The Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering has about 290 employees encompassing a broad theoretical knowledge base, from engineering science to the social sciences to the humanities, as well as design-based, artistic research. The combination of all of these perspectives allows for great interdisciplinary advancement in the field and a broader discussion of various aspects of sustainability. Together, we provide a comprehensive environment for architecture and civil engineering, well equipped to take on the common challenges of building a sustainable future.

Information about the employer

At the division of Water Environment Technology (WET), Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Chalmers, our research aims at identifying and developing sustainable solutions to issues concerning water, materials and resources. Together with stakeholders from the urban community, we solve engineering-science problems and acquire the knowledge needed to contribute to a sustainable development of urban areas. As a PhD student, you will be part of the environmental biotechnology and wastewater engineering research group. Together with researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology (CMB), we form the Bioresource Labs. We work primarily on biological technologies for more efficient treatment and resource recovery from waste streams. Our research spans from microbial ecology to process engineering. We develop new biotechnological processes and we investigate the fundamental science behind these processes. Examples of ongoing projects include microbial electrochemistry, anammox, aerobic granular sludge, membrane bioreactors, biosorption, and moving bed biofilm processes.

The project will be in collaboration with Sweden Water Research (SWR) which conducts research into water and develop new, effective solutions to meet the future challenges facing the water services industry. Sweden Water Research (SWR) is a research and development (R&D) company that aims, in a targeted, resource-efficient way, to meet the challenges facing the water services industry. SWR carries out research, development and innovation work in areas that are important from a sustainable social perspective. SWR coordinate competences in order to secure maintenance, identify new solutions and disseminate knowledge. Through collaboration SWR increase the opportunity to create international contacts in the field of research with a view to contributing towards a sharing of knowledge also beyond the Swedish borders. A vibrant partnership with industry, universities, cities and municipalities is an important part of our work to climate-proof our waters. The company is owned by three municipal water and wastewater operator associations, NSVA, Sydvatten and VA SYD and these organisations finance the company by sending one percent of their turnover into SWR. Through its owners SWR is anchored to 18 municipalities in the region of Scania. The head office is in Lund. SWR has always at least ten PhD students connected to the company and all students are involved in a PhD network.

More information about the WET division at Chalmers and SWR can be found here:

Project description
Aerobic granular sludge (AGS) is an innovative and novel wastewater treatment technology that is very compact and requires little energy. In AGS, the microorganisms removing organic carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater are aggregated in free-floating biofilms (granules). About 20 full-scale facilities exist worldwide today. In Strömstad, Sweden, AGS will soon be implemented in full-scale. To evaluate the operation of AGS in full-scale in Strömstad, a research consortium has been formed consisting of Sweden Water Research (a municipal R&D company in water and wastewater management), Chalmers University of Technology and Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands and a PhD project will start in 2018. The PhD student will be employed at the division of Water Environment Technology (WET) at the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE), Chalmers University of Technology or Sweden Water Research. The PhD student will also be part of the Sweden Water Research network of PhDs and will collaborate with Delft University of Technology, who is world leading in AGS research.

Specific job responsibilities

In the PhD project, a number of objectives for implementing AGS in full-scale will be evaluated, e.g. the following:

  • Maintain effluent levels of nitrogen and phosphorus below stringent demands

  • Effects of the low temperature at winter (3-10°C) on the AGS biotechnology

  • Emissions of greenhouse gases (nitrous oxide)

  • Compare requirements for space, operational costs and removal capacity of AGS with already existing alternative biotechnologies at wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs)

Studies will be performed both at the full-scale AGS process in Strömstad and at Bodalens wastewater treatment plant in Tanum. The Bodalen wastewater treatment plant is operated under such conditions that excellent settling properties of the sludge is maintained with advanced nutrient removal. Both full-scale (Strömstad and Tanum) and lab-scale studies (Chalmers and TU Delft) will be performed. The PhD student will work closely with senior researchers and one PhD student on the specific topic.

The goal of this project is to optimise the aerobic granular sludge treatment process for nitrogen and phosphorus removal with focus on Nordic conditions, i.e. low operational temperatures and low substrate concentrations.

The majority of your working time is devoted to your own research studies. As a PhD student you are expected to develop your own ideas and communicate scientific results orally as well as in written form. In addition the position will include 20% departmental work, mostly teaching duties in the Master programme “Infrastructure and Environmental Engineering” and the undergraduate program in Civil Engineering.

Position summary
Full-time temporary employment. The employment is expected to begin in the early spring of 2018 and is limited to a maximum 2.5 years. During this time a licentiate degree can be obtained. If everything goes well, we aim at continue the project towards PhD.

The applicant should have a Master of Science degree corresponding to at least 240 higher education credits in environmental engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, biotechnology, bioengineering, microbiology, or related fields. It is also desirable that the applicant has knowledge or experience in at least one of the following areas: running biological reactors, using analytical instruments, working with wastewater, or microbial community analysis. As a PhD student in our group you are expected to work independently, plan and organise your own work, work well with team members, efficiently communicate scientific results in written and spoken Swedish and English, be motivated and interested in problem solving as well as being interested in practical laboratory work.

Chalmers continuously strives to be an attractive employer. Equality and diversity are substantial foundations in all activities at Chalmers.

Application procedure
The application should be marked with Ref 20170642 and written in English. The application should be sent electronically and be attached as pdf-files, as below:

CV: (Please name the document: CV, Family name, Ref. number)
• CV
• Other, for example previous employments or leadership qualifications and positions of trust.
• Two references that we can contact.

Personal letter: (Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, Ref. number)
• 1-3 pages where you introduce yourself and present your qualifications.
• Previous research fields and main research results.
• Future goals and research focus. Are there any specific projects and research issues you are primarily interested in?

Other documents:
• Copies of bachelor and/or master’s thesis.
• Attested copies and transcripts of completed education, grades and other certificates, eg. TOEFL test results.

Please use the button at the foot of the page to reach the application form. The files may be compressed (zipped).

Application deadline: 20 January 2018

For questions, please contact:
Research leader David Gustavsson, Sweden Water Research, +46 (0)40 635 01 50 eller +46 (0)73 853 01 50

Professor Britt-Marie Wilén, Division of Water Environment Technology, Chalmers, +46 (0)31 772 21 53 eller +46 (0)72 387 64 19.

Associate professor Frank Persson, Division of Water Environment Technology, Chalmers

*** Chalmers and Sweden Water Research declines to consider all offers of further announcement publishing or other types of support for the recruiting process in connection with this position. *** 

Chalmers University of Technology conducts research and education in engineering sciences, architecture, technology-related mathematical sciences, natural and nautical sciences, working in close collaboration with industry and society. The strategy for scientific excellence focuses on our eight Areas of Advance; Building Futures, Energy, Information & Communication Technology, Life Science, Materials Science, Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, Production and Transport. The aim is to make an active contribution to a sustainable future using the basic sciences as a foundation and innovation and entrepreneurship as the central driving forces. Chalmers has around 11,000 students and 3,000 employees. New knowledge and improved technology have characterised Chalmers since its foundation in 1829, completely in accordance with the will of William Chalmers and his motto: Avancez!