PhD Scholarship in Biomimetic Aqueous Resource Recovery, Technical University of Denmark

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Are you interested in biophysics and in working at the frontiers of biomimetic systems design? Then here is an opportunity to obtain a PhD in an internationally recognized research environment supported by national and international academic and industrial collaboration partners.

Wider context of the project
The overall objective of the PhD project is to demonstrate and improve the scientific, technical and environmental feasibility of sustainable forward osmosis (FO) driven aqueous resource recovery using biomimetic biodegradable designed scavengers. The project will take place in the Biomimetic Membrane Group at DTU Physics ( and is in part financed by the Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster (

Scientific focus of the announced PhD position
The demand for sustainable raw material recovery methods operating on aqueous sources including waste water streams, even at low concentrations, is increasing due to the demand for higher surface water quality as well as increasing resource values. This project will combine forward osmosis (FO) water purification with immobilized de novo designed potent biomimetic scavengers for controlled selective capture and release of resources from waste-water streams. We will use phosphate as model solute for sustainable aqueous recovery of a dwindling irreplaceable resource.

Phosphorus (P) is currently sourced predominantly from phosphate rocks and is an essential nutrient for plant growth. 80% of P produced is used to manufacture fertilizers and will be crucial for e.g. nutritional support of increasing population levels and future large-scale biofuel production. Based on known reserves, phosphate rocks could be depleted by 2100 if the increase in demand continues. Recycling of phosphorus, currently discharged to the environment through various waste streams including agricultural production effluents, must be addressed to reduce dependence on phosphate rock-based sources. This is essential for ensuring a supply of phosphorous for the future.

On the date of appointment candidates must hold an MSc degree in natural sciences (e.g. physics/biophysics/biochemistry/protein chemistry). The successful candidate must be an efficient team worker, have good communication skills, and have a critical approach to formulation and testing of hypotheses. Practical experience and a wish to work both theoretically and experimentally is a prerequisite.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree studies are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in the Physics-Mathematics degree programme of DTU.

PhD at DTU Physics
As PhD student at DTU Physics you will be part of the scientific staff and treated as such. We have an international environment with an international MSc education and 50 PhD students from a number of countries. Copenhagen is a pleasant place to live with easy transport and a rich cultural life.

Salary and appointment terms
The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD degree students. The period of employment is 3 years starting September 1st 2011.

For further information please contact Associate Professor Claus Hélix-Nielsen,

We must have your online application by 30 July 2011. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

  • A cover letter explaining your motivation to apply for the research project (not more than one page)
  • A curriculum vitae providing relevant academic, employment and personal details
  • Authorized academic transcripts and copies of master thesis work or publications
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system
  • Name and email of two references that we may contact for further inquires

Candidates will be evaluated based on their research potential and commitment and selected candidates will be invited for an interview.

The scholarship is open to both Danish and international applicants. Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master’s degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, disability, gender, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

For more information, please visit official website:

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the above information is current and correct. However, applicants should contact the appropriate administering body before making an application, as details do change frequently.

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