PhD or Postdoc within bioelectrochemical systems for wastewater treatment and resource recovery

About the Position:

The Faculty of Science and Technology at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has an open PhD/Postdoc opportunity focused on bioelectrochemical systems (BES) for wastewater treatment and resource recovery. The position entails a 3-year duration for a PhD or a 2-year period for a Postdoc, with the potential for a one-year extension for both roles, contingent on agreed teaching and additional responsibilities.

The project’s primary objective is to explore innovative wastewater management approaches to foster a circular economy. This involves the integration of energy and nutrient recovery within wastewater treatment, leveraging bioelectrochemical systems.

The waste biorefinery concept enables the conversion of waste and wastewater into both energy and materials, aligning with the global shift towards a circular economy. Converting organic waste into biogas through anaerobic digestion is a common practice; however, methane purification from biogas is energy-intensive. The emerging technology of bioelectrochemical systems, using microorganisms as bio-catalysts, offers a sustainable solution for upgrading biogas by converting carbon dioxide into methane.

Additionally, this process facilitates simultaneous biogas upgrading and biofertilizer production from wastewater nutrients. Bio-based fertilizers, derived from nutrient recovery in waste streams, have the potential to replace synthetic fertilizers, contributing to a transition from a fossil-based to a bio-based economy.

This position will be fully funded by the university, and the candidate will become an integral part of the Resource Recovery research group. Research activities will involve collaboration with the Bio4Fuels research center, a national center of excellence dedicated to biofuels and value-added products from biomass.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Review scientific literature and stay updated on bioelectrochemical methods for wastewater treatment.
  • Design experiments focusing on nutrient recovery and biogas upgrading through bioelectrochemical methods.
  • Assemble and operate laboratory-scale experimental setups.
  • Collect data, observe basic principles, formulate technology concepts, and validate them in the lab.
  • Analyze wastewater samples.
  • Apply advanced statistical analysis and data science techniques for data handling.
  • Aim for a minimum of 3 publications in internationally indexed journals and deliver 2-3 presentations at international scientific conferences.
  • For PhD candidates, develop a work plan leading to the completion of a doctorate within the designated time frame.
  • For Postdoc candidates, work towards qualifications for high-level scientific positions, with a PhD degree as a requirement.


  • Meet the admission criteria for NMBU’s PhD program.
  • Possess a relevant academic background, equivalent to a five-year master’s degree in Environmental Engineering, Chemical/Process/Bioprocess Engineering, – Biochemistry, Environmental Science, or related fields.
  • Strong academic track record.
  • Proficiency in both written and spoken English.

Desirable Qualifications:

  • Previous experience with bioelectrochemical systems, including microbial fuel cells or microbial electrolysis cells.
  • Competence in experiment design.
  • Familiarity with water and wastewater quality analysis or related analytical techniques.
  • Statistical skills for environmental engineers or similar backgrounds.
  • General knowledge of water and wastewater treatment technology and engineering.
  • Experience in scientific writing and publications in international journals and conferences.

Additional Traits:

  • Passion for applied scientific research.
  • Strong team player.
  • Self-motivated and well-organized with excellent communication skills.

(Note: Candidates who are submitting their master’s theses by November 30, 2023, may also be considered.)

Join our team and become a part of pioneering research in bioelectrochemical systems!

Institution contact information

Pelin Kocatürk Schumacher
Resource Recovery research group, Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Contact email address


20 November 2023

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