Funded PhD positions in water treatment and desalination

Job Type
Job Rank
Graduate student
Job Institution
Colorado State University
Job Description

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at Colorado State University (CSU) is currently seeking 2 graduate research assistants (Ph.D. students are preferred, although M.S. students are considered) to start in Spring 2023 or Fall 2023. The students will conduct NSF-funded research to (1) design and develop sustainable biomimetic membranes for membrane distillation, and (2) explore the mechanisms and develop mitigation strategies associated with mineral scaling in reverse osmosis. The students are expected to perform interdisciplinary research at the interface of membrane science, polymer science, surface science, mineralogy, and/or environmental chemistry, in order to improve the efficiencies of membrane desalination and wastewater treatment. Students who are interested in performing cutting-edge studies in these exciting areas are encouraged to contact Dr. Tiezheng Tong by visiting or sending an email to for more information.

The ideal candidates are expected to have a B.S. degree (M.S. degree preferred) in environmental engineering, chemistry, materials science, geology, or closely related fields. Previous research experiences on membrane materials and processes (e.g., reverse osmosis and membrane distillation), surface science (e.g., surface wettability), polymers (e.g., polymer synthesis and characterization), mineral formation, and/or molecular simulations will be favorable. In addition, excellent writing and verbal communication skills will be highly valued in the application review process.

Perspective students are encouraged to send the following materials in a single PDF directly to Dr. Tiezheng Tong ( a cover letter stating your research interests and career goals, your C.V. or resume, names and contact information of at least two references, and a copy of representative peer-reviewed publications (if applicable). The successful candidates will receive full funding support including tuition, a competitive stipend, and benefits. The CEE Department of CSU accepts graduation applications along the year.

CSU campus is located in Fort Collins, Colorado, a vibrant community near both the Rocky Mountain National Park and the city of Denver, which is routinely recognized among the most desirable places to live in the U.S. Fort Collins enjoys approximately 300 sunny days a year and offers a variety of exciting recreational and cultural activities. For more information regarding to the application process and basic requirement at CSU, please visit

PI Bio: Dr. Tiezheng Tong joined Colorado State University (CSU) in 2017 after completing a postdoc position in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale University. He received his Ph.D. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University. Prior to his Ph.D. study, he graduated from Beijing Normal University (with the highest honor) and Tsinghua University with B.S. and M.S. degrees, respectively, both of which are in environmental engineering. He is the leading author or co-author of >60 peer-reviewed journal articles, which have been published on high-profile journals such as Nature Communications, Environmental Science & Technology and Energy & Environmental Science. His work has been cited by >3,500 times globally with an H-index of 30. He is also the recipient of several academic and professional awards, including the prestigious CAREER Award from National Science Foundation (NSF), the Young Membrane Scientist Award from North American Membrane Society (NAMS), Environmental Chemistry Graduate Student Award from American Chemistry Society (ACS), as well as a student award from Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization (SNO). His current research interests include (1) achieving energy-efficient treatment of hypersaline brines for circular water economy, (2) elucidating fundamental phenomenon at the water-membrane interface; and (3) applying data-driven approaches to promote water sustainability.