Internships at ERI

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The Environmental Research Institute hosts 3 to 4 placement students or interns a year. Details can be found below of 3 of our current and most recent placement students.


Apolline Cozette

I am an engineering student in Industrial and Environmental Risk Management, at the National Institute of Applied Sciences (Rouen) in France. I have come to the ERI to undertake a 3-month internship to gain new knowledge whilst discovering the Highlands.

I started in June and am working on Phos4You, an EU funded project on the recovery of phosphorus from wastewater. Phosphorus is a limited resource yet is an essential nutrient for plant growth. As contribution to the circular economy, a number of technologies are being developed to recover phosphorus. As part of my study, I will assess which of the technology investments identified within Phos4You, are applicable to waste water treatment in the North of Scotland.


Mirjam Bak

I am an Environmental Science student at HAS University of Applied Sciences (based in the Netherlands) who joined the ERI in April for a four months internship. I worked with Yuan Li on kinetic studies of the removal of

pharmaceuticals by low-cost biosorbents.

Since various studies have showed that even very low concentrations of pharmaceuticals have adverse effects in wildlife, and may end up in our drinking water reservoirs, pharmaceutical pollution in the environment has picked up global attention as an emerging issue.

Current wastewater treatments for the removal of pharmaceuticals are mostly inefficient and/or expensive. Biosorbents could become an inexpensive and eco-friendly alternative to conventional wastewater treatment systems. My study aimed to determine the removal efficiency of pharmaceuticals by low-cost biosorbents.

I am thankful that the ERI gave me the opportunity to develop my knowledge and research skills, and to accomplish one of my personal learning goals Рbeing able to work and live in another country/culture. The Scottish mentality, hospitality (especially at the ERI) and surrounding, beautiful nature have made my time in Thurso a great  experience.


Wouter Konings

My name is Wouter Konings, 27 years young and I study applied biology at the HAS University of Applied Sciences in Den Bosch, the Netherlands. During this year, students of the HAS are being released into the world to find an internship. Whereas most students travelled towards the sun and white beaches with palm trees, I decided I wanted to go the other way – where Scotland was one of my first choices. Up in the far north, the ERI sparked my interest.

I am currently working on a pilot project to find, test and optimize different methods to measure various plant traits of peatland vegetation. Due to the coniferous forest plantations previously planted, and felled in this area, an increase in soil-nutrients on restored peatlands is to be expected. This increase could have an impact on the vegetation growing on peatlands. Although many methods for measuring plant traits are already in existence, most of these are not optimized for the vegetation types commonly found on peatlands (heather, sedges and mosses).