Open Positions

11 PhD positions (TV-L E13, 4 years) for the PhD Graduate School WERA on the topic "Phosphorus Recovery from Wastewater"

Are you interested in the sustainable use of natural resources and would like to learn the basics for efficient recycling methods as part of a PhD study? Then the PhD Graduate School WERA „Wertstoff Abwasser“ (Valuable Wastewater) is a good place for you. The University of Kaiserslautern-Landau (RPTU) is looking for 11 motivated PhD students as of 01.07.2024 (or earlier).

In WERA, 11 cooperative research projects on the recovery of the important raw material phosphorus (P) from wastewater are being worked on together using novel natural scientific and engineering approaches through to technical implementation. In WERA, various processes, such as the synthesis of tailor-made adsorbers and innovative separation units for phosphorus recovery will be developed, combined in process chains and validated on a wastewater recycling pilot plant. Suitable methods for process analysis and characterization will be extended and the chemical-physical relationships will be studied using molecular and thermodynamic simulations. The research findings of WERA can be transferred to many other fields of the circular economy. 

PhD study in WERA takes 4 years in a close cooperation between PhD students and interdisciplinary professors team. WERA’s study concept includes summer schools, keynote lectures given by internationally renowned scientists, topic-specific courses and interdisciplinary workshops as well as offers for visit of international research institutes. Due to a comprehensive scientific education of WERA you will obtain a highly qualified expertise in the promising fields of resource recovery and environmental technology.

The following PhD topics are available, which are explained in more detail by clicking on the topics (on

In Chemistry:

A1: Synthesis and characterization of mesoporous silica gels for the efficient separation of phosphorus from wastewater
The PhD position for the project A1 has already been filled.

A2: Synthesis of microporous adsorbents for the selective separation of phosphorus from wastewater
The application period for the project A2 is already closed. 

A3: Development of macroporous polymeric adsorber materials for phosphorus removal from wastewater
Supervisor: Prof. Stefan Kubik

B5: Synthesis and characterization of zinc complexes for phosphorus detection in wastewater
The PhD position for the project B5 has already been filled.

In Physics:

B3: 57Fe-Mössbauer-Spectroscopy to understand precipitation reactions in phosphorus recovery from wastewater
Supervisor: Prof. Volker Schünemann

In Process Engineering:

B1: Thermodynamic modeling of the crystallization of phosphorus from wastewater
The PhD position for the project B1 has already been filled. 

B2: Molecular dynamics simulation of adsorption and desorption processes for phosphorus recovery
Supervisor: Jun.-Prof. Simon Stephan

B4: Development of a dynamic extinction method for dispersity and kinetics analysis of precipitation and crystallization processes in phosphorus recovery
Supervisor: Prof. Sergiy Antonyuk

C1: Synthesis of phosphate-specific magnetic particles and their characterization in a magnetic separation
The application period for the project C1 is already closed. 

C2: Experimental investigation and modeling of an adsorption/desorption process for the separation of P from wastewater
The PhD position for the project C2 has already been filled.

In Wastewater Engineering:

D1: Influence of sludge matrix and operating conditions on precipitation and crystallisation processes in phosphorus recovery
Supervisor: Prof. Heidrun Steinmetz


Please send by 31.03.2024 complete application documents:

-  Letter of motivation that prioritizes one or two of the PhD topics of WERA 
-  Curriculum Vitae
-  Copy of your degree certificate (Bachelor, Master or equivalent) with full academic transcripts

directly to the supervisors of PhD topics (contact see You can contact the spokesperson Prof. Sergiy Antonyuk (sergiy.antonyuk[at] for general questions about PhD Graduate School.

Prerequisite for the PhD position is an Master's degree (or equivalent) in engineering, chemistry or physics.

About RPTU Kaiserslautern-Landau: 

The RPTU Kaiserslautern-Landau (RPTU) is the technical university of the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate with over 20,000 students, more than 300 professors and around 160 degree programmes. As a place of top-level international research, it offers excellent working conditions and career opportunities. Those who study, research or work at RPTU experience a welcoming and globally-oriented environment and shape the future.

The PhD Graduate School GRK 2908 is supported financially by the German Research Foundation (DFG) with funds from the German states and the federal government of Germany.