PhD Candidate at Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Trondheim, Norway
03 Jan 2019
End of advertisement period
23 Jan 2019
SO IV-21/19
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

We have a vacancy for a PhD position at Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The position reports to Associate Professor Cynthia Halle

Job description

The doctoral research program will be affiliated with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. Upon completion of all program requirements, the candidate will be awarded a PhD in civil engineering. This project will investigate the interaction between drinking water quality and microbes in Norwegian water distribution networks. Biofilm bacteria may exacerbate corrosion of iron water mains, produce unpleasant tastes and odors, and shed viable bacterial cells into treated drinking water. Of particular concern is the role of biofilms as a reservoir of waterborne pathogens, including opportunistic microbes like Legionella spp. Inhalation of aerosolized Legionella spp. may cause influenza-like Pontiac fever or a severe pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease. Outbreaks have been associated with contaminated premise plumbing (e.g., pipes and shower heads), spas and decorative water features, and cooling towers, although public water supplies have been long suspected as a means for the dispersal of Legionella from the natural environment to these engineered environments. The overall goal of the research program is to fill knowledge gaps with regard to microbiome composition of biofilms and suspended biomass in drinking water distribution systems and establish management strategies to reduce risk of exposure to opportunistic pathogens. Specific tasks are to include design and operation of pilot-scale water treatment systems, collection and preparation of samples, analysis of water quality using advanced methods (AOC, TOC, LCOCD) and analysis of microbial populations using molecular and culture-based methods (qPCR, ATP, NGS, Legiolert). Primary advisor for the research program will be Associate Professor Cynthia Hallé.

Qualification requirements

PhD candidate:

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is completion of a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in civil engineering, environmental science, microbiology or related science/engineering program, with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. Applicants with no letter grades from previous studies must have an equally good academic foundation. Applicants who are unable to meet these criteria may be considered only if they can document that they are particularly suitable candidates for education leading to a PhD degree.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, postdoctor and research assistant

Other qualifications

  • Knowledge of water treatment processes (theoretical and/or practical)
    • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English
    • Laboratory experience

Personal characteristics

  • Ability to meet deadlines and produce work of a consistently high standard
  • Ability to work both individually and in a team environment
  • Ability to drive a motor vehicle
  • Availability to regularly travel to and from a water treatment plant

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, as well as motivation, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidate:

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 449 400 before tax per year. From the salary, 2 % is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years ( without required duties). Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in engineering science. 

As a PhD candidate, you undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. A condition of appointment is that you are in fact qualified for admission to the PhD programme within three months.

Appointment takes place on the terms that apply to State employees at any time, and after the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

General information

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. Under the Freedom of Information Act (offentleglova), information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have their name entered on the list of applicants.

Questions about the position can be directed to Associate Professor Cynthia Halle, mail to

About the application:

Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application. Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify the individual applicant's contribution to joint works, the applicant must include a brief description of his or her contribution.

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applicants invited for interview must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters.

Please refer to the application number SO IV-21/19 when applying.

Application deadline: 23.01.2019

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

We conduct research and teaching in civil and transportation engineering, technical planning, structural engineering, water and wastewater engineering and hydraulic engineering. Graduates from our programmes become employees – in both the public and private sectors – with a sustainability mindset combined with competitive knowledge and skills. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 23.01.2019
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering