The Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment (www.slu.se/aquatic-sciences) is a competence centre for applied environmental science, with a national responsibility for assessing the condition of Swedish surface waters with respect to water chemistry, pollution and aquatic biota. The department has some 125 employees. The research focuses on geochemical and hydrological processes, aquatic ecology and biodiversity, as well as on aquatic ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry. The department is part of a Soil-Water-Environment cluster, a recently established competence center for landscape-level processes that also includes the Departments of ‘Soil and Environment’ and ‘Energy and Technology’. The breadth of expertise among the 300 members in combination with a well-equipped infrastructure creates a unique platform for high quality research as well as environmental monitoring and assessment.

Stopping spread of antibiotic resistance genes, antibiotics and other emerging contaminants from on-site sewage facilities to the groundwater

Sanitation of domestic wastewater is essential for public and environmental health. For sub-urbanised and remote small communities, on-site sewage facilities (OSSFs) followed by infiltration are a common solution to treat and sanitise domestic wastewater. However, human excreted residues, such as drugs like antibiotics, and antibiotic resistant bacteria, are not fully removed by OSSFs, and can be released to the associated water bodies, particularly groundwater. This is an important issue of emerging concern worldwide, including in Sweden, since these residues could promote the growth of antibiotic resistance bacteria, and therefore potential enrichment of antibiotic resistance genes in the environment and contamination of drinking water source areas. To date, there are limited scientific investigations into the impact of OSSFs on groundwater contamination with antibiotic residues and antibiotic resistance genes.


We are seeking for a PhD student, who will (a) set up analytical methods to measure prioritised chemical substances in (waste)water matrices using liquid-chromatograph coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-MS), (b) perform environmental sampling and assessment to evaluate spatial and temporal profiles of both chemical and microbial contaminants in OSSF sewage and groundwater, and (c) identify sustainable solutions using different treatment techniques to limit discharges of the contaminants. The duties also include data analysis and processing, statistical evaluation, writing scientific manuscript in English, and data dissemination.


Applicants shall hold a MSc in analytical/environmental chemistry, environmental science, chemical engineering, or equivalent. Specialisation towards water analysis for chemicals and experience with liquid-chromatograph coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-MS) are valuable merits. Data processing skills using statistical computing and graphics, e.g. R, MATLAB, are of merits too. Previous experience with chemical analytical laboratory work and/or quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) for analysis of antibiotic resistance genes is desirable. High emphasis is also placed on personal characteristics such as interpersonal skills, analytical and problem-solving skills and the ability to work independently. Proficiency in English (both oral and written) is required.

A person has basic eligibility for third cycle education if he or she has taken a second cycle qualification or
has completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, including at least 60 higher
education credits at second cycle education. Upper secondary school grades equivalent to English
B/English 6 are a basic requirement.

Selection among applicants meeting the requirements is made with reference to written application
including curriculum vitae, copies of degrees and transcripts of academic records, one copy of the
dessertation for masters or undergraduate degree, a list of at least two references familiar with the
applicant’s qualifications, certified knowledge of the English language and an interview.
Please observe that applicant/s chosen to participate in an interview shall hand in certified true copies of
certificates, diplomas and transcripts from previous studies at an internationally recognized higher
education institution (university or university college) and transcripts in connection to the interview. If the
applicant is a foreign citizen we require a certified copy of the page in your apssport with your personal
data and phograghy. Read about the PhD education at SLU at www.slu.se/en/education/postgraduate-studies/.

Place of work


Form of employment

Employment as PhD student for 4 years

Starting date

April 1st, 2021 or according to agreement


Welcome with your application no later than February 21st, 2021.

Academic union representatives


The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) develops the understanding and sustainable use and management of biological natural resources. The university ranks well internationally within its subject areas. SLU is a research-intensive university that also offers unique degree programmes in for example rural development and natural resource management, environmental economics, animal science and landscape architecture.

SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala.


SLU is an equal opportunity employer.

Contact person

Foon Yin Lai

Associate senior lecturer/Associate Professor



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