The Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering has about 290 employees encompassing a broad theoretical knowledge base, from engineering science to the social sciences to the humanities, as well as design-based, artistic research. The aspiring PhD student will work in the research group on Urban Water and Contaminated Materials at the division of Water Environment Technology, with the mission to contribute to the challenges of sustainable development! Water Environment Technology brings together scientists with expertise in urban water and hydraulics, process engineering, contaminated materials, environment, and sustainability, to understand and solve engineering science problems together with the stakeholders for water, traffic and waste infrastructures. The PhD student will work in close cooperation with the waste and recycling company Renova AB and the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI).
Information about the research
Protecting the environment from the cocktail of pollutants found in stormwater in the form of microplastics, toxic metals, and organic pollutants is of high societal value and a requirement to meet environmental goals. Bioretention systems also referred to as rain gardens or bio-infiltration, is one of the most versatile and widely used methods for sustainable treatment of stormwater in many parts of the world. If these techniques are introduced on a larger scale, large amounts of soil-bed and filter materials polluted with microplastics, metals and organic pollutants will need to be managed in the future. In the design of a rain garden it is of high importance to take into consideration soil bed material and the plants and all their interaction processes.
Very little is known about the fate of organic pollutants and microplastics in stormwater sewers and other management systems, and data on the effectiveness of stormwater treatment facilities to retain and degrade microplastics. Particles and pollutants transported with runoff from road surfaces may accumulate in trapped sediments or filter media, e.g. rain garden soil, or might be transported through the stormwater system to receiving waters. Despite many studies performed, in-depth research on processes for removal, distribution, potential degradation, and/or up-take by plants or leaching of the pollutants in the various soil beds are missing for organic pollutants and microplastics.
Project descriptionThe aim and scientific challenge of this project is to design, construct and explore an innovative and sustainable rain garden where microplastics, metals, and organic pollutants from urban runoff are retained, degraded, or recovered. The goal is to significantly reduce the transport of urban pollution to receiving waters and to contribute to green infrastructure and a circular economy in the society. In this project, innovative rain gardens are developed and their efficiency in treating stormwater from the cocktail of urban pollutants are studied. It is also to study if and how the accumulated pollutants are degraded, and whether the metals can be used as a resource.
A pilot test rain garden is designed, and experiments are carried out to study beds with bio-charcoal, peat, and ash and plants with potential hyperaccumulator properties in symbiosis with mycorrhizae fungi including removal efficiency, hydraulic performance, treatment, and degradation processes. The pilot will be supplemented with laboratory studies. The goal is also to identify a sustainable, efficient, and innovative method for degradation of microplastics and organic pollutant and at the same time recover metals from the materials used in the rain gardens i.e. the bed material and the plants. The method could also be applicable to contaminated soil and other media such as marine sediments that need to be treated before the materials can be reused. The project contributes to the development of green infrastructure in urban environments.
As a PhD student you are expected to work independently; have the ability to plan and organise your work; to be able to work in close collaboration with other group members and partners; and to be able to communicate scientific results, both orally and in written form in English. Knowledge of Swedish is advantageous due to close collaboration with Swedish stakeholders.
You are expected to participate in teaching Bachelor and Master level courses in the field of civil and environmental engineering. Bachelor’s courses are taught in Swedish, and applicants that do not have Swedish as a native language should be able to teach in Swedish within two years of employment. Chalmers offers courses in the Swedish language.
Full-time temporary employment. The position is limited to a maximum of five years.
To qualify for this position the candidate must hold a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering, Water Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Biotechnology, Environmental Science, Chemical Engineering, Engineering Physics, or a closely related field. Experience and/or education in any or several of the following fields are advantageous: experimental design, sampling and chemical analysis, hydrology, hydrogeology, stormwater, water quality, hydraulics, statistics, laboratory work, fieldwork, chemistry, biology, and biotechnology. The position also requires excellent verbal and written communication skills in English. Chalmers offers Swedish and English courses.
We also believe that you are a motivated person, with a strong curiosity and a genuine wish to learn more and develop your skills and knowledge further in the fields of research, research communication, and project management.
Chalmers continuously strives to be an attractive employer. Equality and diversity are substantial foundations in all activities at Chalmers.
Our offer to youChalmers offers a cultivating and inspiring working environment in the dynamic city of Gothenburg.
Read more about working at Chalmers and our benefits for employees.
The application should be marked with Ref 20210203 and written in English. The application should be sent electronically and be attached as pdf-files, as below:
CV:(Please name the document: CV, Family name, Ref. number)
• Other, for example previous employments or leadership qualifications and positions of trust.
• Two references that we can contact.
Personal letter:(Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, Ref. number)
1-3 pages where you:
• Introduce yourself
• Describe your previous experience of relevance for the position (e.g. education, thesis work and, if applicable, any other research activities)
• Describe your future goals and future research focus
• Copies of bachelor and/or master’s thesis.
• Attested copies and transcripts of completed education, grades and other certificates, e.g. TOEFL test results.
Please use the button at the foot of the page to reach the application form. The files may be compressed (zipped).
Application deadline: 30th May, 2021
For questions, please contact:
Professor Ann-Margret Strömvall, firstname.lastname@example.org, +46 31 772 8600
Associate Professor Karin Karlfeldt Fedje, email@example.com, +46 31 772 2149
Professor Oskar Modin, firstname.lastname@example.org, +46 31 772 2138