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PhD Student – Recovery of critical raw materials from waste by advanced membrane processes


The University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland includes nine schools with more than 12’000 students. We are looking for you to join the School of Life Sciences, Institute for Ecopreneurship in Muttenz, Switzerland, at the earliest possible date: PhD Student (m/f)
Recovery of critical raw materials from waste via advanced membrane processes Your tasks The world is confronted with an increasing supply risk of so-called “critical raw materials” (CRM) as essential elements in many high-tech products. The Institute for Ecopreneurship is engaged in the recovery of such materials from secondary sources, i.e. from industrial by-products, solid wastes and wastewaters. To allow for a selective, efficient and scalable recovery, we are applying advanced membrane processes (e.g. acid resistant nanofiltration). We are aiming at a fundamental understanding of membrane properties and the influence of metal speciation on filtration selectivity/efficiency. Ultimately, we will apply this knowledge to recover critical raw materials from actual waste streams. The project bridges several national and international projects all concerned with CRM recovery (e.g. H2020 SCALE, PertPV).

Your main objective is to build on and further develop membrane filtration for elemental recovery. To analyze CRM, you will make use of the state-of-the-art infrastructure available in house (LC-QqQ-ICP-MS, µXRF, LA-ICP-MS). For (nano)filtration experiments, multiple pilot units are available. To characterize membranes, microscopy (SEM, TEM, AFM) as well as spectroscopy (NMR, FTIR, Raman) is available. Next to developing and operating (nano)filtration units, you can build on experience in the field of polymer inclusion membranes.
Depending on the qualification the PhD is completed at a Swiss or German university. The position is fully funded (4 years) and initially limited to one year (1 year + 3 years elongation).
Your profile You should hold a MSc degree in environmental engineering, environmental sciences, chemistry or related fields. Knowledge in programming (LabVIEW, MATLAB) and modelling (transport/speciation) is an asset. Excellent skills in oral and written English are a pre-requisite. The ability for independent and target-oriented work are necessary.

Our Offer: The Institute for Ecopreneurship is active in the areas of environmental protection and advancement of ecological efficiency, developing innovative environmental and biotechnological processes. Our research spans from fundamental research to industrial research and development, both on national and international level. The institute hosts state-of-the-art analytical infrastructure, a dedicated radio-laboratory, in vitro / in vivo toxicity testing, and piloting facilities.
Your application as including a letter of motivation online via the following button to Désirée Zoller, HR officer. For further information please contact Dr. Markus Lenz, Senior Researcher, P +41 61 228 56 86. Your workplace

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