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Funded MSCA PhD studentship in phosphorus recovery from wastewater

A three-year PhD position in phosphorus recovery from wastewater is available at the Department of Green Technology, University of Southern Denmark under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) European Innovative Training Network RecaP (Capture, Recycling and Societal Management of Phosphorus in the Environment) within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission (Agreement No. 956454). The expected starting date is  1 September, 2021. 

Project Background 
In this PhD project we will investigate the crystallization of various P products from different P-rich stream scenarios from wastewater treatment plants, different P recovery processes based on crystallization and membrane separation will be developed. The configuration and key operation parameters of the process will be identified to enable a systematic optimization strategy to ensure the recovery of P product with the desired critical quality attributes. Strategies for selecting the optimal P products as well as the recovery process will be established based on the economy of the recovery process.

Job description

  • You will conduct research on: investigation of the feasibility of using membrane for concentrating the P-rich stream and the economy analysis of the hybrid membrane-crystallization process with respect to various P-rich scenarios; crystallization of struvite, calcium phosphates and vivianite in different P-rich stream scenarios and mapping of the preferred products with respect to the concentrations of the key components; identification of the key operation parameters for optimization of the recovery economy.
  • You will be involved in the daily co-supervision of Master and Bachelor students.
  • You will publish and present your work both at international conferences and in scientific journals with high impact.
  • You will assist in teaching activities. 

The PhD project will be carried out at University of Southern Denmark, and the PhD student will have secondment and research stay in collaborating institutes, such as Aalborg University, Wetsus and Krüger A/S.


  • You have a MSc degree (equivalent to a Danish master's degree) in Chemical Engineering, Biotechnology, Environmental Technology or other closely related disciplines
  • You have a strong background on industrial separation technologies (crystallization, membrane separation)
  • You are fluent in English, both spoken and written
  • You have good collaboration and communication skills

Please review the main duties for all ESR positions by visiting the RECAP website.

Additionally, the successful candidate must meet the MSCA criteria

  • Early State Researcher: Be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctorate. This 4-year period is measured from the date of obtaining the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate, excluding military, parental, sick leave, etc.
  • Mobility Rule: Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the hosting institution for more than 12 months in the last 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are exempt/excluded.

The RecaP MSCA-ITN Training Network
RecaP will train a cohort of 15 PhD students (Early Stage Researchers) to become Phosphorus specialist within the Global Phosphorus Challenge in a way that is socially, economically, and environmentally acceptable. This application is for the project ESR4:  P recovery from wastewater by crystallization and membrane separation.

For further details, visit the RecaP website:

Contact information
For further information about this position, please contact Professor WSR, Haiyan Qu at 

For further information about the RecaP Project, please contact Project Manager Jake Reardon at

If you experience technical problems you must contact  

Conditions of employment
Applicants are required to have a master’s degree (equivalent to a Danish master's degree) at the time of enrollment and employment. Employment as a PhD fellow is a 3-year salaried position (start salary amounts to approx. 3.378,- EURO per month incl. supplements).

Employment of a PhD fellow can only happen after the Head of the PhD School has approved the candidate for admission to the PhD school. Employment and enrollment will cease without further notice at the end of the period.

A PhD fellow is not allowed to have any kind of sideline employment, while enrolled as PhD fellow at the faculty.

Employment is governed by the Protocol on PhD Research Fellows signed by the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Please check links for more information on salary and taxation.

The successful candidate will be enrolled at SDU in accordance with Faculty regulations and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities (PhD order), read more here

The assessment process
Read about the Assessment and selection process. Shortlisting may be used. 

The RecaP website includes more detailed information about recruitment and selection.

Application procedure
The Faculty expects applicants to read the Faculty information for prospective PhD students and the SDU information on How to apply before applying.

The application deadline is 1 June, 2021.

The application must be in English and must include the following - the required forms must be found at the Faculty website:
  • Completed TEK PhD application form for 5+3 applicants. Find the form at the Faculty website.
  • Motivation letter stating your specific interest, motivation and qualifications for the project in question (max. 2 pages)*.  Upload in the field called “Project description”. 
  • A Curriculum Vitae, describing previous employment and including personal contact information.
  • Verified copies of the official bachelor diploma and master's diploma and transcripts of exams, both original and translated into English.
  • Completed TEK PhD form for calculation grade point average. Find the form at the Faculty website. Upload in one of the fields called “Publication”. 
  • An official document describing the grading scheme of the awarding universities (if not Danish). Upload in one of the fields called “Publication”. 
  • An official and verified written assessment of the thesis or dissertation project from the grade giving institution, if the thesis/examination project is evaluated by approved/passed. The statement must clearly state that the candidate has been among the top 30 pct. in the graduation class for the study programme.
  • List of publications and examples of relevant publications, in case you have any publications. Please attach one pdf-file for each publication.
  • Reference letters may also be included. You're welcome to use the form for reference letter at the Faculty website.
*Please specifically address these questions at the end of your motivation letter:
  1. I agree that I have not resided in Denmark for more than 12 months in the last 3 years: Yes/No
  2. I confirm I am an early-stage researcher (i.e. in the first four years of research career and do not have a doctoral degree): Yes/No
  3. I hold a master's degree in a relevant discipline, or will receive this before appointment date: Yes/No
Data collected from candidates will be used for recruitment purposes only and will not be shared outside of the RecaP consortium unless authorized by the applicant.

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background. RecaP values diversity, and does not discriminate based on gender, religion, marital status, age, or cultural background. Additionally, RecaP seeks to increase the number of women in scientific areas where they are underrepresented are therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

Send application
Deadline 2021-June-01

You can apply for the job at Faculty of Engineering by completing the application form