From waste to resource: Training young researchers on developing innovative, circular solutions for wastewater treatment sludge - INCLUE

DC8: Socio-economic and policy-driven evaluation of innovative sludge treatment techniques

Project title: Socio-economic and policy-driven evaluation of innovative sludge treatment techniques (WP3)

Host Institution: KU Leuven

Country: Belgium

Supervisor: Raf Dewil (PhD promoter); Co-supervisors: Isabel Capela (UAveiro), Nadine Boelée (Nijhuis)

Objectives: To gather and interconnect the results obtained by DCs 1-10. This will allow to comprehend and map the implications that the developed technologies and improved properties of the investigated sludges will have on policies and decision-making within the EU member states and the EU as a whole, thereby reinforcing our green transition.

DC8 will quantify the economic impact that the technology and process implementation at wastewater treatment plants and industrial sites will have, with a calculation of associated capital expenditure (CAPEX), operating expenditure (OPEX), and return on investment (RoI) to accelerate their adoption by the industry. DC8 will investigate the influence of wide-spread implementation on existing legislation concerning the effective use of sludge, such as the EU Sewage Sludge Directive, currently under review, which regulates the utilization of sewage sludge to prevent negative effects on soil, vegetation, animals, and people. Apart from the technical, environmental and policy considerations, DC8 will examine the social acceptance of the developed sludge treatment techniques as a third crucial aspect for the long-term viability and effectiveness of these techniques, considering public perception, stakeholder engagement, and community acceptance.

Expected Results: Thorough understanding of the socio-economic and regulatory consequences and opportunities of wide-spread technology implementation.

Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s): KU LEUVEN Arenberg Doctoral School of Science, Engineering and Technology (BE)

Planned secondments:

  • Nijhuis (Sup.:  N. Boelee): M18-21: Training on full-scale industrial sludge treatment, including cost assessment.
  • University of Glasgow (Sup.:  W. Peveler): Insights in biosensor development and toxicity screening via chemical sensing arrays.

Candidate requirements:
  • You hold a master’s degree in policy and management, environmental sciences or a related field and you thrive in a multidisciplinary research environment.
  • You have a solid knowledge of LCA, economics and (EU) policy and decision-making.
  • You are ambitious, well organized and have excellent communication skills.
  • You speak and write fluent English and have the ability to work effectively and collaboratively.
  • You are an enthusiastic and motivated person, ready to participate in personal training, international travel and public awareness activities.
  • You have demonstrated your commitment to high quality research.