PhD Positions


Leeuwarden, Netherlands 🇳🇱

About Wetsus

The Wetsus doctoral program has grown in the 10 years of its existence to a prime example of smart, regional specialization on water technology with a strong European connection between research institutes and industry partners. The research in the Wetsus program takes place in close collaboration with 90 companies that actively participate in the research through paying memberships to focused and high trust research themes. All Wetsus researchers have at least three contacts per year with these industry partners.

The research objective of Wetsus is to develop innovative and sustainable water technology. In our vision, such technology must be:

  1. Based on process technology
  2. A potential breakthrough solution
  3. Emission free
  4. Part of an endless cycle (cradle to cradle)
  5. Introduced into society by entrepreneurs

The research involves many different scientific disciplines and focuses on the following five main research areas in clean water production and waste water treatment:The combination of biological and chemical conversion technology with separation technology, high tech systems and new materials has high potential to develop important innovations in water technology, especially if researchers work in close collaboration, preferably at a single location. The critical mass of this program is concentrated in Wetsus’ interdisciplinary laboratory located in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. The research facilities are excellent.

  • New water sources
  • Sustainable water supply
  • Waste water treatment and reuse
  • Reuse and production of components and energy from water
  • Detection of pathogens and micro/nano pollutants

Since 2010, Wetsus publications are cited on average 2.2 times higher than the world average (ISI Web of Knowledge, Essential Science Indicators, categories Chemistry, Environment/ Ecology). This puts Wetsus as a research institute of its size (>50 publications annually), in the category “very high impact”.Since 2010, Wetsus publishes about 60 journal publications each year (peer reviewed international journals, indexed in “Scopus” and “Web of Science”). The average number of publications per PhD student is 4.3. Researchers at Wetsus publish regularly in the following journals (impact factor 2013 in brackets): Progress in Materials Science (25.9) and Energy & Environmental Science (15.5; 6x since 2012), Water Research (5.3), Environmental Science & Technology (5.5), Bioresource Technology (5.0), ChemSusChem (7.1), Journal of Membrane Science (4.9), and Desalination (4.0).

Summary research excellence Wetsus

  • Ca. 60 publications per year
  • In journals with high impact factor
  • Citations 2,2 times average
  • Institute has a “very high impact” based on “Van Raan” criterion
  • Dissemination is stimulated.
  • Inter-disciplinary cooperation
  • Intensive industrial collaboration

At the moment about 65 PhD’s work at Wetsus from all over the world. 63% of the staff and researchers are from outside The Netherlands. 36% of the PhDs working at Wetsus are female.

For more information about Wetsus see

Our Offer

You will be working in a new, innovative, dynamic, idea driven and future-directed research institute. You will be able to put your mark on the development of new water technology. In our Centre of excellence we strive for high level research projects. You will work in close collaboration with our industrial partners and also with research groups of various universities. The unique characteristic of Wetsus is the multidisciplinarity of the program. 

Salary and working conditions are according to the collective labor agreement of the Cooperative Association of Dutch Universities (VSNU) for PhD students. Per 1-1-2018 the salary for a PhD student as determined by the collective labor agreement are (in Euros before tax per year): €31.108 (year 1), €36.232(year 2), €37926(year 3) and €39.760 (year 4). PhD students are appointed by one of the cooperating universities but research is conducted at the Wetsus laboratory in Leeuwarden.


  • The candidate holds a master degree in the relevant discipline (see the PhD position) or will receive this before the appointment date
  • The candidate doesn’t hold a previous PhD degree
  • The ability to work in a multidisciplinary team in an international environment and to work independently
  • Strong interest in research and science
  • Excellent English communication skills, orally as well as in scientific writing
  • Preference for candidates with study experiences outside their home country

How to apply

Outstanding and highly motivated candidates are asked to provide the following information:

  • Motivation letter
  • CV specifying:
    – Doctoral study entrance qualification (name master degree)
    – List of internships (subject, name supervisor, grade, etc)
    – Publications (if applicable)
    – Scientific interest, complementary qualifications, achievements
    – Other relevant information
  • Grades (with explanation on the grading system)
  • Copy of master diploma or letter of university that master diploma will be obtained soon
  • At least one letter of recommendation and contact information of the referee(s)

Use the apply button to send your application. You find the apply button at the end of each project published.

Only complete applications will be evaluated.

You can only apply once. You are asked to rank your preference for a research project. A maximum of 3 preferences can be given.The recruitment will proceed based on your first preference. If we think you are more suitable for your 2nd or 3th preference, we will inform you.

Please combine all documents in one single attachment.

It is important to only use this apply button. All other applications will not be processed!