PhD position on the fate of PFAS in soil and groundwater

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a growing concern for water quality due to their widespread occurrence and high persistence. PFAS consist of a broad range of compounds that are partly degraded to smaller highly fluorinated compounds that can leach to groundwater. However, there is limited information on transformation processes in deeper soil layers and groundwater, making it difficult to predict the environmental fate of PFAS. In the PhD project, this lack of knowledge is addressed by combining laboratory and field methods. In the laboratory, a new laboratory lysimeter approach is employed to investigate PFAS transformation and leaching across the vadose zone. The potential for PFAS transformation in groundwater and its implications for the mobility of compounds will be investigated at the field scale.

The PhD position is based at the Centre for Hydrogeology and Geothermics of the University of Neuchâtel (CHYN). The CHYN provides a stimulating research environment with about 50 collaborators working on a wide range of topics in hydrogeology and geothermics. The candidate will benefit from a comprehensive pool of field and laboratory equipment, receive support from field and laboratory technical staff, and have access to advanced analytical equipment at the Neuchâtel Platform of Analytical Chemistry (NPAC).

Required qualifications

The project is ideally suited for candidates that have a keen interest to combine field and laboratory research with advanced analytical methods. The successful candidate is expected to have a MSc in environmental science/engineering, hydrogeology or related fields. Fluency and excellent writing skills in English is required.


Beginning 1.9.2022 or upon agreement for a period 4 years.

Additional information and application

Additional information about the position can be obtained from Prof. D. Hunkeler ( Applications should include a concise statement describing your motivation to do a PhD and work on this project, copies of your academic qualifications and names of two referees. The application should be submitted as one single PDF file to with the keyword "PFAS" as topic until August 15th.

posted: 18 July 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.