The Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment is working with applied environmental science, with a national responsibility for assessing the condition of Swedish surface waters with respect to water chemistry, pollution and aquatic biota. The department has some 130 employees. The research focuses on geochemical and hydrological processes, aquatic ecology and biodiversity, as well as on aquatic ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry.

The department is part of a Soil-Water-Environment cluster, a recently established competence centre for landscape-level processes that also includes the Departments of ‘Soil and Environment’ and ‘Energy and Technology’. The breadth of expertise among the 300 members in combination with a well-equipped infrastructure creates a unique platform for high quality research as well as environmental monitoring and assessment.

Mining chemical information from wastewater for assessment of chemical usage and exposure in society and the environment

Wastewater is a valuable matrix that allows retrieving information of chemical use and exposure in society. At wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), collection and analysis of the incoming, raw wastewater for parent chemicals and related biotransformation can reflect the status of these chemicals used and levels of exposure in the populations. At WWTPs’ outlet, the outgoing, effluent wastewater that may still contain these chemical residues used by the populations will be released to the aquatic environment and therefore entering the water cycle. Early detection and warning of chemical usage and exposure will be needed for a sustainable society in the future.

The project will be within the European Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC), which is funded by “Horizon Europe”. It comprises 200 partners from 28 countries and includes agencies and research organisations working in the areas of chemicals, environment and human health


We are seeking a PhD student, who will develop a multi-residual methodology, from sample preparation to instrumental analysis (target, suspect, non-target approaches) and data evaluation, for chemical identification and screening in influent and effluent wastewaters. The developed methodology will then be implemented to investigate population chemical usage and exposure, and also to evaluate the release of the chemicals and their risks to the environment, over time and space.

The workflow developed and dataset acquired will serve as part of the knowledge base for the establishment of Early Warning Systems in Europe. The duties will also include wastewater sampling, sample extraction, data acquisition and evaluation with statistical tools, writing scientific manuscripts and reports for the European Partnership for Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC) in English, participate in PARC meetings, and dissemination of the project results.


Applicants should hold a MSc in analytical or environmental chemistry, or equivalent. Specialisation towards trace analysis of chemicals in water and experience with method development and chemical identification using LC-MS/MS and LC-HRMS (e.g. LC-Orbitrap-MS) are valuable merits. Data processing skills using statistical computing and graphics, e.g. R, MATLAB, are of merits too. Previous experience with elucidation of chemical structures based on mass spectra is desirable. High emphasis is also placed on personal characteristics such as interpersonal skills, analytical and problem-solving skills and the ability to work independently. Proficiency in English (both spoken and written) is required.

Place of work:


Forms for funding or employment:

Employment (4 years)

Starting date:

2022-10-01 or according to agreement.


Click the “Apply” button to submit your application. The deadline is 2022-08-21.

To qualify for third-cycle (Doctoral) courses and study programmes, you must have a second-cycle (Master’s) qualification. Alternatively, you must have conducted a minimum of four years of full-time study, of which a minimum of one year at second-cycle level.

The application should include a i) CV, ii) a short description of experience indicating your suitability for the position, iii) copies of degree certificates from higher education, iv) contact information of at least two reference persons, v) ideally a written reference letter from at least one referee, and vi) knowledge of English.

Please note that applicants invited to interview must submit attested copies of their degree certificate, a transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution. Applicants who are not Swedish citizens need to submit an attested copy of their passport’s information page containing their photograph and personal details.

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) is a world-class international university with research, education and environmental assessment within the sciences for sustainable life. Its principal sites are in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala, but activities are also conducted at research stations, experimental parks and educational establishments throughout Sweden. We bring together people who have different perspectives, but they all have one and the same goal: to create the best conditions for a sustainable, thriving and better world.

SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses.

Contact person

Foon Yin Lai

Associate Professor


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