PhD Opportunity in Water Analysis by Next-Generation Microfluidic Lab-on-a-Chip Technologies Joined supervisors: Prof. Fiona Regan (Water Institute @ DCU) and Prof. Jens Ducrée (FPC@DCU)

Water represents a key resource of our lives and its quality has major impact on our health, environment and economies. The water we access through infrastructures or natures typically contain a wide range of molecules and bioparticles which may offer benefits or serious risks.

While our exposure to water is often immediate, i.e. we drink from a tap or dive into the water of a beautiful beach, analysis – if carried out at all – typically occurs with a significant delay linked to sample taking and the logistics to bring it to a centralised facility where expert staff is needed to perform the test; this might be too late.

In a joined initiative by DCU’s Water Institute and FPC@DCU – Ireland’s first Fraunhofer Project Centre for Embedded Bioanalytical Systems – this PhD project aims to extend the options of citizens and other, possibly commercial end users to comprehensively assess water quality. The project will develop a several test formats for identifying potentially hazardous molecules and pathogens that can be carried out “at-tap” or on-site in a highly automated and thus very user-friendly manner on a miniaturized and cost-efficient microfluidic “Lab-on-a-Chip” system.

An eventual technical goal will be to integrate panels of relevant test multi-step / multi-reagent test format on a single system to allow decentralised, multi-parameter screening of water samples by non-expert users. Prospectively, such powerful point-of-use sensors might also constitute a critical element towards building dense sensor networks feeding the Internet of Things and their exploitation for novel applications, e.g. in the context of big-data and artificial intelligence.

We are seeking an enthusiastic candidate with a BEng or BSc. in Engineering, Analytical Science, Physics or equivalent and a keen interest in environmental monitoring to work as part of a multidisciplinary team on this ambitious project.



Interested applicants should submit a Curriculum Vitae with cover letter explaining why you think you would be the best candidate for this research position. Applications should be sent to by June 30th 2019 and will jointly be evaluated by the two co-supervisors.


Informal queries:

Prof. Fiona Regan (, DCU Water Institute

Prof. Jens Ducrée (, FPC@DCU


Stipend:              €16,000 per annum, tax free, plus university fees

Closing date:     June 30th 2019, or until position is filled.


The candidates will need to check their formal eligibility according to the DCU guidelines.

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