ESR14 - Innovative criteria for enhancing technical solutions for fish passage at hydropower plants

Host Institution: POLITO - Politecnico di Torino

Location: Torino (Italy)

Doctoral degree: PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Politecnico di Torino

Job description: The project will focus on the identification of metrics and threshold values to be used as a reference for designing, by means of CFD tools, improved technical solutions aimed at allowing minimized fish stress during passage across hydropower dams. The current scientific knowledge will be reviewed in order to identify proper hydrodynamics and turbulence metrics/threshold values related to successful fish passage along fishways and to select adequate CFD tools for designing efficient devices using the identified metrics as a reference. Through the cooperation with ESR04 project, the potential use of biomarkers to assess fish stress due to turbulence will be investigated as a potential additional metric for the above purpose. Specific field-based experiments will be designed and carried out in close cooperation with ESR08, thanks to a four-wheel-drive van with a fully equipped moving laboratory (namely MovingLab): specific tests will be carried out directly in the field using an innovative portable flume that allows for optimally controlled conditions while running experiments on small-sized migratory fish species.

Workplace: The candidate will be provided with the office space at POLITO, which includes a personal computer, specialized software, access to the hydraulic laboratory, internet connections and printers. For experimental activities in the field the candidate will use a four-wheel-drive van (namely MovingLab), fully equipped for river-ecological studies, and a portable flume specifically designed for experimental studies on fish.

Secondment period (to be confirmed): Expected duration: 6 months; Hosting institutions: UNIPD (Università degli Studi di Padova - Padova, Italy), NOAB (Norconsult AB - Goteborg, Sweden)

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Candidate requirements:


  • MSc in Civil-Environmental Engineering or other related degrees
  • Applications from candidates not yet graduated by the call deadline (with Diploma foreseen at the latest by the end of July 2020) are accepted

Specific mandatory skills:  

  • Strong background in hydraulics with good programming skills
  • English proficiency and excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Driving license valid for EU countries 

Specific desirable skills: 

  • Experience in field data collection and willingness to carry out field-experimental work 
  • Background in fish and aquatic ecology
  • Experience in hydrodynamic modeling and use of CFD tools

Specific requirements of the Doctoral School:

For the enrollment in the Doctoral school the candidate must present by October 31st, 2020 a valid GRE certificate and IELTS with a minimum score of 5.0 (or an equivalent certificate among those listed at or a declaration that the MSc degree issued by a University in which courses are taught in English, i.e. “The medium of instruction was English”)

Mobility rule:

Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Italy for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

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Contact person(s): 

Claudio Comoglio

Costantino Manes

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Work package