PhD Project Waste Fishing Nets As Reinforcement of Concrete in Arctic Climate

International students are invited for a PhD scholarship in sustainable development at Technical University of Denmark. The funding allows successful candidate to work for 3 years. Potential candidates should apply before December 01, 2018.

DTU Civil Engineering is inviting applications for a 3-year PhD position starting January 2018, jointly funded by EU Northern Periphery and Arctic Program and DTU Civil Engineering. The study is related to characterization and use of waste fishing nets and ropes as reinforcement in concrete focusing geographically on use in remote Arctic regions.

Why this research is needed

Plastic in the marine environment is a globally recognized environmental issue, with far reaching economic, aesthetic, and environmental consequences. One particular troublesome fraction of marine litter is discarded fishing gear. Increasing levels of marine litter is particularly pertinent to the Arctic region, and the EU financed Blue Circular Economy project, under which the PhD project is conducted, focuses on adding value to waste fishing nets and ropes by identifying options for use as secondary resources. It is important to the environment that waste fishing nets are not discarded at sea. However, when the waste fishing nets are brought to land, they are piling up in the landfills. In Greenland for example, different types of waste fishing nets and ropes (nylon, PE and PP) go to landfill. At the same time, Greenland has scarcity in local resources for production of construction materials. On basis of our previous research, a future use for waste fishing nets could be fiber reinforcement of concrete. There are, however, major questions regarding the material characteristics and especially the durability of the waste fishing nets and ropes, which needs to be addressed before such use can be recommended.

Project description

This project focuses on answering these questions by investigating:

(I)The durability of different types of waste fishing nets and especially the degradation rate while stored in landfills under Arctic climate

(II)The variety of major important material characteristics, such as tensile strength and Youngs modulus, for the waste fishing nets of the major types sampled in landfills

(III)How the same characteristics depend on low temperature and relative humidity

(IV)The use of different waste fishing nets reinforcement in concrete with special focus on freeze-thaw resistance

(V)Reuse of the waste fishing net fiber reinforced concrete at the structures end of life


The candidate should have a master’s degree in civil engineering, or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master’s degree. Further desirable qualifications are work experience in an academic context, interest in material science and circular economy. A good command of the English language, both spoken and written, is essential. The candidate is expected to be self-motivated and to publish the project results in international peer-reviewed journals.

Approval and Enrolment

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.


The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor Lisbeth M. Ottosen, Section for Materials and Durability.

We offer

DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms

The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union.

The period of employment is 3 years.


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