Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action ITN SUPER-W


The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action “Sustainable Product, Energy and Resource Recovery from Wastewater” (SuPER-W) is a European joint doctorate (EJD) programme that will support the long-term human resource management plan of European water innovators by training 15 PhD students in developing technologies for water, energy, nutrient and metal reuse, and bioproduction from (waste)water. Therefore, it brings together leading researchers from 5 renowned universities and 12 associated non-academic partner organisations, including industrial partners involved in technology development, SMEs focused on consultancy/engineering, a service provider, a government agency, and professional network organisations. The project is coordinated by prof. Gijs Du Laing (Ghent University, Belgium) and will run from March 2016 until February 2020.

SUPER-WThe increase in human activities, whether it is urban, agricultural or mining related, puts increasing pressure on water resources. Not only the consumption of water is ever increasing, the quantity and diversity of polluted water rises as well. Following the well-known needs and benefits, in the past decades tremendous progress has been made in the development of wastewater treatment technology and its implementation both in developed and developing countries. One needs to acknowledge, however, that on a global scale water treatment is expensive and needlessly energy intensive. Contrary to this, components contained in polluted water can also be of significant economic benefit if they would be harvested.
Therefore, early-stage researchers being trained in SuPER-W will obtain the necessary knowledge and skills needed to turn water-related environmental problems into economic opportunities. In addition to technology development through research, the researchers are also trained in translating research into policy, creative problem-solving, identification of bottlenecks for effective implementation of resource recovery technologies, development of business cases and urban/industrial ecosystems, and assessment of sustainability and the role of public perception and policy in innovation. Furthermore, they acquire a set of commercial, entrepreneurial and managerial skills that prepare them as future leaders.
All PhD students are supervised by at least 2 promoters from 2 universities and co-supervised by a researcher from a non-academic partner organisation. Moreover, they conduct an internship in the non-academic sector, contributing to more effective dissemination and exploitation of their research results. Researchers who successfully defend the PhD thesis and finish the doctoral training programme receive a double or joint PhD degree, jointly awarded by the universities of his/her promoters, as well as a joint doctoral training certificate of SuPER-W.


SuPER-W will train young professionals to:

  • optimise existing technologies and develop novel integrated technologies for product, energy and resource recovery from wastewater;
  • identify (potential) bottlenecks in the implementation and exploitation of these technologies;
  • stimulate policy input formulation in this field.

    Role of Ghent University

    Ghent University coordinates the project and professors of Ghent University act as co-promoters for most of the PhD students being trained within the project.



    Prof. Gijs Du Laing
    Department of Applied Analytical and Physical Chemistry
    Phone number: +32 92645995