PhD scholarship in Development of Digital Twins in Water Treatment Systems

Wednesday 10 Jun 20

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A PhD position is available in the frame of the joint alliance research project “Development of digital twins to improve control and operation of (urban/industrial) water treatment systems” funded by the Technical University of Denmark. The project is in close collaboration with the Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC) at the University of Queensland (Australia) and will deliver a set of virtual replicas of the different technologies comprising the flow diagram of the water treatment systems under study (Denmark, Australia).

The digital twin will enable process engineers to make more informed decisions about how to optimize: 1) energy recovery, 2) chemical use, 3) operational procedures, 4) sludge handling and 5) retrofitting equipment (=capacity liberation in the plant). The topic covered in this proposal is aligned with multiple UN Sustainability Development Goals : 6 (clean water and sanitation) 7 (affordable clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and 14 (life below water). In general, the project aims towards a more circular economy where the waste generated from one industry becomes a secondary raw material for another and there is a lower dependency on raw material imports. 

Responsibilities and tasks
The PhD student will develop different types of mathematical models describing industrial / urban water treatment systems, and will furthermore focus on how to improve treatment system performance. The tasks will include, but not be limited to  

  • Design and participate in different types of measuring campaigns (full-scale)
  • Data collection and reconciliation
  • Model construction, mass balance verification and model coding
  • Calibration and validation exercises
  • Scenario analysis
  • Economic and sustainability analysis
  • Communication of results with industrial partners
In accordance with the above-mentioned tasks, the applicant should preferably have qualifications within several of the following areas: 
  • Experience in use of different types of statistical software packages
  • Experience in modelling of biological and physico-chemical processes
  • Experience in use of different types of simulation tools such as Matlab / Simulink or similar
  • Experience with the use of life cycle assessment methodologies
Expertise with biochemical/environmental engineering should be documented with the Master/Bachelor thesis and/or relevant publications in international journals. 

The project and co-supervision of the PhD student will be in close collaboration with personnel enrolled in the Advanced Water Management Centre at the University of Queensland (Australia) and long external stays at the University of Queensland will take place throughout the duration of the PhD project. Availability for a longer stay abroad, openness and willingness for establishing a fruitful collaboration across borders is therefore a prerequisite. 

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points), preferably in chemical or biochemical engineering, or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the
DTU PhD Guide

The assessment of the applicants will be made by an evaluation committee headed by Professor Krist V. Gernaey & Senior Researcher Xavier Flores-Alsina (DTU) and Prof. Damien Batstone (UQ). 

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility. 

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years. 

The work will take place at the Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby campus and at the University of Queensland, St. Lucia campus, Brisbane, Australia. 

You can read more about
career paths at DTU here.  

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Prof. Krist Gernaey,
and Senior Researcher Xavier Flores-Alsina,

You can read more about DTU Chemical Engineering at

Please submit your online application no later than 5 July 2020 (23:59 local time)
Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out 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. 

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered. 

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

The Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at DTU is a leader in innovative teaching and research, built on core technical subjects and engineering scientific disciplines. The teaching and research covers separation processes, reaction engineering, dynamics and process regulation, process and facility planning, unit operations, heat transmission, fluid mechanics and applied thermodynamics. The Department enjoys very close relations with international partners, and especially a wide range of industrial companies.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 11,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.