Transforming Wastewater Infrastructure in the US - 4 postdoc positions

Various Universities

Various, , US

Job Type: 
Job Rank: 
Job Institution: 
Columbia/UNC/Alabama/UC-Irvine/South Alabama
Job Description: 

Postdoctoral Researcher Positions (4 positions)

Transforming Wastewater Infrastructure in the United States

Columbia University, UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Alabama, University of South Alabama, or UC-Irvine

Start date: Spring/Summer 2021

Duration: 1 year, but may be extended for a second year based on performance and funding

We seek up to four postdoctoral researchers to lead various aspects of this collaborative research effort between five universities. Successful candidates will join an exciting new initiative focused on the future of US wastewater infrastructure with an initial focus on improvement in the Black Belt region of Alabama. The Black Belt region suffers from the confluence of rural poverty, a lack of available sewer, and shrink-swell clay soils that preclude the use of affordable onsite wastewater technologies. Therefore, onsite wastewater failures and ‘straight pipes’ (surface discharge of raw sewage from homes) are common.

The project brings together expertise in water management, engineering, public health, law, and policy, bringing together an interdisciplinary team from Columbia University, the University of Alabama, University of South Alabama, University of California Irvine, and the University of North Carolina. Depending on their role in the project, the successful candidates may be based geographically at one of the universities while being directly advised or co-advised by faculty at another university. 

A link to the project description is here:

The successful candidates will lead diverse components of the project in the broad areas of (1) characterizing the scope and nature of the problem, (2) elucidating the role of technical, social, and regulatory barriers and identifying possible solutions, and (3) developing and implementing decentralized wastewater systems that can sustainably address the particular challenges of specific communities. Activities could include field, laboratory and modeling. 


  • PhD in Civil or Environmental Engineering, Microbiology, Operations Research, Environmental Economics, Epidemiology or related fields, as appropriate to the candidate’s proposed role in the project (by May 2021)
  • Candidates should have knowledge and skills in one or more of the following topic areas:
    • wastewater management, treatment, reuse, and resource recovery
    • water/wastewater utility operation and finance
    • environmental health microbiology and molecular microbiology
    • network optimization, statistics and be adept in spatio-temporal data analytics and/or socio-technical systems
    • smart systems, sensors and control
    • Interest in and ability to learn and work on an interdisciplinary project
    • Excellent written and spoken English

Applications Process:

These positions offer competitive salary and benefits. To apply, please email Mark Elliott ([email protected]) and put “Transforming Wastewater Infrastructure in the US Postdoc” in the subject line. Applicants should attach the following in a single PDF (1) a cover letter describing your interest in the positions, and including in which of the five bulleted topic areas you have expertise or competency, (2) your current CV, (3) contact information for three references, and (4) a PDF of one journal article of what you believe is your best published research.