OFERTA Marie-Curie PhD Position on Developing Plasma Technology for Wastewater Treatment








Title and host institutions of the PhD thesis project:


Title of PhD thesis

Host institution

Mobility Institution


Design, development and characterization of atmospheric plasma system for wastewater treatment

Institute of Physics, Belgrade (IPB), Serbia

Catalan Institute for Water Research, Spain


Supervisory team

Nevena Puac (IPB)     

Wolfgang Gernjak (ICRA)      

Dragan Povrenovic (TMF)


The position is offered for 3 years for the following individual research project:

- Remuneration according to MSCA ITN rules


General information about the NOWELTIES network:

NOWELTIES - Joint PhD Laboratory for New Materials and Inventive Water Treatment Technologies.  Harnessing resources effectively through innovation is a Marie Sklodowska Curie Action European Joint Doctorate (EJD) project (programme Innovative Training Networks (ITN) of Horizon 2020). Its primary objective is to organize a platform that will provide cutting edge training opportunities for the education of tomorrow`s water treatment experts. The core activity is the research programme (composed of 14 individual research projects) aimed at development of inventive water treatment technologies (advanced biological treatments, innovative oxidation processes, hybrid systems) that allow catering for the varied treatment demands for a plethora of interconnected streams arising from recycling loops. These technologies will be able to control contamination by organic micropollutants (OMPs) and improve recovery of water across a diversity of scales enabling a smart combination of decentralized and centralised approaches. Besides a holistic training in the field of wastewater treatment dealing with state-of-the-art technologies, experimental techniques and knowledge management methodologies, NOWELTIES will provide a unique training approach to learning complex complementary skills leading to independent and critical thinking which seeks for originality and innovation.


Specific information for the present PhD project:

We are looking to recruit for 1 post-graduate researcher (Early Stage Researchers - ESR), specialized in Physics and/or Plasma Physics. The candidate will be working in the interdisciplinary environment and basic knowledge in Physical Chemistry and Chemistry are required.

Candidates should have a strong interest in interdisciplinary research that include physics and electrical engineering for construction and characterisation of plasma sources and, also, chemistry for characterisation of treated wastewater.

The hired researcher will compulsory enrol in Doctoral Programmes at two Universities (University of Belgrade, host institution and University of Girona, mobility host) and undertake mobility in order to implement the Individual Research Project, as well as to participate in a sustained training programme that will lead to awarding double doctoral degree.


Eligibility criteria

-    Nationals from any country may apply

-    Mobility: at the time of the recruitment, the researcher must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.), in the country of the chosen host institution (recruiting beneficiary) for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the date of the recruitment.

-    Research category of Early Stage Researcher (ESR): researchers who, at the time of the recruitment, have not yet been awarded a doctorate degree and are in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers, including the research training period that would entitle them to a doctorate.


General evaluation criteria

-    Educational requirements: Physics, Plasma physics, Physical Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or similar.

-    Previous research experience: experience with experimental plasma physics and skills in electronics and electrical engineering are desirable.

-    For holders of an official university degree from the countries within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA):  A minimum of 300 ECTS credits completed in official university studies are required, of which at least 60 must be at a master’s degree level.  For holders of a university degree obtained in another country, an equivalent degree that qualifies the holder to begin doctoral studies in the country in which it was issued (a certificated from the University may be required).

-    High proficiency in spoken and written English

-    Networking and communication skills (to be evaluated in the interview).


Selection process

Pre-selection: will be based on CV, experience, skills and motivation letter.

Interviews: Short-listed candidates will be interviewed.


Start of contract: Preferably September 1st, 2019 as the first joint training event of this Joint Doctorate Project will take place early October.


How to apply

Applicants should send full application consisting of:

-    Curriculum Vitae (Europass format recommended; Please specify your residence/work place in the last 3 years).

 -   University transcripts (grades)

-    A statement letter addressing his/her research interests in relationship to the selected individual research project.

-    2 recommendation letters

to nowelties@icra.cat indicating ref. “NOWELTIES_ESR4” in the subject of the email

The deadline to submit the required documentation is July 19th, 2019.

Further detail of PhD research project:


Fellow code: ESR 4

Title of individual research project

Design, development and characterization of atmospheric plasma system for wastewater treatment

Host institution

Institute of Physics, Belgrade, Serbia

Double doctorate degree

  1. Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, Belgrade, Serbia
  2. University of Girona, Spain

Brief description of individual research project

Atmospheric pressure (AP) non-equilibrium plasma sources provide a chemically rich environment allowing various reactions between species at ambient temperature. Such plasma could be optimised and used as efficient tool for treatment of wastewaters with an ability to adjust the plasma produced mixture of reactive species to a variety of treatment objectives. In order to make an optimized device for water treatment two phases will be engaged: (i) design of an AP plasma source, including choice of the source type and electrode geometry and appropriate power input, and (ii) diagnostics of plasma properties produced by the device running in the realistic environment. The survey on the source type will help to construct the device which will be relatively technically simple and reliable and, at the same time, able to produce the plasma environment to be applied to treatment of liquids. The choice of power input is closely connected to the plasma source type, as well as, operational requirements regarding the plasma treatment. After technical development of the AP source, complete characterisation of plasma operating with different parameter settings will be performed by using different measurement techniques (electrical measurements of plasma power, mass spectrometry will measure densities of neutral and charged species, while optical measurements will deliver data on emission coming from the plasma). The last two techniques will gain detailed insight into the plasma chemistry which will consequently allow identifying crucial reactions involved in decomposition of water OMPs (chosen between the most common groups of pesticides, insecticides and pharmaceuticals). The analytical techniques will be complemented by an experimental plan including a selected choice of organic and inorganic matrix components influencing the propagation and lifetime of reactive species in the liquid environment. Optimisation of the device will be performed in order to achieve plasma conditions for efficient wastewater treatment for different types of OMPs.


Catalan Institute for water Research (ICRA), Girona, Spain – 10 months

Supervisory team

Nevena Puac (IPB)     

Wolfgang Gernjak (ICRA)      

Dragan Povrenovic (TMF)


Educational requirements

Physics, Plasma physics, Physical Chemistry or similar.


Other specific requirements

Experience with experimental plasma physics and skills in electronics and electrical engineering are desirable.