Ref PAR 2022/1702
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Subject areas: marine biological sciences, bioengineering, mechatronics, energy systems engineering, automation and control engineering, electromechanical engineering, hydraulic engineering, computer science, programming, systems design
Controlled environment aquatic (CEA) food production systems can provide resilient farm-to-table supplies of nutritious food under diverse climatic conditions. An example of CEA are recirculating aquaculture systems that incorporate fish production with greenhouse hydroponic systems for vegetable production in a system known as aquaponics. Aquaponic systems integrate hydroponics and aquaculture with microbial biofilters to recover nutrients and energy, reduce wastes, and conserve water. Such systems are climate-controlled and thus can also make use of renewable energy sources – wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
This position is part of an EU-funded project to improve productivity of CEA systems with precision farming tools. Sensors that monitor critical CEA physicochemical variables are commercially available, but decision support systems (DSS) need to be developed and provide operators with timely feedback to maintain balanced system functionality. DSS should facilitate efficient production and be simple enough to understand and troubleshoot by farmers without extensive training or experience. Outputs need to augment operators’ knowledge and insights about optimizing conditions while contributing to savings in resources, time and labour.
In this project, industry and academic partners will (or are working) work closely to make improvements in CEA designs using sensors that collect data for parameters such as pH, turbidity, temperature, oxygen-carbon dioxide concentrations. Sensor outputs need to be integrated with programmable automation controllers that adjust parameters such as flow rates and nutrient dosing. The use of machine learning and the ability to couple CEA systems with a digital twin for continuous and simultaneous sensor monitoring would make it possible to model and establish favourable environmental parameters. This would enable system operators to recognize differences between optimal and suboptimal conditions and develop reliable protocols that provide better insights for troubleshooting system perturbations and maintain balanced conditions. Visual cues and personal trial-and-error experience are unreliable in making adjustments to the system, and often not timely enough to optimise outputs.
Given the latitude in this project to adjust objectives to a candidate’s skills and interests, we are seeking candidates who are motivated to work with industry and academic partners on innovative CEA automated designs that conserve water, energy and nutrients and meet regional and national resource sustainability goals.
Although based at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, the successful candidate will be responsible for running applied experiments in several international CEA facilities. This requires flexibility for longer stays at collaborating institutions, as well as international travel to participate in meetings, working groups, conferences and visits with industry partners. In addition to travel, the work involves communicating with a multidisciplinary team of aquaculture researchers, engineers and data scientists in several international research groups. Therefore it is essential to have demonstrated team skills and proficiencies in both verbal and written English.
While the exact start date for the position is negotiable, a start date before June 1, 2023 is desirable. The position comes with a competitive salary plus coverage from Swedish national health and business travel insurance as well as a full spectrum of vacation and travel benefits.
Candidates require doctoral degrees in fields such as bioengineering, mechatronics, energy systems engineering, automation and control engineering, electro-mechanical engineering, hydraulic engineering, and related disciplines. Knowledge of and demonstrated experience with integrated circuit designs for micro-electro-mechanical systems and programmable automation controllers will be important.
It is not a requirement to have prior experience with freshwater or marine aquaculture, hydroponic crop production or aquaponics but such experience would be advantageous. Please note clearly if you have any background in technical operation of aquarium, aquaculture tanks or multiphase bioreactors, as well as experience in hydroponic, plant nutrition or irrigation systems. The successful candidates must have excellent English verbal and written communication skills. In addition to exemplary teamwork and communication skills, the position will involve project planning and coordination (experimental design, purchasing, logistics), thus requiring demonstrated independence in that regard.
Submission must occur via the online application portal and include:
- A CV and cover letter that describes how the applicant meets the selection criteria
- Evidence of strong academic writing skills (include full text of first-author peer-reviewed manuscripts, any reports or project/grant proposals written, and a copy of the PhD dissertation)
- Name and contact details of three referees attached in a file entitled References ‘your name’.pdf
If the following items are not evident on the CV, please state clearly in the cover letter (a) your willingness to travel internationally for research periods in collaborating labs (b) evidence of teamwork (c) competence with specific statistical software.
Type of employment: Fixed-term 2 year postdoctoral employment with possibility for renewal
Location: Department of Marine Sciences, Gothenburg, Sweden
Closing date: January 31, 2023
First day of employment: Negotiable, but preferably prior to June 1, 2023
Contact information for the post
If you have any questions about the position, please contact reasearcher email@example.com
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Applications must be received by: 2023-01-31
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