PhD position – Sustainable Environmental Sensing

Water pollution from industry, agriculture and urban settings is a major global pressure on human and ecological health. Effective monitoring of water quality is vital to safeguard our water supply and managing the health of our aquatic ecosystems. Current monitoring typically requires an expert to be sent out into the field for sample collection and analysis is carried out in a dedicated laboratory. This is costly and means that we have only rather limited data on the levels and fate of chemicals in our environment. Here we set out to develop simple to operate chemical sensors assembled from sustainable materials that can be operated by Citizen Scientists for sustainable data collection on a larger scale.

The Pamme Research Group aims to develop simple-to-operate chemical sensors for point-of-need environmental monitoring. We have already studied several paper-based analytical devices (PADs) for on-site analysis for freshwater quality and soil fertility that can be operated by Citizen Scientists. However, current approaches to on-site sensing often rely on materials and components that are not sustainable or may be toxic by end-of-product-life. A gear change is needed to invent within the parameter space of the next generation of sustainable and biobased materials for sustainable water sensing.

The PhD student will develop components for chemical sensing, in particular nutrients, metal pollutants and small organic molecules, at the point-of-need that are constructed from sustainable materials. This will include materials that act as sensor substrates, materials for colour and electrochemical detection and finally materials for pre-concentration. We can employ electrospinning and 3D printing of bio-based substrate materials, blotting, laser cutting and wax printing technologies. Throughout the project, we will seek feedback from end-users and assess the suitability of our analytical workflow approaches.

This recruitment is connected to the Wallenberg Initiative Materials Science for Sustainability (WISE). WISE, funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, is the largest-ever investment in materials science in Sweden and will encompass major efforts at Sweden’s foremost universities over the course of 10 years. The vision is a sustainable future through materials science.

For more information and how to apply please check here.

The application deadline is 22 January 2023.

Research Fellows and Visitors

If you have your own funding or want to apply for a Research Fellowship and are interested in our research topics, please do not hesitate to contact Prof. Pamme directly.