PhD scholarship in ecotoxicological effects of chemicals used in offshore wind turbines - DTU Sustain

DTU Innovation

DTU Innovation

Other Engineering
Lyngby, Denmark
Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2024


Do you want to make a positive impact on marine biodiversity and the green transition? Then our latest PhD scholarship may be something for you. At the Department of Environmental and Resource Engineering (DTU Sustain) we offer a scholarship to study ecotoxicological effects of chemicals used in offshore wind turbines utilizing marine organisms of regulatory and commercial relevance. The specific focus of the advertised scholarship is on completing a series of ecotoxicological tests on marine organisms covering multiple trophic levels (algae, crustaceans, fish embryos) for a range of chemicals utilized in the operation and maintenance of offshore wind turbines. The lower trophic levels will be completed follow existing standards e.g. ISO to ensure regulatory relevance and acceptability. Additionally, sensitive sub-chronic/chronic endpoints on embryos of commercially relevant test species (Atlantic haddock) will be carried out. Due to the hydrophobic nature of the chemicals exposure quantification and characterization will be key. Prior experience with cultivation and carrying out ecotoxicological test on marine organisms is preferred. The data generated in this PhD study will support assessment of the overall environmental impact of offshore wind turbines.

The work will furthermore include identifying substances of concern to facilitate risk management and decision-making. The research is primarily focused on ecotoxicology, but also combines elements of engineering, chemical risk assessment and regulatory guidance. Multidisciplinarity and transparency is pivotal for implementation of the green transition in relation to the overarching goal of assessing the Safe-and Sustainability by Design (SSbD) of existing and emerging technologies.

The scholarship is a 3-year position and is funded by The Velux Foundation, under the call “Combating Marine Pollution” granted to the project “Oil Emissions from Offshore Windfarms – Impacts on Marine Biodiversity”. The project seeks to provide a scientific foundation to assess the environmental impact of an expanding offshore wind industry. The PhD-student will work within the work package on Marine ecotoxicity of formulated products before and after use, and Impact of oil discharges from wind turbines on marine biodiversity lead by DTU Sustain. During the 3-year period the candidate is required to have periodic stays at Austevoll Research Station outside of Bergen (Norway), to conduct test on fish embryo.

Responsibilities and qualifications
The PhD-student will be situated within the section of Environmental Contamination & Chemicals at DTU Sustain and will be part of a team working on ecotoxicology, regulation and risk assessment of emerging risks and pollutants. The PhD-student will work in collaboration with scientists from all around Europe. The exact design of the PhD project will be decided in collaboration with the main supervisor, senior researcher Lars Michael Skjolding (DTU Sustain, Denmark) and co-supervisor, senior researcher Elin Sørhus (Institute for Marine Research, Norway).

The position will also include teaching in bachelor and/ or master level courses, supervising student projects or performing other departmental duties.

The PhD student will be responsible for:

  • Performing a state-of-the-art analysis of existing data and information of chemicals used for offshore wind turbines.
  • Completing a range of ecotoxicological tests on products relevant to offshore wind turbines.
  • Characterize and quantify exposure regimes of difficult to disperse offshore wind products.
  • Assist in the evaluation of the environmental impact of offshore wind turbines in a SSbD context.
  • Teach within the area of chemical in the environment
  • Publication of innovative research findings and results in the scientific literature and presentations at international conference/meetings in English
  • Active collaboration with other research sections/groups at DTU Sustain and other departments at DTU as well as at other partners within the project “Oil Emissions from Offshore Windfarms – Impacts on Marine Biodiversity“.

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.

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 programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see DTU's rules for the PhD education.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We 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.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Senior Researcher Lars Michael Skjolding (

You can read more about DTU Sustain at

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 our 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 1 August 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
  • A maximum 2 pages review of the environmental impact of offshore wind turbines and existing regulation and their pros and cons.

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 irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Sustain
DTU Sustain is one of the largest university departments specializing in environmental engineering in Europe. The department conducts research and development, and provides educational programs and service to society in the area of engineering of water in natural, urban and industrial contexts, processing and recovery of residual resources, environmental risk assessment and chemical risk reduction. The aim is to develop new environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies, and to disseminate this knowledge to society and a new generation of engineers. The Department has approximately 185 staff from more than 30 nationalities.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear mission to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That mission lives on today. DTU has 13,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.