and foreign candidates are welcome for the participation in the competition;
  3. To compete for research funding. The preparation of high quality project proposals, including at least 4 project proposals for Framework Programmes Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe or other international research funding programmes, at least 1 project proposal for European Regional Development Fund call and at least 1 project proposal for the Latvian Council of Science call;
  4. To elaborate, in partnership with local researchers, the strategy for the progress in the field of “Quantum Optics and Photonics” at the University and in its units. To develop the “Human Resources Strategy for Researchers” for the NSP FOTONIKA-LV and the University. To foster and implement the necessary structural changes at the University needed for NSP FOTONIKA-LV to be a strong player within the European Research Area;
  5. To sustain the existing and broaden the network of research and industry partners on the EU scale. To communicate and disseminate the results and the aims of the ERA Chair PROJECT. Supervise the preparation of two “Quantum Optics and Photonics - Riga 2021/2023” conferences and summer schools in Latvia. To offer a specific course on quantum optics and photonics;
  6. To ensure the effective management of the PROJECT in collaboration with the project coordinator in order to achieve all measurable results of the PROJECT that are set in the PROJECT’s description.

Additional task of the ERA Chair will be:

  1. To monitor the full landscape of “Quantum Optics and Photonics” in Latvia, Europe and world-wide, and adapt and lead accordingly.


For the implementation of the PROJECT, the ERA Chair will be joined and helped by the coordinator, administrator, leader of NSP FOTONIKA-LV and Science Department of the University.

Resources provided to the ERA Chair:

  1. Salary of 8000 EUR/month ( ~ 5500 EUR/month after taxes);
  2. Relocation expenses to Latvia: ~ 7000 EUR;
  3. Budget for equipment and consumables: ~ 50 000 EUR (The ERA Chair’s project call allows to cover only minor equipment and consumable expenses);
  4. Office rooms for the ERA Chair and his/her team in the new campus of the University of Latvia (“Science house”) and in the NSP FOTONIKA-LV headquarters building (Skunu 4) in old Riga;
  5. Laboratory rooms for the ERA Chair and his/her team. NSP FOTONIKA-LV has secured specially up to 300 m2 space in old Riga (Skunu 4) for the needs of the ERA Chair and his/her team. The location in the very centrum of Riga is an advantage for various outreach activities targeting eventual STEM students, general public and guest of Riga;
  6. Full access to advanced and sophisticated laboratory equipment: Quantum Optics Laboratory (leader – J. Alnis) and Laboratory of Atomic Physics, Atmospheric Physics and Photochemistry (leader – A. Ubelis). These laboratories were initiators and designers of the current PROJECT and they are ready to ensure a productive support to ERA Chair and his/her team. Additional access to various research labs of University of Latvia and other research institutions in Latvia, among which some are decade long partners of members of NSP FOTONIKA-LV, will be provided on collegial open access basis;
  7. Funds to cover the cost of his/her research team (researchers to be selected through international competition via the EURAXESS portal) – about 800 000 EUR for salaries;
  8. Travel expenses to conferences and the research and industry partners worldwide, and incoming travels – about 135 000 EUR (for all PROJECT activities).

Keywords of the call: quantum optics, optics, photonics, atomic and molecular physics, quantum technologies, laser technologies, materials science, applied physics

Eligibility criteria

  • He/she holds a PhD;
  • He/she has good skills in English to prepare scientific publications and project proposals;
  • He/she is not a current employee of the University of Latvia as it is highly expected requirement of the Horizon 2020 ERA Chair programme (not to recruit an ERA Chair from the project implementer’s institution);

Selection process

ERA Chair candidates will be evaluated by a Selection Committee. An Advisory Committee, consisting of local and foreign research and industry leaders, will be part of the Selection Committee. Leader of the Advisory Committee – Dr. Sune Svanberg (*) senior professor at Lund University (Lund, Sweden) and distinguished professor at South China Normal University, Centre for Optical and Electromagnetic Research (Guangzhou, China). Distinguished member of the Advisory board - Dr. Lorenzo Pavesi, University of Trento (Italy). Leader of the Selection Committee – Dr. Arnolds Ubelis, a leader of the LU ASI Laboratory of Atomic Physics, Atmospheric Physics and Photochemistry, leader of NSP FOTONIKA-LV and former leader of the EC Framework Program National Contact Point System (Latvia).

Selection of a best candidate for an ERA Chair will be accomplished in two rounds.

The first round is the current worldwide open competition. Applicants are expected to submit:

  1. his/her CV,
  2. Motivation letter (that includes description of his/her research and leadership experience, vision for a work in the ERA Chair position, and information concerning 1-3 colleagues to be contacted for an opinion on the candidate).

These documents should be submitted electronically to: Aigars.Atvars@lu.lv with the title of the e-mail “ERA Chair competition”.

Documents submitted by candidates will be evaluated and ranked by the Selection committee and best few candidates will be nominated for the second selection round.

In the second round, applicants will be invited to give a presentation (remotely or by visiting University of Latvia) to the Selection Committee describing their research activities, vision and work plan for the role of ERA Chair in Quantum Optics and Photonics of University of Latvia (travel costs will be covered by the PROJECT).

* CV of Sune Svanberg, http://www.atomic.physics.lu.se/staff/professors/sune-svanberg/

Additional comments

Half time recruitment is possible for the first few months, and up to 12 months in case of specific conditions, e.g., the applicant is currently holding a H2020 European Research Council grant in last year stage.

Remote work is possible for first few months of the recruitment if international travel restrictions are active due to COVID-19 pandemic.

More details on the call: https://www.lu.lv/fileadmin/user_upload/lu_portal/projekti/fotonika-lv/ERA_Chair/Additional_file_ERA_Chair_Final.pdf

Contact person, coordinator of the PROJECT: Aigars.Atvars@lu.lv, +371 25986724.

Required Research Experiences

    More than 10
    More than 10

Offer Requirements

    Physics: PhD or equivalent
    Engineering: PhD or equivalent
    Other: PhD or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent


Highly desirable requirements of ERA Chair:

  1. He/she holds a PhD in physics or engineering in the PROJECT domain;
  2. He/she is an outstanding researcher with a Hirsch index of at least 25 (Google Scholar). An industrial experience will be an asset;
  3. The research interests of the ERA Chair covers the field of “Quantum Optics and Photonics” and are in general in line with the research interests of NSP FOTONIKA-LV research community and several research structures of the University of Latvia;
  4. He/she is an outstanding, forward looking science manager with leadership experience (for example, laboratory leader, department leader etc.);
  5. He/she has experience in project proposal design (e.g. Framework Programmes, etc.) and has good command of English. Experience with industry innovation activities will be an advantage;
  6. He/she has good communication skills and an inspiring loyalty to the University fostering structural changes of the institution;

Map Information

Job Work Location Personal Assistance locations
Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
University of Latvia
Jelgavas iela 3

EURAXESS offer ID: 536042


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