1. Vacatures
  2. Universiteit Utrecht
  3. PhD position Closed cycles – Transition to a circular economy (1,0 FTE)

Helaas, deze vacature staat inmiddels niet meer online

Kijk gerust verder naar andere vacatures.

PhD position Closed cycles – Transition to a circular economy (1,0 FTE)

The Faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University is looking for a PhD position Closed cycles – Transition to a circular economy. Are you interested in this position? Then please read the full profile and apply.

11 maanden geleden


Domplein, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES), recently granted a four-year research program RUST within the context of the NWO program ‘Closed cycles – Transition to a circular economy’. RUST focuses on Re-USe of Treated effluent for agriculture, and is a collaboration between Wageningen University (Department of Soil Physics and Land Management) and Utrecht University (Copernicus) with as partners knowledge institute KWR and company KnowH2O, with two PhDs positions.

Re-use of Treated Waste Water/effluent (TWW) for sub-irrigation in agriculture serves the dual purpose of supplying water to crops and diminishing emissions of Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) to surface water. This re-use will be investigated at two field sites. Subject of research is to investigate how sub-irrigation/drainage cycles can be optimally designed and operated, to raise groundwater levels towards the root zone and decrease CECs emission to surface water, while emission of CECs to the deeper groundwater or CEC uptake in crops should be negligible. Analysis of flow, CEC transport and degradation, and the supply of water and CECs to the root zone will be studied at both field sites. To test validity of sorption, mobility and degradation parameters, column experiments at different conditions will be performed and numerically modelled. Using these parameters, the fate of CECs in the field is modelled and compared with observations. A final step will be an assessment of the risks and possibilities for regional upscaling.

Your position will be at Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development of Utrecht University.

Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development is the scientific institute for sustainability research and teaching of Utrecht University. Copernicus Institute actively participates in three Bachelor and five Master's programmes. We work in multi-disciplinary teams of four research groups: Energy and Resources, Environmental Governance, Environmental Sciences and Innovation Studies, where your position will be in the Environmental Sciences group. Research is multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary oriented, to understand interactions between global changes and ecosystem processes and -services.

You can apply for a PhD position on the topic ‘Environmental fate of chemicals and Risk assessment’. Central research questions are:

  • How and to what degree can sub-irrigation with TWW contribute to reduced emission of chemicals of emerging concern (CEC) to surface water, and contribute to improved surface water quality?
  • Can trade-offs of TWW re-use in sub-irrigation be managed to avoid significant transport of CEC into the crop’s root zone, deeper groundwater or sorption at soil organic material?
  • Which critical factors in upscaling TWW sub-irrigation to larger scales can be identified?

The work integrates
(i) laboratory experiments,
(ii) field scale experiments and monitoring,
(iii) modelling with eg HYDRUS3D/HP2,
(iv) risk assessment and
(v) simulations of expected surface, food, soil and groundwater quality resulting from implementation of TWW irrigation at larger scale.

You will focus on relative persistent and mobile compounds (PMOCs), for which there is a gap in current knowledge. You will perform simulations of chemical transport for both persistent and degradable chemicals and quantify their fate. Specific targets are CEC-spreading into (pristine) subsoil/aquifers, and soil-mediated degradation.

You will assess not only how the use of TWW for irrigation affects soil and groundwater quality, but also crop quality for a selection of CECs, employing existing toxicological data and assessments.


We are looking for a PhD candidate with a strong interest in cross-disciplinary research. A MSc in environmental sciences, risk assessment, (environmental) chemistry or a related discipline is required. Applicants should be experienced in performing experimental work in a laboratory setting. Affinity for kinetic and dynamic modelling and statistics and/or background in analytical chemistry is recommended. Experience in working in multidisciplinary projects with multiple organizations is considered an asset, just as proven writing and communication skills.


You will be offered a full-time PhD position at Utrecht University, at first for one year. Depending on a satisfactory performance this will be extended to a total period of four years, with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The evaluation will take place approximately after nine months.

Employment conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities. The salary starts with € 2,222 gross per month in the first year and increases to € 2,840 gross per month in the fourth year at fulltime appointment (38 hours per week). The salary is supplemented by a holiday allowance of 8% per year and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%. We offer a pension scheme, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions. You'll find more information about working at Utrecht University here. Facilities for sports and child care are available on our main campus, which is located only fifteen minutes away from the historical city centre of Utrecht.

Additionele informatie

For more information about this position, please contact prof Annemarie van Wezel a.p.vanwezel@uu.nl or annemarie.van.wezel@kwrwater.nl


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences offers education and research concerning the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and anthroposphere. With 3,480 students (BSc and MSc) and 726 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty is organized in four departments: Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, Innovation, Environmental & Energy Sciences and Human Geography & Urban & Regional Planning. The vacancy has been opened within the Department of Innovation, Environmental & Energy Sciences. The research of the department is organised in the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, where you will be positioned in the Environmental Sciences group. The Environmental Sciences Group is a multidisciplinary research and teaching group with researchers from backgrounds like biology, hydrology, physical geography, energy science, mathematical modelling and philosophy.