Water JPI/EPA PhD Fellowship

“Water management for sustainable use and protection of peatlands”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Position Filled ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 


Peatlands cover large areas of northern Europe and are important for water quality and regulation of river flow. Peatlands require careful land and water management to reduce a range of negative impacts on water resources and ecosystem services. However, lack of knowledge on land and water management is a key issue in peatland management, which hampers sound decision-making. Unknown issues are:

  • how does peatland drainage and use effect hydrology and water quality at field and catchment scale? How can leaching and other negative impacts be limited by water table management, water retention, land conservation and different water treatment options to reduce downstream effects?

  • which peatland areas should be protected from drainage and intensive land use, and which can be used with limited environmental impacts?

  • what type of water pollution control structures (e.g. constructed wetlands, peak runoff control) and other measures are best suited considering their costs and effectiveness?

  • how can land and water management be combined in a sustainable way to limit impact of water for human consumption and the other environmental impacts? How can new technologies be best applied to protect surface water resources?

This project will improve our knowledge on peatland hydrological and geochemical processes, develop and test methods to reduce leaching and other negative impacts that occur after peatland drainage, and disseminate the knowledge gained to stakeholders.


Applicants should have a good primary degree (First or Second Class Honours) or M.Sc. in an appropriate discipline (Geography, Environmental Science, Civil/Environmental Engineering, etc.). The successful candidate should be highly self-motivated and be prepared for laboratory work and extended periods of field work with modern analytical equipment. A full EU driving licence is also required.


 The PhD Fellowship is part of a larger EU-funded Water JPI project, led by the University of Oulu. The student will be based at NUI Galway under the supervision of Drs. Mark Healy and Oisin Callery. The Fellowship will start as soon as possible after the interview date when the most suitable candidate is appointed.

The fellowship provides a stipend of €22,750. University fees are paid by the student from the stipend which is tenable for 3 years.

Further Information/Applications

Prof Mark Healy, Civil Engineering, NUI Galway; Phone +353 (0)91 4953647; email:

Dr Oisín Callery, Earth and Ocean Sciences, NUI Galway; Phone +353 (0)91 495157; email:

Application Procedure

Submit an electronic copy of Curriculum Vitae and a letter of interest simultaneously to:

Prof Mark Healy ( and Dr Oisín Callery (  

Closing date

26 July, 2019.


INSPIRATION Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network

Early-Stage Researcher (PhD) Fellowship

***************************************** Position filled ******************************************

INSPIRATION (managing soil and groundwater impacts from agriculture for sustainable intensification) is a multidisciplinary European Training Network composed of 26 partners in 9 European countries, which aims to develop low-technology management practices, monitoring approaches, modelling and decision-making tools, and innovative technology applications in the field of sustainable agriculture by a combination of fundamental and applied science ( The research focuses on understanding and predicting the environmental fate of nutrient and organic pollutants from agricultural practices and managing their impact on soil, water and climate systems to ensure sustainable production. It links lab- to catchment-scale studies of biogeochemical processes with field-scale evaluation of novel monitoring and management concepts, using state-of-the-art methods. The network will provide high-quality research training to young scientists, through 15 fully-funded Early-Stage Researcher (PhD level) fellowships. The network includes leading research groups, regulators, advisory bodies, water utilities, consulting firms, commercial R&D and multinationals. The project has an international advisory group and will undertake a comprehensive programme of knowledge transfer and outreach activities with other scientific networks and professional bodies in this field.

Job Description:

This is an industry-based PhD and the project will focus on the mitigation of soil and groundwater impacts of nutrients (NKP) from agriculture using mixed waste media. The main objectives of the PhD will include the following:
1. Identification of locally sourced raw materials/waste media across partner countries used in isolation or in combination that have the capacity to mitigate mixed contaminants and are safe to recycle back on land. 
2. Evaluation of the performance of biochar and other potential media in this application.
3. Development of methodology to measure NKP and other contaminants in the media. Passive sampling and microfluidic technologies will be considered.
4. Development of in-process monitoring to provide information for modelling the lab pilot plant.
5. Field deployment of measuring technology to monitor performance of media in a field application.

Experience and Qualifications:

Candidates must have a good first degree or MSc qualification in a related area. A background in Chemistry would be an advantage but is not essential. Excellent English language skills demonstrated by e.g. IELTS 7.0 or TOEFL 600 (or equivalent) due to entry requirements for PhD qualification is essential.

Candidates will be assessed on the following competencies:

  • Discipline Knowledge and Research Skills – Demonstrates knowledge of a research discipline and the ability to conduct a specific programme of research within that discipline.

  • Understanding the Research Environment- Demonstrates the ability to develop methodologies and to produce quality outputs.

  • Communicating Research – Demonstrates the ability to communicate their research with their peers and the wider research community (for example presenting at internal meetings, external conferences and publishing research in relevant journals).

  • Managing and Leadership Skills – Demonstrates the potential to manage their PhD project.


    Candidates for this position must possess excellent management and communication skills, and should possess the following personal attributes:

  1. Ability to work on your own initiative and to resolve problems as they arise.

  2. Ability to work with a variety of stakeholders, partners and individuals at all levels.

  3. Performance focused and ability to deliver according to agreed targets and deadlines.

  4. Strong analytical, administrative and inter-personal skills.

  5. Ability to carefully prepare project documentation, reports and research outputs with attention to detail.

Host organisation:

T.E. Laboratories Ltd., Tullow, Co. Carlow.

Duration of employment

The period of appointment is up to 36 months, from start date, which is expected to be August 2018 at the latest. This project will be funded by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship from start date until April 2020, and the remainder of the project will be funded by T.E. Laboratories, see details of benefits below.  Successful candidates are expected to register for a programme of study that leads to a PhD. The PhD will be registered at the National University of Ireland Galway.


All fellows receive a contract of employment as a full-time researcher for the relevant period of their appointment, which includes applicable benefits in the host country. All fellows complete a comprehensive personalised career development programme, with targeted training measures and participate in a range of network events across the partnership, including industrial training experience. Participation in external relevant scientific and technical training events and conferences is also supported. Fellows will benefit from interdisciplinary cooperation and interaction with partner organisations from all sectors of the agri-environmental management community, providing them with the best preparation for a successful career in either academia or industry.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships for Early-Stage Researchers provide a fixed allowance of Euros 37,320 per year, which is subject to a country correction. Additional allowances for mobility and family status are also provided, as appropriate, in line with H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015. This will be paid until April 2020. T.E. Laboratories will provide a Research Salary of €28,000 p.a. for the remainder of the 36-month project.

Experience and mobility conditions:

To be eligible, applicants for Early-Stage Researcher fellowships must not have a PhD and must have less than 4 years full-time equivalent research experience from the award of the degree which entitles them to undertake a doctorate. Applicants can be any nationality but at the time of selection must not have resided or carried out their main activity (e.g. work or studies) in Ireland for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the starting date of the fellowship. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.

The eligibility requirements for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships are non-negotiable and ineligible applicants will not be considered. Further information and the full terms and conditions regarding eligibility are provided on or Work Programme 2014-2015.

Application process:

Candidates should provide the following information in one file for their application:

  1. A detailed CV with covering letter which explains your suitability, competence and motivation for scientific research and the fellowship to  

Closing date for applications: 31.05.2018  at 17.00 (GMT)