Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

PhD position in experimental biogeochemistry, Utrecht University

Application deadline: 15 April 2019

In the framework of the European H2020 Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie Action Innovative Training Network P-TRAP (Preventing Phosphorus Input to Surface Waters – New Concepts in Trapping, Recycling and Management) the Department of Earth Sciences at Utrecht University is looking the for a highly motivated candidate to fill a PhD position to study the

Process controlling P dynamics upon reductive transformation of P containing Fe minerals

P-TRAP tackles two urgent interlinked global problems: Potential shortages of phosphate (P) for producing agricultural fertilizers and the decline of surface water quality upon excess phosphate input. P-TRAP targets the P flux from artificially drained agricultural areas and the internal P load of lakes. By this, P-TRAP aims at intercepting the undesired flux of phosphate from agricultural systems into surface waters and developing a phosphate recycling strategy.

The PhD student (ESR 6) will investigate the behaviour of phosphate during the transformation of iron minerals in laboratory experiments. The goal is to develop deterministic models for describing and predicting the phosphate dynamics during the reduction or recrystallisation of phosphate-containing iron minerals. The results will be used to characterise and constrain the prerequisites for long-term binding of phosphate in lake sediments. She or he will also contribute to studying the fate of phosphate during the reductive transformation of iron minerals in bioreactors. The project will be performed in close collaboration with Dutch and international partners and involves secondments at academic partners in the consortium but also at companies which are partner organisations in the P-TRAP project.

The main project leader and daily supervisor will be dr. Thilo Behrends at Utrecht University. Dr. Andreas Voegelin at EAWAG, Switzerland will be co-supervisor.

Job requirements

We seek an enthusiastic PhD student holding an MSc degree (at the start of the contract) that ensures appropriate background knowledge in environmental sciences, earth sciences, environmental mineralogy and/or (environmental) chemistry. You have a solid knowledge on biogeochemical processes in aquatic and terrestrial environments. Experience in performing laboratory experiments, solid phase characterization and chemical analysis methods is helpful but not required.

You approach scientific problems with determination and eager to develop multidisciplinary skills. You must be willing to travel abroad for secondments and measurement campaigns, and to present your research to an international research community. As this project requires close collaboration within the consortium, candidates are expected to be excellent team players. You also have excellent written and spoken English skills.

According to EU eligibility criteria, researchers may be of any nationality, BUT must be at their early carrier stage and may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in The Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the application deadline.

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Tuesday 5 March 2019