Two-year Postdoc on effect-directed analysis of micropollutants in water

Aarhus University

Aarhus, Denmark 🇩🇰

The Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering, Aarhus University, invites applications for a 2-year postdoc position offering applicants an exciting opportunity to join our research on effect-directed analysis of micropollutants in wastewater.

Starting Date and Period

The position is for 2 years. The starting date is flexible: March 2021 or thereafter.

Job description

The currently known environmental micropollutants are generally responsible for less than 1-5% of the total mixture toxicity in wastewaters. This project aims at identifying the key toxicants in complex mixtures and assess their removal in advanced water purification (bio)technologies.

For this, the project aims at developing an innovative technology for high resolution screening of bioactive compounds (i.e. effect-directed analysis, EDA) by developing a direct coupling between liquid chromatography – mass spectrometry and planar bioassays (i.e. in vitro bioassays integrated with TLC).

Specific tasks are:

  • Development of a novel interface for printing µL-droplets of the eluent of liquid chromatography on TLC plates for planar bioassays
  • Optimization and validation of the EDA approach for detecting biological effects based on liquid chromatography coupled with planar bioassays
  • Identification of key pollutants causing the currently unattributed effects in wastewater before and after advanced water purification (bio)technologies.
  • Working in a team with external & international partners including research stays abroad

The project will be conducted in close collaboration with:

There is considerable freedom to align the goals of the project with the goals of the candidate. The candidate is therefore encouraged to describe research ideas as part of the application (research proposal of max. 2 pages).
The position is funded by the Danish Research Foundation.

Your profile

Our ideal candidate holds a PhD related to environmental chemistry and or similar, has an open mind to develop new ideas and is eager to collaborate with international partners. Experience with effect-based methods is valuable but not required.

The following qualifications are relevant for the position:

  • Experience with chromatography and mass spectrometry
  • Experience with effect-based methods such as in vitro bioassays
  • Experience with fate of micropollutants in wastewater treatment
  • Publishing in peer-reviewed journals
  • Developing and writing project proposals

Where experience is lacking, the candidate must be motivated to learn and will get the opportunity to learn and develop new skills. The applicant should be interested to co-supervise students. Excellence in both written and spoken English is a requirement.

Who we are

The research group ‘Microbial Technologies for Clean Water’ is specialized in processes at the interplay between microorganisms and pollutants in water. To ensure clean water and sustainable water use, we investigate how microbes can be optimally managed in biotechnologies for water purification. In this context, we develop new concepts for water quality assessment and effect-directed analysis based on bioassays to measure biological water quality. By combining these bioassays with advanced chemical analytical techniques, we obtain a comprehensive picture of the biological effects and chemical nature of micropollutants in water.

The Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering has strong biotechnology research areas within medical and industrial biotechnology, environmental and process engineering, industrial microbiology, immunology, protein and lipid biotechnology, and modelling of biological processes. Close collaboration with the Departments of Molecular Biology and Genetics, iNano, Biosciences, Food, Agroecology and Chemistry is a natural part of our culture. The successful applicant will be working with biotechnology and will produce and disseminate knowledge and research results about the biological and chemical basis of relevant processes. Translation of results into solving relevant societal problems within environmental issues, health and industry is a highly prioritized part of our work.

What we offer

The successful candidate is offered:

We offer a well-financed and unique research opportunity to conduct research on effect-directed analysis of micropollutants in water at a high international level.

We encourage a research climate with lively, open and critical discussion within and across different fields of research.

We guarantee access to well-developed research infrastructure including state-of-the-art instrumentation for chemical analysis (UHPLC-HRMS).

Place of Work

The successful candidate will be employed by Aarhus University, located in the vibrant student-city of Aarhus. The place of work is the Aarhus University Centre for Water Technology (WATEC) ( at the Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering (, Universitetsbyen 36, 8000 Aarhus C. WATEC is a strongly growing and highly dynamic interdisciplinary centre at the Department of Engineering.

Contact Information

Further information about the position may be obtained from Leendert Vergeynst, +4550577938, email: [email protected]


29 November 2021

Application procedure

Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants.

Letter of reference

If you want a referee to upload a letter of reference on your behalf, please state the referee’s contact information when you submit your application. We strongly recommend that you make an agreement with the person in question before you enter the referee’s contact information, and that you ensure that the referee has enough time to write the letter of reference before the application deadline.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to ensure that letters of reference received after the application deadline will be taken into consideration.

Formalities and salary range

Technical Sciences refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities.

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.

Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here.

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University’s website.

Aarhus University

Aarhus University is an academically diverse and research-intensive university with a strong commitment to high-quality research and education and the development of society nationally and globally. The university offers an inspiring research and teaching environment to its 38,000 students (FTEs) and 8,000 employees, and has an annual revenues of EUR 885 million. Learn more at





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development