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PhD Stipend in Microbiology of phosphate cycling in wastewater treatment systems (18-21028)

At the Faculty of Engineering and Science, Department of Chemistry and Bioscience, a PhD stipend is available within the PhD study programme of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Environmental Engineering. The position is part of 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 stipend is open for appointment from 1 September 2021 or soon hereafter and is available for 3 years.

Job description

The Department of Chemistry and Bioscience consists of five sections of which three are situated in Aalborg with research and teaching in Biotechnology, Applied Chemistry and Biology & Environmental Science, one in Copenhagen on Sustainable Biotechnology and one in Esbjerg on Chemical Engineering. The position is located within the Section of Biotechnology, Center for Microbial Communities with working place in Aalborg.

The Center has approx. 40 young scientists working with structure and function of microbial communities, primarily related to environmental biotechnology including phosphate removal and recovery. The Center has state of the art equipment for DNA sequencing, proteomics, metabolomics, confocal microscopy and Raman microspectroscopy. The Ph.D. fellowship is part of ongoing research on the microbial identity and function of poly-phosphate accumulating microorganisms of importance for removal and recovery of phosphate from wastewater in global perspective. Special focus in this project is understanding of their ecophysiology, interactions, ecology, and factors influencing their presence and activity across treatment plants in Europe.


We seek an early stage scientist with strong background in microbiology of uncultured microorganisms and experience with molecular methods (amplicon sequencing and metagenomics), bioinformatics, and metabolic models. Knowledge about activated sludge microbiology would be an advantage.

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 Denmark 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 specialists within the Global Phosphorus Challenge in a way that is socially, economically, and environmentally acceptable. This application is for the project ESR 10: Effects of microbial P cycling in wastewater treatment systems.

For further details, visit the RecaP website: https://www.sdu.dk/en/forskning/recap/about


Application Process 

Required documents: 

  1. 1-2 page Motivation Letter (describing your specific interest, motivation and qualifications for the project)
  2. A curriculum vitae including personal contact information and previous employment. 
  3. Copies of Bachelor and Master certificates / diploma, or anticipated date of degree.
  4. A full list of scientific publications on which the applicant wishes to rely (if available).
  5. Letter(s) of recommendation.
  6. Documentation of English skills, e.g. language test, completion of BSc/MSc taught in English.

In your motivation letter or CV please specify the following:
  1. I agree that I have not resided in Denmark for more than 12 months in the last 3 years.
  1. Yes/No
    1. 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).
  2. Yes/No
    1. I hold a master’s degree in a relevant discipline, or will receive this before appointment date.
  3. Yes/No

During the application process, statistical information about the genders of applicants will be shared with the coordinating institution (University of Southern Denmark) in order to ensure a balanced recruitment process.

Incomplete applications and applications received after the deadline will neither be considered nor evaluated. 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 RecaP website includes more detailed information about recruitment and selection.

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. 
You may obtain further information from Professor Per Halkjær Nielsen, Department of Chemistry and Bioscience, phone: 4521735089, email: phn@bio.aau.dk concerning the scientific aspects of the stipend.

For further information about the RecaP Project, please contact Project Manager Jake Reardon at jare@sdu.dk.

PhD stipends are allocated to individuals who hold a Master's degree. PhD stipends are normally for a period of 3 years. It is a prerequisite for allocation of the stipend that the candidate will be enrolled as a PhD student at the Doctoral School of Engineering and Science in accordance with the regulations of Ministerial Order No. 1039 of August 27, 2013 on the PhD Programme at the Universities and Certain Higher Artistic Educational Institutions. According to the Ministerial Order, the progress of the PhD student shall be assessed at regular points in time.

Shortlisting will be applied. This means that subsequent to the deadline for applications the head of department supported by the chair of the assessment committee will select candidates for assessment. All applicants will be informed whether they will be assessed or not.

For further information about stipends and salary as well as practical issues concerning the application procedure contact Ms. Vigdis Skomager-Bohnfeldt, The Doctoral School at The Faculty of Engineering and Science, email: vkns@adm.aau.dk, phone: +45 9940 7408.

For more information of The Doctoral School of Engineering and Science: www.phd.engineering.aau.dk 

The application is only to be submitted online by using the "Apply online" button below.

AAU wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background or belief.

Conctractual conditions

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions offer attractive salary and working conditions. The successful candidate will receive a salary in accordance with the national legislation of the recruiting institution and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions regulations for ESRs. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment.



Appointment and salary as a PhD fellow are according to the Ministry of Finance Circular of 28 June 2019 on the Collective Agreement for Academics in Denmark, Appendix 5, regarding PhD fellows, and with the current Circular of 11 December 2019 on the employment structure at Danish universities.

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