PhD Student

Last application date
May 23, 2022 00:00
TW11 - Department of Materials, Textiles and Chemical Engineering
Limited duration
master in engineering, chemical or bioscience engineering on the starting date of the project (September 1st 2022)
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

We welcome applications for a full-time PhD position within the Laboratory of Chemical Technology (LCT) of the Department of Materials, textiles and chemical engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, UGent. The PhD student will be appointed in a fellowship position on the project "TransPharm”.

A short summary of the TransPharm project:
TransPharm is an EU HORIZON 2020 project, coordinated by Ghent University in Belgium, and aims to move towards a sustainable pharmaceutical industry and to improve the European readiness for sustainable production of small molecules (active pharmaceutical ingredients, APIs) that have environmental or supply concerns. To reach the envisaged aims, the project will deliver four toolboxes for the development of greener pharmaceutical products and APIs, with the aim of analysing and predicting flow behaviour and environmental biodegradability and ecotoxicity of APIs and their synthesis pathways; identifying greener and more sustainable alternatives to pharmaceutical products / APIs of concern; reducing the footprint in synthetic schemes of APIs; and assessing the sustainability of pharmaceuticals over their entire life cycle. These toolboxes will be used to assess the potential to move towards the transition to greener pharmaceutical production. In addition, the team will elaborate on business cases for sustainable pharmaceutical products or APIs and what is needed to bring them to the market. The project will also make sure that key project results and knowledge are properly transferred towards targeted stakeholders.
Your tasks will mainly be connected to WP1 which focuses on data gathering and the use of data-driven methods for predicting relevant properties of synthesis in flow. For this task, the development of a centralized database framework to collect and store several molecular and reaction properties of interest will be made. The focus is on the collection and curation of (1) chemical recipes for reactions in flow, (2) solvent properties, and (3) environmental biodegradability used for the design of new pharmaceuticals.
The data will further be used for physics-informed machine learning for molecular and reaction properties. Deep neural networks will be developed for the fast and accurate prediction of chemical properties related to the sustainability of APIs, their synthesis routes, and to aid the selection of new solvents. More specifically, this task focusses on the development of machine learning models for (1) the prediction of chemical recipes in flow, (2) solvent related properties, and (3) environmental biodegradability. Additionally, the neural network will be used to predict a data-driven success-score to assess the potential of the chemical recipe in flow.

Job profile

Candidates are expected to have an engineering background and/or affinity with artificial intelligence. For this project we are looking for someone who is critical, analytical and has a sense of initiative.
Other profile requirements:

  • You hold a master's degree in engineering, chemical or bioscience engineering. The degree requirements must be met at the start of the appointment.
  • You are interested in scientific research in order to obtain a doctoral degree.
  • You have good writing and presentation skills.
  • You have a very good oral and written knowledge of academic English.
  • You live in Belgium or are willing to settle here for the duration of the appointment.
  • You are open to the possibility for a Joint PhD between the EU partners.
  • Additional plus points: You have experience with programming in python, experience in organic chemistry.

How to apply

Please send an email, no later than May 23th 2022, to:
- Prof. Dr. ir. Kevin Van Geem (
The subject of the email should contain the following title: 'Application PhD TransPharm + family name’.
The following documents must be attached: letter of motivation, CV, a copy of the highest degree and a summary of the results of the studies.
Students graduating in June 2022 are also welcome to apply.
Selection procedure:

  • Preselection based on the provided documents
  • Selection based on interviews

Planned starting date doctoral position: September 1st, 2022.
You will be recruited on the basis of competencies. Qualities of people are decisive, regardless of gender, religion, ethnic origin, age, sexual orientation or any disability.

For more information about the content of this position and the TransPharm project, please contact