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Phd Student in Urban Water Engineering With a Focus on Stormwater Quality

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The internationally leading Urban Water Engineering research group at Luleå University of Technology has two exciting positions available in stormwater management, at PhD (ref nr: 2001-2023) and post-doctoral (ref nr: 2002 – 2023) level. Working within the VINNOVA funded DRIZZLE Centre of Excellence for stormwater management provides an opportunity to work closely with companies, municipalities and researchers in undertaking needs driven research to reduce the risk of flooding in cities, minimize pollution loads discharging to receiving waters, and capture the opportunities that stormwater runoff can offer. 

The Urban Water Engineering research group is a global leader in urban water systems research and education, with a particular focus on stormwater, wastewater and treatment using nature-based solutions. The overall aim of the group is to contribute to the development of sustainable urban water systems. Being part of the group involves working in an international and creative environment, with about 45 staff members from 20 different countries including Swedish and international adjunct professors and 25 doctoral candidates. 

Subject description

Urban Water Engineering encompasses the entire urban water system (storm drains, drinking water supply and wastewater) with respect to collection, transport, and treatment, as well as organization and planning. The research aims to encourage a strong economy, clean environment, and the wise use of resources, while preserving the public’s health and safety. 

Project description

Urban water bodies are sources of drinking and technical water, transportation, and power generation, and a disposal route for treated and untreated effluents and accidental spills. With over two-thirds of the world’s population predicted to live in urban areas by 2050, our approach to managing urban water systems requires a radical overhaul if the ability of this finite resource to deliver these ecosystem services is to be maintained. Urbanization is characterized by the conversion of greenspaces to impermeable roads and buildings, interrupting the functioning of the water cycle. Under rainfall conditions, surface runoff passes over these impermeable surfaces mobilizing pollutants deposited from multiple sources, such as traffic and industry, and is typically discharged to the closest receiving waters without treatment. However, awareness of the benefits of treating urban surface runoff prior to its discharge is gaining increasing attention, from both receiving water protection and opportunities for water reuse perspectives. If these opportunities are to be embraced, robust data sets on the sources, pathways, and treatment of a diversity of urban pollutants are urgently required. An open challenge in addressing this need is the current use of multiple sampling and analytical approaches which limits our ability to integrate and interpret knowledge sets. Involving field sampling, laboratory studies and modelling, your research will investigate the influence of alternative approaches to sample collection, storage, and analysis on stormwater quality data. This new knowledge will be used to optimize data collection, facilitate data analysis, and inform the development of sustainable stormwater management strategies to ensure the health of urban water bodies. 


You as a PhD student will work independently and with your supervisors to plan and carry out studies, write scientific papers and your PhD thesis. In between research tasks, you will take PhD courses and participate in national and international conferences and seminars. You will belong to two research schools: the national Water Research School offering many courses and the department’s research school, facilitating a strong start to your studies during your first year and increasing your network within the university and this dynamic international research field. In addition, you can have the opportunity to try the teacher role. 


To be employed as a PhD student you need a MSc degree within Environmental Engineering, Natural Resources Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemistry, or another comparable master’s program. Knowledge of stormwater management, especially urban pollutant sources and environmental behavior, as well as experience in sampling, analytical chemistry, laboratory work and statistics is a merit, as is knowledge of the Swedish language. Good oral and written skills in English are a prerequisite since the research results are presented at international conferences and in international journals. Furthermore, it is important to be able to work independently, be able to lead your project forward and have the capability to penetrate new areas and questions. The applicant should be able provide two reference persons on request. 

For further information about a specific subject see:

* General curriculum for PhD studies in Urban Water Engineering 

Further information

Employment as a PhD student is limited to 4 years (up to maximum of 5 years, depending on the amount of department duty). Teaching and other department duties may be added up to a maximum of 20% of fulltime employment. Placement in Lulea, starting date according agreement. 

For further information about the position, please contact
Associate Professor Helene Österlund, (+46)920- 49 2294

Professor Maria Viklander (+46)920- 49 1634 

Union representatives:

SACO-S Kjell Johansson (+46)920-49 1529 [email protected]  
OFR-S Lars Frisk, (+46)920-49 1792 [email protected] 

In case of different interpretations of the English and Swedish versions of this announcement, the Swedish version takes precedence. 


We prefer that you apply for this position by clicking on the apply button above. The application should include a CV, personal letter and copies of verified diplomas from high school and universities. Mark your application with the reference number below. Your application, including diplomas, must be written in English or Swedish. 

Click Here to Apply For The Job



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