2020-07-Offer for a Thesis Allowance - Subject: Development of a preconcentration system for emerging contaminant detection based on an electrochemical biosensor

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Offer for a Thesis AllowanceSubject: Development of a preconcentration system for emerging contaminant detection based on an electrochemical biosensor

Thesis abstract

This thesis is part of a global project untitled CAPTAIN AD HOC, whose objective is to develop an analytical strategy to detect, in situ and in real time, emerging pollutants frequently found in aquatic environments, such as pesticide or drug residues.
Due to the concentration levels of emerging pollutants and the complex nature of the matrices in which they are found, direct analysis is often impossible without pre-­treatment of the sample prior to analysis. This provides an extract enriched in compounds of interest but also minimizes the presence of matrix-­related interferences during detection. While sensors modified by recognition molecules have shown very good abilities to detect their target in a specific way, the analytical performances presented in the literature are often less than the performances required for an environmental application.

Preconcentration such as the one envisaged in this project to be usable/compatible with electrochemical detection must be easily automated to provide high frequency or even continuous analysis. It must be able to be deployed off-­line or on-­line on site. It is envisaged in two stages:

  • A step of trapping the molecules of interest by surface mechanisms such as sorption on a specific material of the molecule or a family of molecules according to some of its physico-­chemical characteristics.
  • A desorption or elution step via a solution whose properties (polarity, ionic strength) are compatible with electrochemical detection without diluting the analyte and while preserving its integrity.

Any other preconcentration process compatible with electrochemical detection may also be considered. Whatever the process, the integrity of the analyses will also be a key consideration.


Keywords: preconcentration, emerging contaminants, aquatic environment, electrochemical detection


Working conditions

Hosting laboratory: The Institute of Analytical Sciences and Physico-Chemistry for Environment and Materials (IPREM) is a Joint Research Unit CNRS / UPPA (UMR 5254).

Laboratory expertise: The Institute of Analytical Sciences and Physical Chemistry for the Environment and Materials (IPREM) is a mixed research unit of the National Research Center for Science (CNRS) and of the UPPA (UMR 5254). Research activities focus on the development of fundamental knowledge in physical chemistry, analytical chemistry and microbiology, in relation to applications concerning the structure of living matter, environmental monitoring and the functional properties of different classes of materials. Analytical strategies, modelling, physicochemical approaches, fine studies of structures and reactivity, development, characterization and implementation at different length scales are the major skills available in the institute, which enable an original positioning in several fields of application and in various industrial sectors at both national and international levels.

Localisation: Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour ; Technopole Helioparc, 2 av. Président P. Angot, 64000, Pau, France

Contacts: Corinne Parat (corinne.parat@univ-­pau.fr) & Isabelle Le Hécho (isabelle.lehecho@univ-pau.fr)

Starting date: October 2020

Length: 3 years

Employer: UPPA, doctoral school ED 211 Doctoral School of Exact Sciences and their Applications

Gross monthly salary: 1878 €, including 32h of teaching activities, each year (UPPA doctoral contract, according to E2S UPPA project)


Required skills and competences - Who can apply ?

The ideal candidate has a master degree in analyticalchemistry. He/she is passionate for identifying solutions to environment related concerns and for multidisciplinary research. The candidate is rigorous and highly motivated. The candidate must have a good English level and the capacity to work autonomously.


Application - Evaluation criteria

Selection process step:

  • Establishment of the selection comittee
  • Evaluation of the applicants files
  • Interview with the selected candidates and ranking

Application files will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Candidate's motivation, scientific maturity and curiosity
  • Candidate's basic knowledge and experimental skills
  • Academic results : grades and ranking in M1 and M2 ; steadiness in the academic background
  • English language proficiency
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Candidate’s ability to present her/his work and results
  • Professional experience (e.g. Work experience similar to an internship in a laboratory – or likewise, any previously achieved research work, reports, publications ...)

Application file composition

Application must be written in English and sent to the following email address:
corinne.parat@univ-pau.fr  (philippe.carbonniere @ univ-pau.fr)
with the title “Doctoral application”, and the following documents attached (altogether, in a single pdf file):

  • CV (max 2 pages) including the publication list when applicable
  • Cover letter detailing the candidate's motivations (max 2 pages)
  • Copy of your Bachelor and Master diploma (or equivalent) 
  • Copy of your Bachelor and Master transcripts (marks and ranking)
  • Any letter of recommendation
  • Contact details ( Name and e-mail addresses) of 2 referees (including the Master thesis supervisor)


Submission deadline : Until the position is filled