Doctoral Position in P and Fe Recovery From Iron Phosphate Materials

University of Oulu Faculty of Technology


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Fiber and Particle Engineering research unit (appr. 50 persons) at the in the University of Oulu focuses on inorganic binding materials and sustainable materials, chemicals and applications based on lignocelluloses. The group is developing green water treatment materials and chemicals such as adsorbents, flocculation agents, surfactants, emulsifiers, novel bio-based nanomaterials for removal of persistent aquatic micropollutants from waste waters etc. The team has all relevant processing equipment, analytics, and trained laboratory staff related to water treatment topics.

Position Summary: 

A four-year Doctoral Student position in water treatment and materials recovery and reuse (P and Fe recovery from iron phosphate materials) available at the Fiber and Particle Engineering Research Unit, at University of Oulu, Finland under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) European Innovative Training Network: RecaP (Capture, Recycling and Societal Management of Phosphorus in the Environment) within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission (Agreement No. 956454). 

Anticipated starting date: 1 September 2021. Application deadline: May 31st, 2021 

Project Background: 

The principal aim of this Early Stage Researchers (ESR) project is to find opportunities to recover P and Fe from the wastewater sludge. Fe-P is a relevant recovery product from sewage sludge, either in the form of P-containing Fe-hydroxides or vivianite, when iron salts are used as coagulant chemicals in water treatment processes. The work will develop new approaches to separate Fe from Fe-P from wastewater by improving known alkaline and acid treatments procedures to produce Fe suitable for reuse as a valuable raw material in Fe coagulant production or other novel applications, and simultaneously recover P as a valuable fertilizer or other advanced end-uses.

The work will address the fate of iron phosphates along the wastewater treatment process, Fe phosphate processing and recovery of Fe and P when Fe based coagulants are used in wastewater treatment. Special tasks are to i) Develop a technology to separate Fe and P from the recovered iron-phosphates ii) Identify methods on how the Fe and P can further be processed to valuable products iii) Evaluate methods to recover Fe in a quality that allows its reuse as a valuable raw material in Fe coagulant and other products, iv) summarize Fe recycling technologies.


We are looking for a person with a MSc degree (granted no later than appointment date, 31st August 2021) in chemistry, chemical, process or environmental engineering, or material science or related fields. Especially, the background related to process and inorganic chemistry is a benefit. You are able to work as a part of a larger, multidisciplinary group, and you have the ability to take your own initiatives and you are able to collaborate with in industrial and research partners. Good communication skills in English both in speech and writing is important.

The position is located at University of Oulu (Finland), at the Fiber and Particle Engineering research group.

Please review the main duties for all ESR positions by visiting the RECAP website.

Additionally, the successful candidate must meet the MSCA criteria: 

• Early Stage Researcher: Be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctorate. This 4-year period is measured from the date of obtaining the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate, excluding military, parental, sick leave, etc. 

• Mobility Rule: Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Finland for more than 12 months in the last 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are exempt/excluded. 

The RecaP MSCA-ITN Training Network: 

RecaP will train a cohort of 15 PhD students (Early Stage Researchers, ESRs) to become Phosphorus specialist within the Global Phosphorus Challenge in a way that is socially, economically, and environmentally acceptable. This application is for the project ESR 6: P and Fe recovery from iron phosphate materials.

For further details, visit the RecaP website:

Application Process 

Applications, together with all relevant enclosures, should be submitted using the electronic application form by 31st of May 2021. The application should be written in English and include the following:

  1. 1-2 page Motivation Letter (describing your specific interest, motivation and qualifications for the project)
  2. A curriculum vitae including personal contact information and previous employment. 
  3. Copies of Bachelor and Master certificates / diploma, or anticipated date of degree.
  4. A full list of scientific publications on which the applicant wishes to rely (if available).
  5. Letters of recommendation
  6. Language certificate (English)

Please specifically address these questions in the application portal:

  1. I agree that I have not resided in Finland for more than 12 months in the last 3 years.
    1. Yes/No
  2. I confirm I am an early-stage researcher (i.e. in the first four years of research career and do not have a doctoral degree).
    1. Yes/No
  3. I hold a master’s degree in a relevant discipline, or will receive this before appointment date (31st August 2021).
    1. Yes/No

During the application process, statistical information about the genders of applicants will be shared with the coordinating institution (University of Southern Denmark) in order to ensure a balanced recruitment process.

Incomplete applications and applications received after the deadline will neither be considered nor evaluated. We may use shortlisting in this process. Data collected from candidates will be used for recruitment purposes only and will not be shared outside of the RecaP consortium unless authorized by the applicant.

The salary is commensurate with the MCSA program.

The RecaP website includes more detailed information about salary, recruitment and selection.

RecaP values diversity, and does not discriminate based on gender, religion, marital status, age, or cultural background. Additionally, RecaP seeks to increase the number of women in scientific areas where they are underrepresented are therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. 

The project is supervised by Professor Henrikki Liimatainen, and is conducted in close collaboration with Wetsus (The Netherlands), University of Southern Denmark and Kemira (Finland), and includes secondments in these partner organizations.

For further information about this position or University of Oulu, please contact Professor Henrikki Liimatainen (

For further information about the RecaP Project, please contact Project Manager Jake Reardon at

In your application, please refer to