ENAC – PhD position to investigate microbial processes in nuclear waste disposal

PhD position to investigate microbial processes in nuclear waste disposal

We are offering a 100% PhD researcher position to investigate microbial processes in nuclear waste disposal for the duration of 4 years at the Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (EML), School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC), at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. The focus at EML is on microbiology with numerous projects dedicated to geomicrobiology – the study of the role of microbes in geochemical processes – and a growing number of projects focused on gut microbiology.

The project is focused on the role of microorganisms in bentonite, a swelling clay. Interest in this clay stems from its planned use as backfill material for nuclear waste disposal. The use of bentonite is intended (in part) to prevent microbial activity in the vicinity of the waste. Thus, it is important to provide a full understanding of the factors limiting microbial growth and activity in this clay material.

Your job

  • Help design reactors for experiments
  • Perform in situ experiments at the underground rock laboratory in St-Ursanne, Switzerland as well as in the laboratory at EPFL
  • Carry our amplicon-based microbiome characterization
  • Evaluate active members of the microbial community using isotope methods
  • Analyze the data using statistical methods
  • Collaborate with partners from Europe and beyond
  • Participate in general laboratory tasks
  • Take classes required by the doctoral school
  • Write publications and reports
  • Attend and present at international conferences

We expect

  • Educational background in microbiology and/or chemistry
  • A strong chemical engineering background is an asset
  • Computer skills: Word, Excel, PowerPoint. Prism
  • Language: fluent English
  • Self-motivation, scientific curiosity, critical thinking and rigor in experiment work
  • Good communication skills and ability to work as part of an international team
  • Enthusiasm, willingness to learn, good organizational skills, versatility
  • A valid driver’s license is highly desirable

We offer

  • An opportunity to develop a scientific career in the context of an interdisciplinary project
  • A unique opportunity to learn high-end techniques and approaches
  • The opportunity to build a scientific network in the field of nuclear waste disposal research
  • Excellent educational conditions and competitive remuneration
  • A multi-cultural and stimulating scientific environment

The position starts as soon as possible.

Please send your application including motivation letter, curriculum vitae, grades, and two references as soon as possible but latest until 15th February 2021 in one single PDF file to: [email protected].

For questions please contact: [email protected]

For reference of past research please visit: https://www.epfl.ch/labs/eml/.