PhD Opportunity: Environmental engineering on climate change and permafrost thaw impact on freshwater quality in the Arctic, DTU

PhD in “environmental engineering on climate change and permafrost thaw impact on freshwater quality in the Arctic” at Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in Lyngby, Denmark

If you dream of establishing a career as an Arctic scientist with an environmental focus, and if you strive for possibilities to explore and engage with the extraordinary nature and people of the Arctic region, then the best possible opportunity to fulfill your dreams and ambitions is right here.

At DTU Sustain, you will be part of a team committed to doing research in Greenland for the benefit of the Greenlandic society. As partners in the EU Horizon project consortium ILLUQ they will break new ground at the absolute forefront of climate and environmental research. Your role as their PhD student will be to investigate climate change and permafrost thaw induced impacts on the quality of freshwater resources directly or indirectly used for human consumption. The aim is to identify climate change related current and future health threats to water resources using a One-Health perspective, and to contribute to identify potential mitigation measures.

ILLUQ (the Inuvialuktun word for partner) is an interdisciplinary project rooted in participatory research with local stake- and rightsholders. Its mission is to provide the first holistic approach to permafrost thaw, pollution, One-Health and well-being in the Arctic and to deliver timely products on the threats from contaminant release, infrastructure failure and ecosystem changes to stakeholders. Your role in the project is to contribute to a small but significant piece of the puzzle on climate induced changes to the supply of water for consumption.

The focus of your research and fieldwork will be in Greenland, although you will also visit other arctic locations, and you are expected to participate in a fieldwork campaign in the Canadian Arctic.

Responsibilities and qualifications:

They are looking for a candidate, who is eager to explore and engage with communities and fellow researchers alike. You recognize the fantastic opportunity of spending periods of time in different Greenlandic locations to do field-studies, and you view the chance of spending extended work periods at DTU’s Campus in Sisimiut, Arctic DTU Sisimiut – Ilinniarfeqarfik Sisimiut, as an asset. By also spending time at their campus in Lyngby, Denmark, you will be provided with access to their advanced laboratories, giving you the best possible base for a successful study.

You are knowledgeable about the arctic nature and people. Ideally, you have chemical analytical and/or microbial analytical lab experience as well as experience with fieldwork. Your English is fluent, and due to the project taking its offset in participatory research, you preferably also master Greenlandic or alternatively Danish or another Nordic language and are willing to engage in learning some Greenlandic.

You must have a two-year master’s degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master’s degree within the field of environmental engineering, microbiology, chemistry or similar . 

Approval and Enrolment:

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programs at DTU. For information about their enrollment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see DTU’s rules for the PhD education


The assessment of the candidates will be made by Associate Professor Pernille Erland Jensen ( and Professor Lisbeth Truelstrup Hansen (

DTU offers:

DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation, and scientific advice. They offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. They strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms:

The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years. Starting date is 1 May 2024 or earlier according to mutual agreement. The position is a full-time position.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark. Furthermore, you have the option of joining their monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar” for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU.

Application procedure:

Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 10 January 2024 (23:59 Danish time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link “Apply now”, fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae 
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale

You may apply prior to obtaining your master’s degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates regardless of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Sustain – Department of Environmental and Resource Engineering – is one of the largest university departments specializing in environmental and resource engineering in Europe. The department conducts research, development & scientific advice and provides educational programs and service to society. They are working to develop new environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies, methods and solutions, and to disseminate this knowledge to society and future generations of engineers. The Department has approximately 300 staff from more than 30 nationalities.