Umeå University (UmU)

Postdoctoral fellow (2 years) in the production of new fertilizers using recycled phosphorus

Umeå University (UmU)

Umeå, Sweden

The Department of Applied Physics and Electronics has about 90 employees and conducts strong research and education in a number of complementary areas. Research is conducted within, among other things, control and control technology, robotics, embedded systems, autonomous systems, thermal energy conversion, and energy efficiency. Within the research environment Thermochemical Energy Conversion Laboratory (TEC-Lab), research is mainly carried out on thermochemical processes that enable the transition to renewable energy and a sustainable society. The overall goal of the research is to provide new knowledge that is useful to society and industry to increase the use of new fuels and materials, develop and improve industrial processes, avoid costly operational problems, reuse finite resources and minimize harmful by-products and emissions.

The research environment TEC-lab is now looking for a postdoctoral fellow who wants to participate in developing a fertilizer for the future with a focus on phosphorus recovery from thermochemical processes in a 2-year projects financed by the Kempe Foundation. The interdisciplinary project is carried out together with researchers from Umeå University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and in close collaboration with Arevo AB.

Project description

It is well known that nitrogen fertilization promotes forest growth, but despite large amounts being supplied, only a small part will be taken up by the plants. Instead, it has been discovered that plants primarily take up nutrients from the soil in the form of amino acids. One of these is L-arginine, which proved effective in promoting the root development of plants. Arginine phosphate is a completely new type of long-acting fertilizer, that has shown good effect on plant growth even in small amounts.

Within the project, you will participate in the development and understanding of the process of crystallizing arginine phosphate and exploring the possibilities of using residual flows from thermochemical conversion of biomass during crystallization. The project also includes chemical characterization of the crystallized arginine phosphate, in part by X-ray analytical techniques, and through plant experiments where the crystals are applied as fertilizers in nurseries.

The research will be conducted in both laboratory and pilot scale. In laboratory scale you will participate in the development of basic data on the crystallization process and investigate material interaction between certain residual currents and arginine. This will later be tested in a pilot scale with aim to give rise to new fertilizers which should be compared with conventional fertilizers in greenhouse cultivation.

The fellowship is a two-year stipend financed by the Kempe Foundation. The sum of the tax-free stipend is 288 000 SEK per year. Starting date is August 1st 2019 or by agreement.


You should have a PhD degree, or a foreign degree that is deemed equivalent to a PhD in relevant subject areas such as inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, or chemical engineering. The doctoral degree must be completed no more than three years before the application deadline unless special reasons exist.

We seek someone who has a strong personal interest in sustainable development and renewable energy. You are curious, creative, can work in a group and like to take your own initiatives. Since the project involves the handling of chemicals and experiments in pilot scale, it is important that you have a high safety awareness. Good skills in English (oral and written) are a requirement.

It is meritorious if you have experimental experience of crystallization and analysis experience of relevant analytical methods (such as powder X-ray diffraction, synchrotron-based methods, and/or SEM-EDS). Experience of industrial collaboration projects and good communication skills in Swedish is also meritorious.


Your application must include the following:

1. A cover letter with a brief description of your qualifications, research interests and motivation for the application and your contact information (max. 2 pages)

2. Curriculum vitae with full publication list.

3. Supported copy of doctoral degree certificate and other relevant degree and course certificates including grades. A list of university courses with grades. Note that for international applicants, the grading system must be explained briefly.

4. A copy of the doctoral thesis and relevant publications (max 5).

5. Contact information for two academic reference persons.

6. Other relevant documents you wish to claim.

Your complete application, written in Swedish or English and marked with reference number FS 2.1.6-1182-19, must be submitted as a pdf-document to (state the reference number as subject) before July 13, 2019.


For more information, please contact Nils Skoglund, tel: +46 90 786 68 01 email:


We are looking forward to receiving your application!


Apply with CV and Cover Letter

Must be a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file and no larger than 1MBMust be a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file and no larger than 1MB

Postdoctoral fellow (2 years) in the production of new fertilizers using recycled phosphorus