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PhD project: Recovery of phosphorous and removal of heavy metals from lake
sediment by electrodialysis
DTU Civil Eng
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Wednesday 24 Nov 21
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Apply no later than 31 January 2022
Apply for the job at DTU Civil Eng by completing the following form.
DTU Civil Engineering is inviting applications for a 3-year PhD position
starting March 2022. The overall aim of the project is to develop an
electrodialytic method for simultaneous recovery of phosphorous and separation
of heavy metals from contaminated lake sediments.
The EU currently imports over 90% of its P fertilizers, most of which is
intended for the agricultural production, from where a fraction is lost and
pollutes the environment. A large part of the lost P ends up in lake sediments
causing eutrophication. To date, combating the harmful effects of excess P in
lakes is purely linear, e.g. by immobilizing P in the sediment. However, by
this, the pollution problem is not solved, and the P resources are permanently
lost. To enable the recovery and recycling of P from sediments, new technology
and techniques are required, whereby P can be recovered from the sediments and
heavy metals can be removed to enable recycling of the sediment to land.
Responsibilities and qualifications
The PhD project is part of a large project, RePair. The goal of RePair is to
promote a paradigm shift in lake management by restoring freshwater bodies by
transforming lake sediment and P polluted lake water into a valuable resource
and simultaneously combat any harmful effects on the environment. This will be
achieved through a unique constellation of interdisciplinary research between
four Danish universities and relevant stakeholders from industry, agriculture,
and lake managers.
The PhD project will focus on resource recovery from heavy metal contaminated
lake sediments. The research is experimentally based. It includes development,
test and optimization of an electrodialytic method for removal of heavy metals
simultaneously to recover the extracted P. Through work with sediments from
different lakes and with different characteristics, a generally applicable
electrodialytic method is developed.
The candidate should have a master's degree in environmental, chemical or
civil engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the
master's degree. Further, the candidate should have deep knowledge on heavy
metal adsorption/desorption from soils, sediments or sludges, or on recovery
of phosphorous in these matrices and the dynamics of eutrophication. In
addition, the candidate must be experienced in planning and conducting
laboratory experimental work. Knowledge within techniques for characterizing
particulate materials as well as electrochemical processes is an advantage. A
good command of the English language, both spoken and written, is essential.
The candidate is expected to be self-motivated and to publish the project
results in international peer-reviewed journals.
Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the
candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For
information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the
PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.
The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor Lisbeth M. Ottosen
and associate professor Pernille E. Jensen, Section for Materials and
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence
of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a
rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for
academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and
academic freedom tempered by responsibility.
Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish
Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon
with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.
You can read more about career paths at DTU here.
Further information may be obtained from Professor Lisbeth M. Ottosen,
If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in
Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.
Please submit your online application no later than 31 January 2022
Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to
be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill
out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in
one PDF file. The file must include:
A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see
guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot
begin before having received it.
All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability,
religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.
DTU Civil Engineering develops and utilizes science and technical
knowledge for the benefit of society through a sustainable development of
construction and the built environment. As part of a strong university, the
department provides research, study programmes, innovation and research-based
consultancy of the highest quality in civil engineering. The Department
develops new knowledge and solutions for the challenges facing the
construction industry based on classic disciplines of building research, as
well as the monitoring and decoding of physical phenomena,—we combine theory
DTU Civil Engineering has a special role in researching, educating and
developing new construction engineering solutions for Arctic settings, for the
benefit of society in both Denmark and Greenland. The department has a
scientific staff of about 80 persons, 60 PhD students, and a
technical/administrative support staff of about 50 persons.
Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and
study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the
global challenges formulated in the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and
create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision
lives on today. DTU has 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an
international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working
environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we
collaborate with the best universities around the world.