Doctoral Candidate in Drinking Water Quality and Treatment

Aalto University

Espoo, Finland 🇫🇮

Aalto University School of Engineering, Department of Built Environment invites applications for a

Doctoral Candidate in Drinking Water Quality and Treatment

Project description

Aalto Water and Environmental Engineering Research Group (Water and Environmental Engineering | Aalto University), namely prof. Riku Vahala, has a vacancy for a doctoral candidate (“PhD student”) in a research project dealing with characterization and removal of natural organic matter (NOM) from drinking water. NOM has several adverse effects, such as providing substrate for microbial growth in the drinking water distribution system and acting as a precursor for disinfection by-products. The overall goal of the project is to better understand, which NOM fractions need to be removed from drinking water and how they can be characterized.  The project is carried out in close collaboration with Helsinki Region Environmental Services, HSY, who is providing municipal water supply and waste management services in the Helsinki metropolitan area.


Applicants should have a master’s degree in water and wastewater engineering, chemical engineering, environmental science or a related subject with good grades, and a strong knowledge in water chemistry. Experience in water treatment processes and in chemical and microbiological analyses at water laboratory is an advantage. Fluent written and verbal communication skills in English are essential, Finnish language is considered an advantage. Applicants need to be able to work full-time and fulfil the formal eligibility and admission criteria for Aalto’s Doctoral Programme in Engineering as specified at

Research environment

The successful applicant will join a team of world-class researchers at Aalto University’s School of Engineering. Aalto University is a public research university which was established in 2010 after a merger of three major Finnish universities. It is consistently highly ranked in the areas of science, art, technology and business. The University’s main campus is located in Espoo, approximately 15 minutes by metro from the center of Helsinki. Helsinki is a safe, clean, green capital city with a very high quality of life. Most Finns speak English fluently. More information about living and working in Finland can be found at

Salary, terms and conditions

First, the doctoral student will be granted a two-year contract, followed by a formal midterm evaluation. If the midterm evaluation is successful, an extension to the work contract will be made so that the total time for the doctoral studies is four years. The expected starting date is in the first months of 2022.

Completing a doctoral degree at Aalto University is expected to take four years. The doctoral degree is granted after successfully completing a set of advanced courses (40 ECTS), writing a doctoral thesis (based on peer-reviewed journal publications) and defending the thesis in a public examination. For this specific position, the doctoral candidate will be expected to analyze network condition data, to present at scientific conferences, to publish in academic journals, to participate in the activities of Aalto Water and Environmental Engineering Research Group, and to assist prof. Vahala in e.g. teaching activities (max 5% of working hours).

The salary range, terms and conditions are based on a collective bargaining agreement among Finnish universities. The starting salary for doctoral students at Aalto University is currently around 2,600€ per month (gross) which is gradually increased over time depending on performance.

How to apply

All applications must include the following materials:

  • Motivation letter with the applicant’s contact information and an indication of the preferred starting date (max 1 page)
  • CV including details of all academic merits (including publications, if applicable), and contact information for 2 persons who may be contacted to provide a character reference (max 3 pages)
  • Summary of the applicant’s master’s thesis (max 1 page)
  • Copy of the applicant’s master’s degree certificate
  • Copy of the applicant’s master’s degree certificate and a transcript of studies (with a clear explanation of the grading scale)

All materials should be submitted in English in a single pdf-file (compiled in the order specified above). The application should be submitted through our online eRecruitment system (‘Apply’) before 31 January 2022. Please note: Aalto University’s employees and visitors should apply for the position via our internal system Workday -> find jobs (not external webpage on open positions) by using their existing Workday user account.

Applications submitted by email will not be accepted. Aalto University reserves the right to leave the position open, extend the application period and consider candidates who have not applied during the application period.

Further information

Further information about working at Aalto University can be found at Content-related questions about the vacancy may be directed via email to Riku Vahala ([email protected]), who is responsible for supervising the dissertation, while recruitment-related questions may be directed to Kirsi Kärkkäinen (HR Coordinator, using the email format [email protected]).