PhD licentiate student position in implementation of aerobic granular sludge

PhD licentiate student position in implementation of aerobic granular sludge in full-scale. In the PhD project, a number of objectives for implementing AGS in full-scale will be evaluated.


Aerobic granular sludge (AGS) is an innovative and novel wastewater treatment technology that is very compact and requires little energy. In AGS, the microorganisms removing organic carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater are aggregated in free-floating biofilms (granules). About 20 full-scale facilities exist worldwide today. In Strömstad, Sweden, AGS will soon be implemented in full-scale. To evaluate the operation of AGS in full-scale in Strömstad, a research consortium has been formed consisting of Sweden Water Research (a municipal R&D company in water and wastewater management), Chalmers University of Technology and Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands and a PhD project will start in 2018. The PhD student will be employed at the division of Water Environment Technology (WET) at the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE), Chalmers University of Technology or Sweden Water Research. The PhD student will also be part of the Sweden Water Research network of PhDs and will collaborate with Delft University of Technology, who is world leading in AGS research.

Information about the employer

At the division Water Environment Technology (WET), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chalmers, our research aims at identifying and developing sustainable solutions to issues concerning water, materials and resources. Together with stakeholders from the urban community, we solve engineering-science problems and acquire the knowledge needed to contribute to a sustainable development of urban areas. As a PhD student, you will be part of the environmental biotechnology and wastewater engineering research group. Together with researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology (CMB), we form the Bioresource Labs. We work primarily on biological technologies for more efficient treatment and resource recovery from waste streams. Our research spans from microbial ecology to process engineering. We develop new biotechnological processes and we investigate the fundamental science behind these processes. Examples of ongoing projects include microbial electrochemistry, anammox, aerobic granular sludge, membrane bioreactors, biosorption, and moving bed biofilm processes.

Sweden Water Research conduct research into water and develop new, effective solutions to meet the future challenges facing the water services industry Sweden Water Research (SWR) is a research and development (R&D) company that aims, in a targeted, resource-efficient way, to meet the challenges facing the water services industry. SWR carries out research, development and innovation work in areas that are important from a sustainable social perspective. SWR coordinate competences in order to secure maintenance, identify new solutions and disseminate knowledge. Through collaboration SWR increase the opportunity to create international contacts in the field of research with a view to contributing towards a sharing of knowledge also beyond the Swedish borders. A vibrant partnership with industry, universities, cities and municipalities is an important part of our work to climate-proof our waters. The company is owned by three municipal water and wastewater operator associations, NSVA, Sydvatten and VA SYD and these organisations finance the company by sending one percent of their turnover into SWR. Through its owners SWR is anchored to 18 municipalities in the region of Scania. The headoffice is in Lund. SWR has always at least ten PhD students connected to the company and all students are involved in a PhD network.

Specific job responsibilities

In the PhD project, a number of objectives for implementing AGS in full-scale will be evaluated, e.g. the following:
– Maintain effluent levels of nitrogen and phosphorus below stringent demands
– Effects of the low temperature at winter (3-10°C) on the AGS biotechnology
– Emissions of greenhouse gases (nitrous oxide)
– Compare requirements for space, operational costs and removal capacity of AGS with already existing alternative biotechnologies at wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs)
Both full-scale (Strömstad and Tanum) and lab-scale studies (Chalmers and TU Delft) will be performed. The PhD student will work closely with senior researchers and one PhD student on the specific topic.
The goal of this project is to optimise the aerobic granular sludge treatment process for nitrogen and phosphorus removal with focus on Nordic conditions, i.e. low operational temperatures and low substrate concentrations.
The majority of your working time is devoted to your own research studies. As a PhD student you are expected to develop your own ideas and communicate scientific results orally as well as in written form.

Position summary

Full-time temporary employment. The employment is expected to begin in the early spring of 2018 and is limited to a maximum 2.5 years.
Expected skills and qualifications
The applicant should have a Master of Science degree corresponding to at least 240 higher education credits in environmental engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, biotechnology, bioengineering, microbiology, or related fields. It is also desirable that the applicant has knowledge or experience in at least one of the following areas: running biological reactors, using analytical instruments, working with wastewater, or microbial community analysis. As a PhD student in our group you are expected to work independently, plan and organise your own work, work well with team members, efficiently communicate scientific results in written and spoken Swedish and English, be motivated and interested in problem solving as well as being interested in practical laboratory work.

Application procedure

The following documentation should be sent in as PDF files to
• CV: (labeled as: CV, Surname, A CV including two references
• A personal letter: (labeled as: Personal letter, Surename, 1-3 pages where you describe yourself, your qualifications relevant for the position and future plans for research.
Other documentation:
• Candidate- or Master thesis
• Attested copies of education certificates. Including grades and other certificates.

Last application day: January 15, 2018

For questions, please contact:
Research leader David Gustavsson, Sweden Water Research, +46 (0)40 635 01 50 eller +46 (0)73 853 01 50
Professor Britt-Marie Wilén, Avdelningen för Vatten Miljö Teknik, Chalmers, +46 (0)31 772 21 53 eller +46 (0)72 387 64 19.
Associate professor Frank Persson, Avdelningen för Vatten Miljö Teknik, Chalmers

*** Chalmers and Sweden Water Research declines to consider all offers of further announcement publishing or other types of support for the recruiting process in connection with this position. ***