PhD Position Pathogen Transport and Fate Modelling in Riverbank Filtration

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 29 Feb 2024

Challenge: Pathogen transport and fate in riverbank filtration systems

Change: Modeling heterogeneous pathogen populations in a heterogeneous subsurface

Impact: Sustainable drinking water treatment

Riverbank filtration is a nature-based treatment technique for drinking water. You will investigate how pathogens are transported and removed when surface water infiltrates riverbank sediments. This 4-year PhD position is part of the research project ‘Aquifer Treatment as Green Purification Technology for Sustainable Drinking Water Supply’ (AQUIPURA), funded by the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO). In this project, we will study the removal of various types of pollutants during riverbank filtration with field monitoring, lab experiments, and mechanistic model development. AQUIPURA is a Chinese-Dutch transdisciplinary consortium with pilot sites in both the Netherlands and China. The advertised position is one of four PhD positions available in the AQUIPURA project in different scientific disciplines.

You will investigate how aquifer heterogeneity and phenotypic noise or cell-to-cell variability of pathogen populations affect pathogen transport in selected riverbank filtration sites in the Netherlands and China. We envision that you will

  • Develop a computer model simulating transport and fate of pathogens in groundwater. This involves 3D velocity-dependent rate kinetics, aquifer heterogeneity, and phenotypic noise of pathogen populations.
  • Collect river, groundwater and sediment samples for analyses, deploy sensors for continuous field site monitoring, and perform lab column experiments to assess pathogen physiological heterogeneity.
  • Calibrate and apply the developed model to lab and field site data from pilot riverbank filtration field sites (in the Netherlands/China).

Your focus is model development and application. You will collaborate with the other PhD students from microbial ecology, hydrogeology, and molecular microbiology. You are part of a consortium with various stakeholders, including public supply drinking water companies, and knowledge institutions from both the Netherlands and China.

You will be supervised by Dr. Boris van Breukelen, Dr. Jan Willem Foppen, and Dr. Anna Störiko. Various AQUIPURA supervisors and collaborators will provide additional expertise and feedback to your research including the utilization potential.

  • Relevant Master degree in Hydrogeology/Hydrology, Environmental Sciences, Earth Sciences, or Engineering.
  • Experience with numerical modelling of groundwater flow and solute transport, and scientific programming.
  • Experience with hydro(geo)logical field work is preferred.
  • Experience with microbiological laboratory work is preferred.
  • Experience with/knowledge of colloid filtration theory is preferred.
  • Fluent in English, both written and oral.
  • Good pro-active communication skills and ability to work well in a team.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements .

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

The Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences (CEG) is committed to outstanding international research and education in the field of civil engineering, applied earth sciences, traffic and transport, water technology, and delta technology. Our research feeds into our educational programmes and covers societal challenges such as climate change, energy transition, resource availability, urbanisation and clean water. Our research projects are conducted in close cooperation with a wide range of research institutions. CEG is convinced of the importance of open science and supports its scientists in integrating open science in their research practice. The Faculty of CEG comprises 28 research groups in the following seven departments: Materials Mechanics Management & Design, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport &; Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences.

Department of Water Management

In the Department of Water Management, about 35 full time staff members, 120 PhD students, and 20 post-docs, teach and perform research on the full breadth of water management ranging from meteorology, groundwater and surface water hydrology, urban water infrastructure, to water treatment and re-use. Our quality of research, viability, and societal relevance are rated as ‘excellent’, meaning internationally leading in its field of expertise. Researchers in the Water Management department like to take the “path less travelled” in research and education to produce path-breaking and original advances in understanding and solving complex water engineering challenges.

For more information about this position, please contact Boris van Breukelen ([email protected] ), Jan Willem Foppen ([email protected] ), or Anna Störiko ([email protected] ).

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply no later than 15 January 2024 via the application button and upload: your motivation and CV.

  • A short motivation letter (max. 1 page) covering your research interest and relevant experience.
  • 1-2 page CV including list of publications (if any) and names, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of two references (unless reference letters are attached).
  • Copies of academic qualifications incl. an overview of courses completed and marks obtained. 

We expect to hold job interviews in the period of mid January-February 2024. You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post. A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure. Employment agencies should not respond to this vacancy.

Please note:

  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • A pre-Employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

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