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Apply by: 2024-06-15

PhD position on: “Modelling Micropollutant Removal using Charge-Mosaic Nanofiltration Membranes”

Published 2024-05-15


Within Membrane Surface Science (MSuS) and Soft Matter, Fluidics and Interfaces (SFI), both part of the Department of Membrane Science & Technology (MST) of the University of Twente, the Netherlands (www.membrane.nl), we have a vacancy for a PhD student.

There is growing awareness and concern about the presence of so-called micro-pollutants (MPs) in our surface water and drinking water. MPs, very small organic molecules (100-1000 Dalton), stem from industrial, medicinal, and agricultural waste. They have the potential to cause long-term harm to humans and the environment, something especially true for MPs classified as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. Even at very low concentrations these MPs can have a significant negative effect on health and environment.

As part of the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant (CoG) project “MOSAIC”, this PhD project will work on a challenging novel membrane approach to effectively remove MPs from surface and drinking water. Charge-mosaic membranes comprise a nanoscale pattern of positively and negatively charged patches. These membranes have unique separation properties, rejecting the organic micropollutants while allowing salts to pass. In this project a model will be developed to describe and predict the separation behavior of Mosaic based Nanofiltration membranes. A focus will be on connecting the size and relative occurrence of the positive and negative domains, to the retention behavior for salt solutions and MPs. Initially this will be done on the basis of the more simple Solution-Diffusion model and extended to more complex models based on ion and fluid transport phenomena and physical chemistry (Poisson-Nernst-Planck and Navier-Stokes).

The PhD student in this project will closely collaborate with at least 3 other PhD students within the larger ERC-CoG MOSAIC project. While this PhD project will focus on the transport model for these membranes systems, others will focus on materials science, membrane fabrication and membrane process design. This team oriented research project is intended to be a highly collaborative environment. Moreover, the project will be well integrated in the MSuS and SFI groups and the MST Department, allowing extensive collaboration and knowledge exchange.

As part of the PhD program, you would have the opportunity to receive further education within the Twente Graduate School and within various graduate education programmes in the NL such as the J.M. Burgerscentrum for Fluid Mechanics and Polymer Technology. Furthermore, you may actively contribute to the teaching program, e.g. by supervising BSc and MSc assignments or by acting as teaching assistants in courses taught by department staff members.


  • You have a Master’s degree, preferably with distinction (or international equivalent), in Chemical Engineering, Physical Chemistry, Physics or a closely related discipline.
  • You are motivated and enthusiastic about working on a more fundamental project within a more applied field of research.
  • You have a high affinity towards physical chemistry, interfacial and transport phenomena, electrokinetics or related topics.
  • Preferably you have experience and affinity with simulations and connecting transport models to experimental results (to describe membrane performance).
  • You have the ability to work independently and as a member of an international research team, while demonstrating a collaborative attitude.
  • You are able to review and engage with interdisciplinary studies and are driven by curiosity. You have excellent analytical skills and an analytical mind-set, excellent communication skills, written as well as spoken and will be part of a dynamic, interactive research community where you are expected to contribute to the overall academic level.
  • English language proficiency is a must and a written test, as well as a scientific presentation, can be part of the interview procedure.


  • A full-time position for four years, with a qualifier in the first year, and the flexibility to work (partially) from home.
  • Your salary and associated conditions are in accordance with the collective labour agreement for Dutch universities (CAO-NU).
  • You will receive a gross monthly salary ranging from € 2770,- (first year) to € 3539,- (fourth year).
  • There are excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme.
  • A minimum of 232 leave hours in case of full-time employment based on a formal workweek of 38 hours. A full-time employment in practice means 40 hours a week, therefore resulting in 96 extra leave hours on an annual basis.
  • Free access to sports facilities on campus.
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid).
  • You will have a training programme as part of the Twente Graduate School where you and your supervisors will determine a plan for a suitable education and supervision.


The Membrane Science and Technology department, often referred to as Twente Membranes, consists of several chairs focused on the development of new membrane materials and modules, membrane characterization, transport phenomena near and through membrane surfaces and the development of membrane processes and applications. The MST department has a history in membranes research of more than 50 years, and is internationally recognized as a leading department in membrane science and technology. The department boasts an impressive track record of over 250 PhD graduates, over 1000 peer reviewed scientific publications and over 40 granted patents.


Are you interested in this position? Please send your application via the 'Apply now' button below before 15-06-2024, and include:

  • A cover letter (maximum 2 pages A4), emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications and your motivation to apply for this position.
  • A Curriculum Vitae, including contact information for at least two academic references.
  • If possible, please provide a transcript of grades of both your BSc and MSc diploma.