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PhD in Innovative Rain Gardens for Sustainable Treatment of Urban Runoff

Protecting the environment from the cocktail of pollutants found in stormwater in the form of
microplastics, toxic metals, and organic pollutants is of high societal value and a requirement
to meet environmental goals.
Bioretention systems also referred to as rain gardens or bio-infiltration, is one of the most
versatile and widely used methods for sustainable treatment of stormwater in many parts of
the world.
If these techniques are introduced on a larger scale, large amounts of soil-bed and filter
materials polluted with microplastics, metals and organic pollutants will need to be managed
in the future.
In the design of a rain garden it is of high importance to take into consideration soil bed
material and the plants and all their interaction processes.

Very little is known about the fate of organic pollutants and microplastics in stormwater
sewers and other management systems, and data on the effectiveness of stormwater
treatment facilities to retain and degrade microplastics.
Particles and pollutants transported with runoff from road surfaces may accumulate in
trapped sediments or filter media, e.g rain garden soil, or might be transported through the
stormwater system to receiving waters.
Despite many studies performed, in-depth research on processes for removal, distribution,
potential degradation, and/or up-take by plants or leaching of the pollutants in the various
soil beds are missing for organic pollutants and microplastics.

Information about the project:
The aim and scientific challenge of this project is to design, construct and explore an
innovative and sustainable rain garden where microplastics, metals, and organic pollutants
from urban runoff are retained, degraded, or recovered.
The goal is to significantly reduce the transport of urban pollution to receiving waters and to
contribute to green infrastructure and a circular economy in the society.
In this project, innovative rain gardens are developed and their efficiency in treating
stormwater from the cocktail of urban pollutants are studied.
It is also to study if and how the
accumulated pollutants are degraded, and whether the metals can be used as a resource.

A pilot test rain garden is designed, and experiments are carried out to study beds with
bio-charcoal, peat, and ash and plants with potential hyperaccumulator properties in
symbiosis with mycorrhizae fungi including removal efficiency, hydraulic performance,
treatment, and degradation processes.
The pilot will be supplemented with laboratory studies.
The goal is also to identify a sustainable, efficient, and innovative method for degradation of
microplastics and organic pollutant and at the same time recover metals from the materials
used in the rain gardens i.e the bed material and the plants.
The method could also be applicable to contaminated soil and other media such as marine
sediments that need to be treated before the materials can be reused.
The project contributes to the development of green infrastructure in urban environments.

Major responsibilities:
As a PhD student you are expected to work independently; have the ability to plan and
organise your work; to be able to work in close collaboration with other group members and
partners; and to be able to communicate scientific results, both orally and in written form in
Knowledge of Swedish is advantageous due to close collaboration with Swedish

You are expected to participate in teaching Bachelor and Master level courses in the field of
civil and environmental engineering.
Bachelor's courses are taught in Swedish, and applicants that do not have Swedish as a
native language should be able to teach in Swedish within two years of employment.
Chalmers offers courses in the Swedish language.

Position summary:
Full-time temporary employment.
The position is limited to a maximum of five years.

To qualify for this position the candidate must hold a Master's degree in Civil Engineering,
Water Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Biotechnology, Environmental Science,
Chemical Engineering, Engineering Physics, or a closely related field.
Experience and/or education in any or several of the following fields are advantageous:
experimental design, sampling and chemical analysis, hydrology, hydrogeology, stormwater,
water quality, hydraulics, statistics, laboratory work, fieldwork, chemistry, biology, and
The position also requires excellent verbal and written communication skills in English.
Chalmers offers Swedish and English courses.

We also believe that you are a motivated person, with a strong curiosity and a genuine wish
to learn more and develop your skills and knowledge further in the fields of research,
research communication, and project management.

Chalmers continuously strives to be an attractive employer.
Equality and diversity are substantial foundations in all activities at Chalmers.

Click here to apply

Application deadline:
30th May, 2021.

For questions, please contact:

Professor Ann-Margret Strömvall,, +46 31 772 8600

Associate Professor Karin Karlfeldt Fedje,, +46 31 772 2149

Professor Oskar Modin,, +46 31 772 2138

Chalmers tekniska högskola automatiserar inköpsprocessen med Visma - Visma

***Chalmers declines to consider all offers of further announcement publishing or other
         types of support for the recruiting process in connection with this position.***


Chalmers Tekniska Högskola AB

Published: 2021-04-23