Phd Candidate Environmental Sustainability Analysis and Circular Economy in Silicon Metallurgy

Trondheim, Norway
16 Sep 2020
End of advertisement period
28 Oct 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time


About the position

The Industrial Ecology Program (IndEcol), Department of Energy and Process Engineering is seeking a PhD student to address life cycle assessment and circular economy in silicon process metallurgy. The position is of 3.5 years duration, including 6 months for teaching duties.

The PhD candidate will support our research in sustainable metallurgy, specifically our participation in the H2020 SisAl Pilot project: Innovative pilot for silicon production with low environmental impact using secondary aluminium and silicon raw materials (2020-2024). Carbothermic reduction is used in many metal processes, including in the reduction of quartz to silicon (Si) metal. SisAl Pilot considers replacement of conventional carbothermic with aluminothermic reduction using aluminium slags, dross and secondary metal fractions to increase Si yield, minimize direct emissions, and provide a range of Si, aluminium and alumina products.

Metal value chains are important to global carbon emissions and material flows, and primary metal production dominates life cycle impacts of many product systems. Development of sustainable metallurgy requires an understanding of the links between metallurgy process design, the value chains they involve, and the environmental impacts attached to these. Gaps remain in knowledge transfer across the domains of process metallurgy and environmental sustainability assessment.

IndEcol is a well-established interdisciplinary group in the field of environmental sustainability analysis. Researchers at IndEcol participate in international expert groups, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Resource Panel (IRP), as well as international collaborative projects.

The Head of Department is Professor Terese Løvås. The position’s supervisor is Associate Professor Johan Berg Pettersen, the co-supervisor is Professor Daniel Müller.

Duties of the position

  • Develop models for energy and mass balances in silicon production processes
  • Develop and benchmark life cycle assessment models for the SisAl production routes
  • Data acquisition and documentation
  • Conduct analysis and write up journal manuscripts
  • Complete and defend a dissertation within 3.5 years
  • Teaching assistant for selected courses at Indecol

Selection criteria

Essential qualifications:

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is that you have completed a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in industrial ecology, engineering, natural science, mathematics, or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic foundation. If you are unable to meet these criteria you may be considered only if you can document that you are particularly suitable for education leading to a PhD degree.

  • Study background at MSc level in either metallurgy and material science, or environmental systems analysis
  • Completed courses in life cycle assessment and/or material flow analysis
  • Experience in use of programming with environmental data, e.g., Python, Matlab, or other
  • Proven analytical and computational capabilities, in courses and or/thesis deliverables
  • Proven written and oral English language skills

Desired qualifications:

  • Proficiency in a Scandinavian language (Norwegian, Danish, Swedish) is an advantage
  • Experience in computation or thermodynamic process simulation is an advantage, especially of metallurgic processes using FactSage, HSC Sim or similar
  • The position involves duties as teaching assistant, thereby experience as student assistant or in teaching is an advantage

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, post doctor and research assistant.

Personal characteristics

  • Self-motivated, enthusiastic, and dedicated
  • Motivated to solve environmental problems and advance sustainability
  • Ambitious and goal-oriented
  • Team player
  • Excellent communication skills

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 479 600 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3.5 years (including 6 months` teaching duties).

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Engineering within three months of appointment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

The position is subject to external funding.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must accompany the application. Please note that applications are evaluated based only on the information available by the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

The application must include:

  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • Cover letter.  Your cover letter should describe your motivation for the position and provide insights that go beyond what is evident from your CV
  • A writing sample, such as an article or thesis
  • Name and address of three referees

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability.

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

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. 

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Associate Professor Johan Berg-Pettersen, If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Megan Norris,

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Applicants with European Master`s qualifications from outside Norway are required to include a Diploma Supplement. Applicants with Master`s qualifications from China are required to include confirmation of Master`s Diplomas from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number IV-187/20 when applying.

Application deadline: 28.10.2020

Further information

This position is funded by the European Union Horizon 2020: SisAl Pilot project: Innovative pilot for silicon production with low environmental impact using secondary aluminium and silicon raw materials (2020-2024). Grant agreement ID: 869268.

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 Energy and Process Engineering

We conduct research and teaching covering the entire energy chain, from resources to the end-user. We look at how energy is produced and used by humans and machines in a sustainable way with regard to health, climate change and the resource base. The Department of Energy and Process Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 28th October 2020
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Fixed Term
Jobbnorge ID 192074


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