PhD Student

Last application date
Jul 13, 2024 00:00
LA25 - Department of Biotechnology
Limited duration
A Master degree in microbiology, biotechnology, bioscience engineering or equivalent, completed before the start date of the position, with excellent grades.
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

Project “Efficient fermentative isobutyric acid production integrated with advanced adsorptive separation”
Opportunity for a PhD position

Project abstract
Flanders is heavily dependent on imported raw materials, mainly fossil fuels, which has significant economic and environmental implications. Transitioning to a circular and bio-based economy is crucial to improve self-sufficiency and reduce environmental impact. In recent years, there has been a notable shift in waste management practices. The focus has moved from traditional waste disposal to reclaiming and repurposing residual streams into valuable resources and materials. While energy generation from waste has been a priority, there is emerging interest in converting organic waste into chemicals and materials.

The EFFECTIVE project addresses this need. It aims to develop technologies and processes to bridge gaps in the organic waste-to-products value chain. The project includes the development of a fermentation process for the conversion of waste streams to isobutyric acid, and the application of novel technologies for product separation and purification. In addition to experimental advancements, the project evaluates the technical, economic, and circular aspects of the process. It stands at the forefront of scientific research in bio-based chemical production, laying the groundwork for a new generation of processes to convert organic waste into bio-based chemicals.

EFFECTIVE is a collaborative VUB-UGent project. This PhD position will focus on the bioconversion part of the project.
Type of employment

  • PhD candidate researcher: Full-time, fixed-term appointment for initially 1 year, yearly renewable after positive evaluation up to 4 years. Intended starting date: 1st of October 2024 (or earlier if possible).
  • A competitive salary including benefits is offered, salary levels account for years of professional experience.
  • Ghent University is an equal opportunity employer.

Ghent University is a world of its own. Employing more than 15.000 people, it is actively involved in education and research, management and administration, as well as technical and social service provision on a daily basis. It is one of the largest, most exciting employers in the area and offers great career opportunities. With its 11 faculties and more than 85 departments offering state-of-the-art study programmes grounded in research in a wide range of academic fields, Ghent University is a logical choice for its staff and students.
The Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology (CMET) formerly LabMET; is part of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University, a top 100 university in most rankings. CMET has over 40 years of experience in the study of applied microbial processes and microbial ecology in the contexts of waste(water) treatment, bioremediation, bioproduction, bioelectrochemistry and resource recovery. It is one of the top performing centres worldwide in its field and links excellent basic science with application, leading to high level peer-reviewed outputs besides commercial outcomes including 7 spin-off companies over time. Reactor and process developments go from millilitre scale to full scale industrial. Prof. Ramon Ganigué leads a group of 12 PhD students and 4 postdocs, and will be the UGent promotor of this PhD project. CMET is a very multidisciplinary team and has a very international atmosphere.

Job profile

Background and experience

  • Scientific researcher: A Master degree in microbiology, biotechnology, bioscience engineering or equivalent, completed before the start date of the position, with excellent grades.

Scientific knowledge and skills

  • Knowledge of bio-process engineering and microbiology.
  • Hands on experience in (anaerobic) microbial axenic cultivation.
  • Ability to rigorously design experiments and to perform experiments under well-controlled conditions.
  • Ability to work with analytics, such as IC, HPLC & GC, as well as experience with microbial analyses.
  • Ability to rigorously design and perform experiments in a result-oriented and thorough manner.
  • Ability to perform in-depth and critical data analysis.
  • Ability to communicate through high-quality scientific channels, e.g. WoS publications (A1).

Personal knowledge and skills

  • A strong interest in inter/multi-disciplinary applied science.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to work effectively with team members from different backgrounds and in different research areas.
  • Excellent skills for time management and the ability to meet objectives within strictly set deadlines.
  • Good oral and written communication skills in English are strictly required (C1 level).
  • Demonstrated ability to work efficiently.
  • Outcome focused, hands-on mentality.
  • Willingness to travel internationally for project meetings and conferences.
  • Willingness to apply for scholarships to obtain additional funding.

How to apply

Submission and closing date
Applications must be sent via email to as pdf or word documents, with in the subject line mentioning “EFFECTIVE_PhD”. Final closing date is July 13th 2024 (23h59 CET), but applications will be regularly reviewed prior to the deadline, hence, early application is recommended.

Application files
1. Cover Letter. The cover letter should include the position reference, your contact address and telephone number. It is an opportunity -in not more than one page- to introduce yourself and highlight the key reasons you should be considered for the role, taking into account the required skills.
2. Resume or Curriculum Vitae. A resume is a brief history of your employment and experience that covers the following areas:

  • Educational qualifications and professional affiliations that detail the full title of the qualification, the year awarded and the title of the institution attended;
  • Employment history in chronological order, starting with current position and specifying dates of employment, title of each position, name of employer, main duties or accountabilities and achievements;
  • Research fields and current interests, publications (full list as attachment with three most significant marked with an asterisk, also indicating impact factors and Quartiles according to Web of Science), research grants awarded.
  • The names and contact details (address, telephone, e-mail) of three referees, including if possible a senior person (preferably your supervisor, manager or head of organisational unit) closely associated with your current work. A referee must be able to comment on your work experience, skills and performance with respect to the selection criteria.

3. Selection Criteria. A statement addressing how each of the selection criteria has been met is required to assist the Selection Committee determine whether you have the relevant qualifications, knowledge/skills, experience and personal qualities.

Selection process

  • A Selection Committee will consider all applications and shortlist candidates for interview who appear to meet the selection criteria at the highest levels. They will be invited to attend an interview and the remaining unsuccessful applicants will be notified accordingly.
  • An invitation to attend an interview provides an opportunity to provide further information to the Selection Committee to substantiate your claims against the selection criteria or demonstrate your capabilities. Please note that for some positions interviews may be conducted by teleconference in the first instance.
  • The Selection Committee will subsequently seek referee reports, if not sought prior to interview, before making a decision to make an offer of appointment to the preferred candidate. The purpose of referee checks is to obtain, in confidence, factual information about your past work history, as well as opinions regarding the quality of your work, behaviour in the work place and suitability for the position. Referee reports may be sought orally, or for academic staff, in writing by post or e-mail.
  • If you are the preferred candidate, you will receive a written offer of appointment to the position. Do not take any action, such as resigning from your current position, before you receive a written offer of appointment.

More information regarding this position
Please contact CMET recruitment: