PhD position: removal of anthropogenic contaminants in drinking water treatment

Wageningen University & Research
Wageningen, Netherlands
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

We are looking for

Are you a highly driven and curious person? Do you want to contribute to the development of a new process to remove anthropogenic contaminants in drinking water treatment? Do you have a good understanding of the fundamentals of physical and chemical principles to study the removal of anthropogenic compounds? Did you enjoy courses on process engineering and mathematical modelling?

We are looking for a PhD candidate with a great interest in developing a new process for the removal of organic anthropogenic compounds, such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals, industrial and other chemicals in drinking water treatment. The presence of these components in the environment threaten surface and groundwater intakes for drinking water. Especially low molecular weight, water soluble, polar compounds are problematic. Low concentrations of these compounds can pose a threat to the environment and to human health, due to their endocrine disrupting, mutagenic, carcinogenic or other toxic effects.
You will develop a new technology for the removal of perfluorinated compounds, which are partially hydrophobic and partially hydrophilic, and which are poorly removed by commonly used absorbents (e.g. activated carbon). You will chemically modify the surface of absorbents (or purchase commercially available chemically modified absorbents) to effectively remove these contaminants. Although several studies have been performed in this field, with known (commercial) materials, a solid mechanistic understanding is still lacking. In this project, you will study various interactions between these perfluorinated compounds and the absorbents.
The aim is not only to develop a new technology for removal of perfluorinated compounds, but also and most importantly, we aim to improve our mechanistic understanding. Therefore, you will develop and use theoretical models, which we will compare with experimental data, in order to study and quantify surface interactions. Based on theoretical understanding, you will synthesize or buy other materials, and we will design an effective removal process.

We ask

  • You have an MSc degree in Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biotechnology, Molecular Life Sciences or a related discipline.
  • You have a good understanding of the fundamentals of physical and chemical principles to study the removal of perfluorinated compounds.
  • You enjoyed courses on process engineering and mathematical modelling, and you have experience with building your own theoretical models to analyze experimental data. 
  • You are highly driven and extremely curious. "Why?" is a question that you often ask. You are eager to learn new things.
  • You enjoy performing experimental research, and you perform these experiments accurately.
  • You enjoy working in a multidisciplinary team in an international environment and you work independently;
  • You have good oral and written communication skills in English (minimally IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL 90).

We offer

We offer you a temporary position for a period of 1.5 years with extension of 2.5 years after successful evaluation. Gross salary per month € 2395,-  in the first year rising up to € 3.061,-  per month in the fourth year for a full working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for the Wageningen University.

In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance.
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%.
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions.
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible.
  • excellent pension plan through ABP.
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes.
  • a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave.
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan.
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented.
  • use the sports facilities on campus.

Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for own initiative in a learning environment.
We offer a versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

More information

For more information about this function, please contact Jouke Dykstra, Assistant Professor, telephone +31 317 488 110 or by e-mail; .
For more information about the procedure, please contact  Joes van Meurs, HR advisor, +31 317-480101.
General information about Environmental Technology can be found on
This vacancy is open until October 1st.

We are

The mission of our University is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. With approximately 30 locations, 6,500 employees, and 12,000 students, it is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen. We have been named Best Employer in Education category 2019-2020.
The Environmental Technology Group develops and evaluates innovative environmental technologies and concepts based on processes from nature, to recover and reuse essential components from wastewater. Our education inspires students to develop their talents. We impact society by innovation through top science and focus on applicability.