ESR15 - Designing new guidance devices to support downstream migrating fish

Host Institution: NOAB - Norconsult AB 

Location: Stockholm (Sweden)

Doctoral degree: PhD in Biology at Karlstad University.

The Doctoral progamme has a duration of 4 years (3 years funded by RIBES project, 1 year by Karlstad University)

Job description: The study focuses on the behaviour of migrating fish encountering turbulence. The objectives are: (1) to study fish behaviour in relation to different flow regimes under controlled conditions; (2) to develop new design criteria for guidance devices to help fish moving past hydropower plants. This ESR represents an application-based approach, encompassing professional practitioners and scientists with established experience in fish management and in the design of hydraulic systems and fish-pass facilities, focusing on innovative engineering and management solutions to allow safe fish passage in regulated rivers. One task of the ESR is to advance understanding of responses to barriers by fish species with diverse locomotory modes, body morphologies, and/or life-history strategies. This also includes assessing solutions that reduce stress during passage. Field and/or laboratory experiments will be carried out to assess downstream passage success and fish behaviour under controlled laboratory conditions and/or at fish pass facilities at hydropower plants in Sweden. This will include evaluating the behaviour of migrating fish encountering turbulence during passage, which will be used to develop new design criteria.

Workplace: Norconsult is Norway´s largest, and one of the leading multidisciplinary consultancy firms in the Nordic region. Within the field of hydropower Norconsult is involved in all aspects of development, and it is frequently contracted as experts of fish passage design, hydraulic modelling, dam safety and feasibility studies. Norconsult works with all the major power companies in Sweden and Norway, which facilitates access to many potential sites for investigations. Part of the research will be carried out at Karlstad University to experimentally test fish behaviour related to different kinds of passage devices, both in the lab and in the field.

Secondment period (to be confirmed): Expected duration: 8 months; Hosting institutions: KAU (Karlstad University - Karlstad, Sweden - 6 months Doctoral training on aquatic ecology and conservation biology to attain the degree), POLITO (Politecnico di Torino - Torino, Italy)

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Candidate requirements:


  • BSc/MSc in Biology / Ecology / Engineering (available by the date of application) - see below specific requirements 

Specific mandatory skills:  

  • Documented experience in ecology
  • Field and/or laboratory experience working with fish ecology and/or behaviour
  • Excellent oral and writing ability in English
  • Driving license

Specific desirable skills: 

  • Good knowledge of statistics, and familiarity with computer programs such as ”R”
  • Experience with modelling
  • Experience with hydraulics
  • Course work or the equivalent in Animal Physiology 

In addition, special emphasis is placed on: Breadth of courses taken; High course grades; Quality and scope of independent research project; Ability to establish good relations with others; Ability to take initiative and show commitment to the ideas of others

Specific requirements of the Doctoral School:

For admission to doctoral studies applicants must meet the requirements of both general and special eligibility (Higher Education Ordinance, Ch. 7 sect. 35). Applicants who have a Master's degree of at least 240 higher education credits, including at least 60 credits at Master level, or who have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad, meet the general eligibility requirements. To be eligible for admission to graduate studies in Biology requires that one has at least 120 credits in Biology, including a 30 credit independent research course.

Mobility rule:

Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Sweden 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): 

Axel Emanuelsson

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Work package