PhD Position on Transport and Transformation of Urban Micropollutants

The French National Centre for Scientific Research has an open PhD position on Transport and Transformation of Urban Micropollutants: emissions and fate in urban receiving environments under extreme hydro-climatic conditions, in Strasbourg.

General Information

The French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) is looking for a creative, highly qualified and motivated young scientist to join the INTERREG VI research project on the transport and transformation of urban micropollutants, including pharmaceutical residues and pesticides, as well as their transformation products, in aquatic ecosystems and the associated risks.

This PhD project is in collaboration with the Institut Terre et Environnement de Strasbourg of the University of Strasbourg, in partnership with the Universities of Freiburg and Landau, and is co-financed by the European Union as part of the INTERREG VI Upper Rhine program.

Workplace: Strasbourg, France
Contract Period: 36 months
Start date of the thesis: 1 October 2024
Proportion of work: full-time, field and laboratory work.
Remuneration: 2135,00 € gross monthly

Thesis Topic

Characterizing micropollutants in the urban aquatic environment is a challenge, as both the water balance and contaminant concentrations show pronounced variability in time and space. The processes by which urban micropollutants are released into the aquatic environment, their fate and the ecotoxicological risks they entail are still poorly understood. In particular, the monitoring of transformation products is still poorly integrated into urban environmental monitoring. The project will involve:

  • the development of in situ studies on the transformation of micropollutants in stormwater storage areas and at the outlets of wastewater treatment plants, based on composite continuous sampling;
  • the collection of hydrochemical data and high-resolution micropollutant and stable isotope analyses, including the use of specific multi-elemental isotope analyses for emblematic urban micropollutants, based on laboratory and field studies;
  • the quantitative and qualitative interpretation of flows, transformation and natural attenuation of urban micropollutants in receiving environments, as well as the assessment of associated risks.


The successful candidate will contribute to the development of approaches such as mass balances, conceptual schemes and modelling of different scenarios for reducing the use of urban micropollutants at source. The aim will be to assess the emissions and transformation of priority urban micropollutants and their transformation products in the main receiving aquatic environments at city scale, as well as to evaluate the resulting risks. The PhD work will consist of:

  • Quantitatively assess micropollutant emissions and their transformation in the main receiving aquatic environments, using specific sampling methods and chemical analyses, taking into account extreme hydro-climatic events and periods.
  • Apply high-resolution spectrometric and stable isotope analysis techniques to study the fate of micropollutants in surface waters and urban sediments.
  • Interpret and predict the transport of micropollutant emission sources and their transformation in urban receiving areas, such as stormwater retention basins and areas where treated wastewater is discharged into watercourses.
  • Work as part of an interdisciplinary team and with external partners (University of Freiburg and Landau, Strasbourg Eurometropole departments), in particular, to develop scenarios aimed at reducing urban micropollutant emissions at source.
  • Prepare scientific publications and presentations for scientific conferences.


  • Hold a Master’s degree or engineering diploma in environmental sciences, aquatic biogeochemistry and/or environmental chemistry, obtained within the last two years (candidates graduating after January 1, 2022 will be considered).
  • Experience in fieldwork, hydrochemical analysis, analytical chemistry, and possibly isotope analysis.
  • Have a good command of the English language, both written and spoken.
  • Demonstrated ability to present scientific results, with at least one article published or in progress in peer-reviewed journals in the field.
  • Communication skills and ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team of scientists, engineers and technicians. Proven international research experience is required.
  • Working knowledge of fieldwork, pollutant transformation, micropollutant chemistry, sampling methods, urban modelling and/or high-resolution analysis and stable isotopes is an added advantage.


To apply follow the link. Application Deadline: 27 May 2024