PhD position in disinfection and biofilm activity in RAS

Tuesday 23 Jun 20

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Apply no later than 7 August 2020
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DTU Aqua, Section for Aquaculture would like to invite highly motivated applications for a
3-year PhD position dealing with investigations of biofilm in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). This topic is important, interesting and highly relevant for RAS operation.

Biofilm consists of aggregations of bacterial layers on fixed surfaces and has central roles in RAS, i.e. the nitrifying bacteria in biofilters. Biofilm is an important counterpart to microbial water quality and new information and methods are needed to optimize processes and evaluate effects of disinfection, water treatment or other management practices.

The position is available in the frame of a joint Danish-Norwegian research project “RASHealth” where assessment of disinfection strategies on water quality and biofilm activity is central.


About DTU Aqua

DTU Aqua - National Institute of Aquatic Resources – is an institute at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). Our mission is to conduct research, provide advice, educate at university level, and contribute to innovation in sustainable exploitation and management of aquatic resources. The goal is to be a leading international institute in marine sciences, fisheries, and aquaculture, addressing environmental consequences and interactions of human activities in the aquatic environment and resolving long-standing conflicts between aquatic resource exploitation and conservation.


The Section for Aquaculture in Hirtshals, conducts research within biological and technological aspects of aquaculture. The section is part of a strong national and international network within aquaculture, particularly RAS. We have an international research environment and collaborate with other research groups within DTU as well as national and international research institutions.


Responsibilities and tasks

Research focus will include application and develop of measurements to quantify the activity and dynamics of biofilm in RAS. The tasks will include, but not be limited to:

  • Use and develop methods to quantify bacterial activity in biofilm, i.e. using a standardized setup to measure oxygen consumption and/or enzyme activity
  • Develop standardized methods to monitor biofilm formation and biofilm activity
  • Quantify the autotrophic and heterotrophic biofilm activity by pulsed nutrient spikes by measuring oxygen consumption and/or enzyme activity
  • Perform controlled experiments with biofilm samples to evaluate disinfection strategies (i.e. peracetic acid or ozone exposure) on microbial activity in biofilm.
  • Scientific dissemination of results

We expect the candidate to be familiar with chemical and microbial processes related to aquaculture. Experience with the characterization of water quality and biofilm processes and knowledge of recirculating aquaculture technology including treatment processes will be an asset.


We are looking for a candidate who has:

  • A master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree
  • Knowledge about water treatment processes and water quality in aquaculture
  • Proficient lab skills and experience with chemical and microbial analysis
  • Strong interest in participating in an international aquaculture research environment
  • Good communication skills in English, both written and orally
  • Flexibility concerning work in the lab and field
  • A driver’s license

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.


In the assessment of the candidates, consideration will be given to the candidate’s motivation and dedication, research experience and problem-solving abilities.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by senior scientist Lars-Flemming Pedersen, associate professor Peter W. Skov and head of section Per B. Pedersen.


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.


The Aquaculture Section, located at the North Sea Science Park in Hirtshals, offers modern laboratories and excellent research facilities for performing large-scale experiments, and has extensive collaboration nationally and internationally with research institutes and industry partners. The candidate should be able and willing to work in a team of scientists to promote innovation and scientific collaboration between multiple disciplines within aquaculture.


Salary and terms of employment

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.


You can read more about career paths at DTU here.


The position is available from October 1st, 2020 or according to mutual agreement.


The work place is at DTU Aqua’s Section for Aquaculture, located in the North Sea Science Park, Hirtshals, Denmark.

Further information

Further information may be obtained from senior researcher Lars-Flemming Pedersen Ph. +45-2465 6309, e-mail address: or Head of Section Per Bovbjerg Pedersen, Ph.: +45 3588 3256, e-mail:

You can read more about DTU Aqua here and about the Aquaculture section facilities here
Application procedure
Please submit your online application no later than 7 August 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 in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • Application (cover letter)
  • CV
  • Diploma (MSc)
  • List of publications

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


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


DTU Aqua - National Institute of Aquatic Resources - has about 290 employees, of whom a third are scientific staff. The other employees are assistant biologists, laboratory technicians, administrative staff, ship’s crew, student assistants etc. The institute is organised into eight scientific sections, which carry out the research, educational and advisory activities. In addition, the institute has a number of scientific and administrative support functions, including the research vessel Dana. DTU Aqua has employees at DTU's campus in Lyngby and in Silkeborg, Hirtshals and Nykøbing Mors in Jutland as well as on board the research vessel Dana. 


DTU Aqua provides scientific based advises the Danish Ministry of the Environment and Food and other public authorities, the commercial fisheries, the aquaculture industry and international commissions. DTU’s master’s programme in Aquatic Science and Technology is coordinated by DTU Aqua. DTU Aqua also offers BSc and MSc projects for students at DTU and other universities.  In addition, DTU Aqua has a PhD school which currently has about 40 students enrolled.

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.