The Faculty of Science and Technology at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant PhD–position related to bioelectrochemical systems (BES) for wastewater treatment and resource recovery. The PhD position is for a period of 3 years, or up to 4 years if teaching and other work duties are agreed.

The PhD project will investigate innovative wastewater management technologies for a circular economy approach by combining energy and nutrient recovery for wastewater treatment applying bioelectrochemical systems.

Waste biorefinery concept allows for converting waste and wastewater into energy and materials and is gaining more importance with increasing need for substituting finite resources for achieving a circular economy. Biogas can be produced from organic wastes through anaerobic digestion, which converts biodegradable components into biogas. However, the methane concentration in biogas is often around 60%, and the upgrading process for purification of methane is energy- and cost-intensive. Bioelectrochemical system using microorganisms as bio-catalysts is an emerging biogas upgrading technology, in which carbon dioxide is converted into methane. During the process, simultaneous biogas upgrading, and biofertilizer production from nutrients present in wastewaters can be achieved. Biobased fertilizers, as a result of nutrient recovery from waste streams, can substitute synthetic fertilizers, which is crucial for a transition from a fossil-based to a bio-based economy.

The PhD project will focus on the design of a concept that will allow for a combined biogas upgrading and nutrient recovery using sustainable and low-cost electrode materials such as biochar in bioelectrochemical systems. The project will investigate bioelectrochemical approaches aiming at 1) carbon dioxide utilization for biogas upgrading 2) nitrogen and phoshorus recovery in the form of a biobased fertilizer.

The university fully funds the PhD position. The PhD candidate will work as a part of Resource Recovery research group. The research activities in this PhD project will be carried out as a part of the research center Bio4Fuels, a national center of excellence focusing on research on biofuels and value- added products from biomass. The ambition of the Bio4Fuels Centre is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector through sustainable and economic production of biofuels. Bio4Fuels is funded by the Research Council of Norway’s scheme for Centers for Environmentally friendly Energy Research (FME). The research is carried out by seven Norwegian research partners (NMBU, SINTEF, NTNU, NIBIO, RISE-PFI, IFE and USN) in cooperation with more than 40 user partners (leading national and international industries, public bodies, NGOs), as well as leading international research partners. For further information, see:

An application for a PhD position at NMBU is at the same time an application for admission to a PhD programme at the institution. The documentation that is necessary to ensure that the admission requirements are met must be uploaded as an attachment.

Main tasks

  • Review of the scientific literature and state-of-the-art on bioelectrochemical methods for wastewater treatment
  • Design of experiments on nutrient recovery and biogas upgrading applying bioelectrochemical methods
  • Design, assembling and running lab scale experimental setups
  • Data collection: laboratory observation of basic principles; formulation of the technology concept; experimental proof of concept and validation in lab
  • Analysis of wastewater samples
  • Advanced statistical analysis and other data sciences techniques for the handling of the collected data
  • At least 3 publications in internationally scientifically indexed journals
  • 2-3 presentations at international scientific conferences

The successful candidate is expected to enter a plan for the progress of the work towards a PhD degree during the first months of the appointment, with a view to completing a doctorate within the PhD scholarship period.



The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD programme at NMBU. The applicant must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year master’s degree or a degree, with a learning outcome corresponding to the descriptions in the Norwegian Qualification Framework, second cycle. Candidates submitting MSs thesis within 15 August 2022 may be considered. The applicant must have a documented strong academic background from previous studies and be able to document proficiency in both written and oral English. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD Regulations and the relevant PhD programme description.

The applicant must document expertise and interest in the research subject.

Required Academic qualifications

  • Internationally recognised Master’s degree with high academic standing in Environmental Engineering, Chemical/Process/Bioprocess Engineering, Biochemistry, Environmental Science or related discipline

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Previous experience with bioelectrochemical systems including microbial fuel cells or microbial electrolysis cells is emphasized
  • Practical experience with water and wastewater quality analysis or related analytical techniques
  • Design of experiments
  • Statistics for environmental engineers or similar
  • Experimental experience, preferably in bioelectrochemical systems
  • General knowledge and experience within water and wastewater treatment technology and engineering
  • Experiences in scientific writing and publications in international scientific journals and conferences will be considered an advantage

You need to:

  • Have interest in applied scientific research
  • Be a team player
  • Be a self-motivated and well-organised candidate with good communication skills

Remuneration and further information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017. PhD fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 501.200,-) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

Employment is conducted according to national guidelines for University and Technical College PhD scholars.

For further information, please contact Dr. Pelin Kocatürk Schumacher, Associate professor in Water and Environmental Engineering, E-mail:; phone +47 67 23 14 94

Information for PhD applicants and general Information to applicants



To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the ‘Apply for this job’ button above. This will route you to the University’s Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 31.08.2022

In the application, the candidate must confirm that information and documentation (in the form of attachments) submitted via the job application can also be used by NMBU in a possible admission process.

Applicants invited for an interview are expected to present original diplomas and certificates.

The following documents must be attached to the application:

  • A letter of intent that includes a personal statement and a research proposal outline (max. 2 pages)
  • Complete CV 
  • ‘Abstract’ or ‘summary’ of the Master thesis
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and certificates. (i.e. Di-ploma, transcript. Diploma supplement for both bachelor and master). Diplomas, transcripts and diploma supplements that are not in Norwegian or English must be uploaded in the original language. An English translation of these documents must also be attached.
  • Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement, or a similar document, which describes in detail the study program and grading system.
  • Documentation of proficiency in written and oral English in accordance with NMBU PhD regulation section 5-2 (3)
  • Names and contact details for two references
  • Additional relevant documentation of professional knowledge (for example, list of scientific works). If it is difficult to judge the applicant’s contribution for publications with multiple authors, a short description of the applicant’s contribution must be included.

About The Faculty of Science and Technology

The Faculty of Science and Technology (REALTEK) develops research-based knowledge and educates civil engineers and lecturers needed to reach the UN’s sustainability goals. We have approximately 150 employees, 70 PhD students and soon 1500 students. The education and research at REALTEK cover a broad spectrum of disciplines.

This includes data science, mechanics and process engineering, robotics, construction and architecture, industrial economics, environmental physics and renewable energy, geomatics, water and environmental engineering, applied mathematics as well as secondary school teacher education in natural sciences and use of natural resources such as in agriculture, forestry and aquaculture. The workplace is in Ås, 30 km from Oslo.

The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

NMBU has a particular responsibility for research and education that secures the basis for the life of future generations. Sustainability is rooted in everything we do and we deliver knowledge for life. NMBU has 1,900 employees of which about 300 phd scholarships and 6,700 students. The university is divided into seven faculties.

NMBU believes that a good working environment is characterised by diversity.

We encourage qualified candidates to apply regardless of gender, functional ability, cultural background or whether you have been outside the labour market for a period. If necessary, workplace adaptations will be made for persons with disabilities. More information about NMBU is available at


Apply for this job

Leave a Reply