Global sanitation, onsite wastewater treatment, and water reuse

Saturday, January 22, 2022
Job Type: 
Job Rank: 
Post Doctoral Researcher
Job Institution: 
University of South Florida
Job Description: 

Job Description: 

The Membrane Biotechnology Lab (Civil & Environmental Engineering) at the University of South Florida is seeking one highly-motivated postdocs to work on a global sanitation and water reuse project.  The candidate will assist in the development of transformative technologies for non-sewered sanitation, in particular, a self-sustained, packaged, water recycling platform based on the anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR), which was a recipient of the 2020 USPTO Patents for Humanity Award. The position is available immediately. 

Duties and responsibilities:  The post-doctoral researcher will work closely with Dr. Daniel Yeh and team members on process R&D for components/sub-systems (lab) and engineering field testing (Florida, South Africa and India).  It is anticipated that the position will be filled by an appropriate candidate possessing skills in one or more of the following areas:

1) Water quality and reuse – experience with downstream processes (advanced oxidation, catalysis, sorption, sorption-precipitation, electrochlorination, electrocoagulation or other electrochemical processes) for water/wastewater disinfection and polishing;

2) Membrane technology – experience with membrane performance evaluation, characterization, fouling/autopsy studies;

3) Biological processes – experience with anaerobic, phototrophic, bioelectrical, biofiltration, BNR bioreactors, membrane bioreactors, in particular pilot systems and process modeling;

4) Nutrient management – experience with nutrient recovery/removal with ion exchange, precipitation, sorption, conversion to fertilizer, convergence with horticulture;

5) Automation and instrumentation - experience in the areas of pilot system design/fabrication/operation, system controls and automation, sensor networks and DAQ.

The postdoc may also have the opportunity to be engaged with other ongoing wastewater resource recovery projects, including a next-gen water system for extra-planetary application. 

Expectations:  Candidate must have a can-do tenacious attitude to “get hands dirty,” a spirit of innovation and sense of adventure, demonstrated resourcefulness, and willingness to pursue high risk/high reward research that is unconventional with elements of uncertainty. The candidate is outcome-driven and able to operate away from traditional prescribed paths.  The candidate embraces uncertainty as a challenge, failure as an opportunity, and knows how to navigate around obstacles. The successful candidate must be willing to work as a leader and team player in a complex project with multiple international partners, tight deadlines and workflow with short lead time not unlike a startup. The ability to identify critical paths and work decisively with quick turn-around is a must.  As is typical in a postdoc position, the candidate is expected to work independently with some degree of autonomy, yet keep the PI well informed of progress via frequent updates and close communication. The candidate is also expected to work in a laboratory manager capacity.

Qualifications: The applicant should: 1) have completed by the start date all requirements for a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Engineering (or a related discipline); 2) demonstrate the ability to design, fabricate, operate, sample and analyze data from bench and/or pilot-scale reactors; 3) be able to troubleshoot analytical instrumentation and develop new methods; 4) be willing and able to conduct field work (including bioreactor deployment, troubleshooting and sampling) in challenging outdoor environments (i.e., sanitation facilities in (sub)tropical environments); 5) have the ability to serve as a mentor for undergraduate and graduate students in and out of the lab; 6) have a sound publication record; 7) be willing to assist the PI with proposal/report writing, publishing, and teaching, as well as administrative and project management duties.

About USF:  The University of South Florida (www.usf.edu) is a high-impact, preeminent research university dedicated to student success. USF is the fastest-rising university in America, according to U.S. News and World Report. USF is the founder and home of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and has ranked in the Top 15 worldwide among all universities for U.S. patents granted for the past five years.  Serving more than 49,000 students, the USF System has an annual economic impact of $6 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletics Conference (AAC). The University of South Florida’s Tampa campus is located in the vibrant Tampa Bay region known for a variety of cultural and recreational activities that provide an outstanding quality of life.

Salary and Benefits:  Salary is based on qualification.  The initial appointment is for one year but may be extended depending on satisfactory performance and funding availability.  Health insurance benefits will be offered through the USF Post-Doctoral Scholar Health Insurance Program. 

How to Apply: Applicants must provide a cover letter detailing how their interest and skills match with the above description, CV, statement of career intent, and names and contact information for 3 professional references.  Application materials may be submitted to Dr. Daniel Yeh (dhyeh@usf.edu).   Applications will be reviewed immediately and continue until the position is filled with excellent candidates.