Canada: Open PhD Position in Water Engineering

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Position: PhD position (3 years)
Starting date: as soon as possible
Research field: Water Engineering
Department: modelEAU, Department of civil engineering and water engineering, Université Laval, Québec, CANADA
Supervisor: Prof. Peter A. Vanrolleghem
Posted: 15th July 2010

Risk-based design of wastewater treatment plants modelEAU is offering a 3 year PhD position on the topic of risk-based design of wastewater treatment plants.

This PhD position is embedded in a project funded by a Collaborative Research Development grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) as well as the Canada Research Chair in Water Quality Modelling. The PhD student will be closely collaborating with a MSc student and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and will be able to draw upon the experience of lead engineers from Primodal Inc., the industrial partner organization.

The focus of the PhD will be to develop a methodology to identify, select and quantify sources of uncertainty in model-based design of wastewater treatment plants. The methodology should allow predicting the probability of meeting effluent standards and be applied to critically review the often excessive safety margins in current design practice. It will be developed and tested on full-scale treatment plants in North America and Europe.

The PhD student will be able to benefit from a large network of academics as well as engineering consultants and water utility managers who are active in the recently established IWA (International Water Association) Task Group on uncertainty in design and operation of treatment plants (DOUTGroup).

Skills of the candidates
A degree in civil, environmental, water or chemical engineering is required. A strong background in statistics is highly recommended. Skills in programming (e.g. R, Matlab, C++) are welcome.

Work environment
The modelEAU research team is putting considerable effort in creating a stimulating work environment. Our philosophy is to bring people together for discussions on the wide range of topics in the field of water and the environment.

Our national and international networks are well-established and the group is very active in the scientific community. Within the group we have a flat hierarchy involving undergraduate and graduate students in the scientific work and the internal policy discussions. Working languages are French and English. The group’s focus is on monitoring, modeling and control of the urban (waste) water system.

The modelEAU team is very international with students and researchers currently coming from Canada, France, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Madagascar and China. For more information on our work and our national and international cooperation please have a look at our website (currently under construction).

Université Laval is one of the leading universities in Canada. The university campus is located within the city and provides everything needed for an enjoyable student life ( The campus is easily accessible through public transport.

The city of Québec is a lively town in the heart of the province of Québec. Due to its role as the province’s capital the cultural life is very versatile. Québec is known for its excellent cuisine and fantastic landscape enabling a wide range of outdoor summer and winter activities.

If you are interested in the position please send your complete application (motivation letter, curriculum vitae, and references) by email to:

Peter Vanrolleghem.
E-mail: Peter.Vanrolleghem[ at ]
Address: modelEAU, Département de génie civil et génie des eaux, Université Laval
1065, avenue de la Médecine
Québec G1V 0A6, QC, Canada
Phone: +1 418 656 5085

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