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PhD scholarship in Planning Tools for Stormwater Pollution Management

DTU Environment invites for applications for a 3-year PhD scholarship within the field of planning tools for stormwater pollution management. The project is co-funded by the Sino-Danish University Center (SDC) and includes a compulsory research stay of at least 9 months at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

The PhD Student will be placed in the Urban Water Systems Section at DTU Environment.
This section has 30 scientific employees focusing on sustainable management of the urban water cycle with respect to its quantity and quality dealing with processes and technologies across the continuum from raw water, to potable water, to wastewater, to storm water. In all cases, collection, treatment, use, and reuse are considered. Both computational and experimental studies are conducted and research is done at the lab, pilot, full, or city scale, and in collaboration with other research institutes, stakeholders, and end-users.

Project description, responsibilities and tasks
There are currently important infrastructural investments in urban drainage systems both in Denmark and in China. The major driver for these actions is minimization of flooding risks (see Climate Adaptation plans in Denmark and the Sponge Cities plan in China) obtained by using a wide range of solutions for managing stormwater, including both underground pipe-based solutions and above ground blue-green stormwater control measures (SCMs) including nature based solutions. The latter are often referred to in literature as Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), Low Impact Development (LID), Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS).

Stormwater from urban areas can also cause environmental problems, due to diffuse contamination with a wide range of pollutants including nutrients, heavy metals and organic micropollutants resulting from air pollution, wear and tear of paved surfaces and buildings, and activities in urban areas leading to pollution. However, the management of stormwater pollution is often overlooked and rarely coordinated with the efforts to minimize flooding risk.
This is partly due to the limited knowledge on the potential for reducing stormwater pollution in existing stormwater control measures, and to the limited availability of planning tools that can be employed to design efficient urban drainage systems for combined flood and pollution management.

The PhD project aims at developing planning methods and tools that can be employed by urban water managers to evaluate the potential of different SCMs and treatment options in reducing the stormwater pollution at the urban catchment scale. The scope may include e.g. source control options, technical treatment systems, urban wetlands and nature based solutions. The tools will employ simple mathematical models that can estimate the elimination and removal of different pollutants that are found in stormwater from urban areas.

The project will involve the collection of monitoring data from field sites, using equipment such as automatic flow-proportional samplers, on-line sensors and passive samplers. The developed tools will be integrated with existing tools or tools that currently are being developed for water quantity management (i.e. planning of different options for flood management) and tested on planning case studies in both Copenhagen and Beijing.

The candidate is expected to contribute to teaching the SDC MSc program “Water and Environment” in Beijing, see Willingness to travel and work in an international environment is essential. The candidate will work in a team consisting of scientists from DTU Environment and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Familiarity with Danish and Chinese water resources research environments is an advantage.

Candidates should have a master's degree in Environmental Engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in Engineering. Desirable skills and/or interests for the candidate:

  • Urban hydrology, environmental chemistry, urban planning
  • Environmental modelling, geographical information systems and some programming
  • Stormwater management and climate change adaptation
  • Field and lab work

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor Peter Steen Mikkelsen and Assistant Professor Luca Vezzaro - in dialogue with our collaborator at CAS.

We offer
We offer an interesting and challenging job in an international environment focusing on education, research, scientific advice and innovation, which contribute to enhancing the economy and improving social welfare. We strive for academic excellence, collegial respect and freedom tempered by responsibility. The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is a leading technical university in northern Europe and benchmarks with the best universities in the world.

Salary and appointment terms
The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD degree students. The period of employment is 3 years. Expected start date is October 1, November 1 or December 1, 2017.


  • DTU Lyngby Campus
  • At least 9 months at CAS in Beijing and field sites around China

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Assistant Professor Luca Vezzaro, e-mail:

You can read more about DTU Environment on

Please submit your online application no later than August 15, 2017. Apply online via the "Ansøg" link.

Applications must be submitted as one pdf file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one pdf file.

The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

Please write in your application that you've seen the job at Jobfinder

Kongens Lyngby
04. July 2017
15. august 2017
Kontrakt / midlertidig / projekt