PhD Student

Last application date
Aug 10, 2021 00:00
LA25 - Department of Biotechnology
Limited duration
Master degree in microbiology, environmental engineering, bioscience engineering or equivalent
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

Project “Unravelling anaerobic microbial granulation to enable the next generation of renewable energy and resource recovery”:
Opportunity for a PhD position

The recovery of renewable energy or production of bio-chemicals from waste streams is a key aspect in the bio-based circular economy. Large volumes of wastewater are generated by bio-refineries, which require adequate valorisation. Anaerobic microbial technologies that rely on the ability of micro-organisms to grow in spherical granules have been used for decades to treat such waste streams, yet, the main mechanisms that underline anaerobic granulation remain unclear. The aim of this research project is to unravel the key physical, chemical and/or microbiological factors that determine granulation to better steer anaerobic granular processes. The knowledge generated here will allow to move beyond the current limits of anaerobic technologies towards novel applications for integrated resource recovery.

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 (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.

The Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology (CMET) 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. CMET is a very multidisciplinary team and has a very international atmosphere. The promotors of this research are Prof. Ramon Ganigué, who leads a group of 7 PhD students and 2 postdocs, and Prof. Jo De Vrieze, who leads a research group of 3 PhD students that focus on microbial ecology in engineered processes.

Job profile


Background and experience
• Scientific researcher: A Master degree in microbiology, environmental engineering, bioscience engineering or equivalent, completed before the start date of the position, with excellent grades.
• Experience in the field of wastewater treatment, applied microbiology, microbial ecology, anaerobic digestion or fermentations will be greatly appreciated.

Scientific knowledge and skills
• Knowledge of bio-process engineering and microbiology.
• Hands on experience in microbial cultivation.
• Ability to rigorously design experiments and to perform experiments under well-controlled conditions.
• Ability to work with analytics, such as IC & 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 “Granular_PhD”. Final closing date is August 10th 2021 (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