• Job location:  ICRA – Catalan Institute for Water Research, Girona, Spain
  • Number of positions available: 1
  • Expected start: September 2020
  • Temporal position. The position is for 36 months (approximately)
  • Gross Annual Salary package: 16.127,59 €



  • Research Area at ICRA: Technologies and evaluation (TiA)
  • Project: Impact of emerging pollutants on in hydroponic systems/nature-based solutions with a duration of 3 years (2020-2023).

Nature-based solutions (NBS) may help in protect and restoring natural, modified and urban ecosystems and addressing at the same time the societal challenges and providing benefits. NBS (including hydroponic systems), in fact, can efficiently purify several water sources for various purposes, including food production in cities, in a more sustainable way. Decentralized treatments and source separation (e.g. wastewater and greywater) may be helpful.

Organic micropollutants have risen environmental concern due to their continuous presence and introduction, and toxicity, at times even at low concentrations in wastewater or greywater. Microplastics, additionally, are recognized as an emerging environment and human health risk. Besides, fundamental research on these topics and greywater is lacking.

The project will evaluate one or more of the following topics or similar ones:

- the impact of emerging pollutants on plant physiology and/or metabolomics in hydroponic systems (edible/non-edible plants)

- how hydroponic systems treatment capabilities can be affected and, thus, how optimize their removal;

- food safety of edible plants production with reclaimed (grey)water.



  • The researcher will be integrated in a multidisciplinary research team working on NBS for water treatment.
  • The researcher will conduct experiments with greywater hydroponic systems in the context of circular economy in the laboratories of ICRA and/or in the DEMO site (Lloret de Mar).
  • The tasks of the project involve:
    • Literature studies on nature-based solutions, plant physiology, greywater, organic micropollutants and/or microplastics in water reuse/circular economy systems, in order to evaluate research gaps.
    • Running, control and monitoring of hydroponic pilot/bench scale systems for greywater treatment and nutrient recovery.
    • Pre-treatments of samples, collection and evaluation of results in terms of standard parameters and emerging pollutants in water and plants (possibly also chromatography-mass spectrometry quantification).
    • When needed, collaborate with other on-going projects in the group on NBS for sanitation.
    • Writing scientific reports and scientific papers.
  • As with all technicians, PhD students and postdoctoral fellows a small proportion of the time will be allocated to communal services such as joint laboratory maintenance, but also team-building activities.



Must Have – Required

  • Experience: Bachelor degree (preferably Master) in Biology, Plant Physiology, Plant Sciences, Agronomy, Environmental Science, Biotechnology, Environmental Engineering, Chemistry or similar.


  • Knowledge: The researcher must be proficient in oral and written English; knowledge of the Spanish and Catalan languages is also positively evaluated.


  • Skills: Any of the following past research experiences will be judged favourably in the selection process:
    • experience with plant physiology (edible or nor edible plants)
    • activities, knowledge/experience of wastewater treatment technologies (in particular wetlands),
    • experience in laboratory and/or in sampling campaigns
    • previous experience in water quality analyses and organic micropollutants is positively evaluated,
    • experience in conference and scientific publications is positively evaluated,
    • ability to work independently and as a member of a team; she/he must be creative, flexible, and eager to learn and to expand his /her scientific network.
    • driving licence will be positively evaluated



Working conditions: Employed in compliance with Spanish legislation and regulations. Employees receive the benefits of the Spanish Social Security system covering sickness, maternity/paternity leaves and injuries at work.

International Environment: The opportunity to join a prestigious international research institution and become a member of a young and growing research group.

Continuous training in a high-quality environment.



  • Documentation Submitted:
    • Photocopy of the titles of their studies
    • Curriculum Vitae and letter of interest for the position
    • A minimum of 1 recommendation letter
  • Aplications and Deadline/Deadline for applications:

Send the required documents to call@icra.cat indicating ref. “PreDoc_TIA” in the subject of the email.

The deadline to submit the required documentation is 21st August 2020.

Selection process:

  • Pre-selection: will be based on CV, experience, skills and motivation letter.
  • Interviews: Short-listed candidates will be interviewed.
  • Offered Position: Job Offer will be sent to the successful candidate after the interview.


In ICRA we are committed to maintaining and developing a work environment in which the values and principles of our organization are respected and equal opportunities between women and men be promoted in each of the areas in which we operate, not tolerating discrimination based on criteria such age, sex, marital status, race, ethnicity, disabilities, political leanings or sexual orientation. 

Recruitment will be carried out as provided for in Article 15 of Royal Legislative Decree 1/1995 of 24 March passing the text of the Workers' Statute Act, in accordance with the provisions of Article  2 of Royal Decree 2720/98 of 18 December (B.O.E. 8 January 1999), Act nº 12/2001 of July 9 (B.O.E. 10 July) and concordant regulations.

The principle of equality between men and women is taken into account, in accordance with Article 14 of the Spanish Constitution, the EU Directive of 9 February 1976 and the provisions of the Agreement of the Council of Ministers of March 4, 2005, passing the Plan for gender equality in the General State Administration.

Universal accessibility for persons with disabilities is taken into account, in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 1 of Act nº 51/2003 of 2 December on equal opportunities, and 5% of vacancies are reserved provided the candidates pass the selection processes and are able to accredit disability and compatibility in performing the tasks so that we will progressively reach 2% of the total workforce.

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