Postdoc researcher;characterising nano-/microplastic particles in plastic recycling processes

Postdoc researcher;characterising nano-/microplastic particles in plastic recycling processes

Published Deadline Location
28 Jun 1 Sep Leeuwarden

Job description

Plastic recycling has to increase by almost an order of magnitude in the coming decades to come to a fully circular economy. To facilitate this, plastic losses and/or emissions of nano-/microplastics and contaminants in the recycling process should be minimized. In addition, the emissions of small particles are a concern for water treatment effluent, air quality, and soil. The focus is on quantification and mitigation of losses and emissions in Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) plastic recycling, specifically in the post-sorting steps (grinding, washing, and flake sorting).

Research challenge and objective:
To-date there is practically no research available on small plastic particles in plastic recycling processes. Most research on the analysis of small plastic particles in water focusses on environmental samples or wastewater treatment. from (Municipal) Wastewater treatment processes we know that, depending on process type and characteristics, treatment can be both a source and sink of nano-/microplastics. Analysis remains challenging due to several factors, i.e. the large variety of material, small sizes and low concentrations, large contamination risk of samples due to deposition from air and complex sample preparation due to complex chemical matrices with organic material. There is also a lack of proper reference material to validate methods as aged environmental particles are not the same as pristine laboratory particles.
Fortunately, the challenging factors above are less severe for plastic recycling processes. Generally, there is a much better idea about the type of material, type of contaminations, larger concentrations, etc. This helps simplifying the analysis, and choice of analytical tools. The objective is to identify the required analysis methods to quantify emissions and losses. This includes sample preparation techniques.


Wetsus, European centre of excellence for sustainable watertechnology


We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a background (PhD) in physical chemistry, water technology or chemical engineering. The candidate will require a high level of independence and will need to be able to work from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: Appointment for three years.

At Wetsus, you will get the opportunity to grow with an innovative, dynamic and future-orientated top research institute. You can accelerate the development of new water solutions in cooperation with prominent companies and universities. The workplace is in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. In addition, you will regularly visit project partner NTCP in Heerenveen, The Netherlands.

  • This job offer includes:a dynamic research project with strong collaboration with universities and companies;
  • support for training and career development;
  • 1 fte appointment for three years, and the possibility to grow into a Scientific project manager position at Wetsus;
  • a gross monthly salary in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities (Salary scale 10, step 5, for a starting postdoc);
  • an attractive package of benefits including moving expenses, 35 holiday days (based on fulltime) and end-of-year allowance.



Wetsus carries out a research programme, in the field of sustainable water technology, in cooperation with over 100 companies and 16 universities. The research takes place at the premise of Wetsus in Leeuwarden, which is equipped with state-of-the-art multidisciplinary research facilities. The research programme is organized in 20 research themes. The specific research topics are defined in those themes and carried out by PhD and postdoctoral researchers. The inspiring cooperative and multidisciplinary research results in innovations that contribute significantly to solutions for global water problems.

Wetsus is a value-based organization. We operate and interact based on the following values: Innovation, partnership, reliability, joy and cooperation.

Additional information

Wetsus has an extensive and state of the art laboratory for water research, including instruments for nano/microplastic research (e.g. FFF-MALS, SEM, Raman, FTIR, Malvern particle analyser, Nanosight, DLS, CLSM, optical laboratory, etc.). For this specific topic, we work in close cooperation with National Test Centre Circular Plastics (location of plastic recycling line) and the Gilbert-Armstrong laboratory (FFF-MALS and fabrication of reference material).

Information and Application
Your application must include:

  • your detailed CV;
  • a one-page motivation letter, explaining your goals and interests, and how they are aligned with this position;
  • at least one reference letter.

Please send your application by clicking the apply button below.
For further information about this position, you can send an email to or .

The closing date to apply for this vacancy is 01 September 2022. The interviews are expected to take place in the first weeks of September 2022. The preferred starting date is as soon as possible but no later than 1 October 2022

Keywords Nano-/Microplastics, Water Treatment, FFF-MALS


  • Technical and laboratory; Management; Postdoc; Research, development, innovation
  • Engineering
  • Doctorate
  • PA vacancy postdoc researcher;characterising


Wetsus, European centre of excellence for sustainable watertechnology

Learn more about this employer


Oostergoweg 9, 8911 MA, Leeuwarden

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you


Apply for this job

Apply for this job

This application process is managed by the employer (Wetsus, European centre of excellence for sustainable watertechnology). Please contact the employer for questions regarding your application.

Thank you for applying

Please contact the employer for questions regarding your application.

Tip: save this job as favorite in your AcademicTransfer account. This gives you an immediate overview and makes it easy to find the job later on. No account yet? Create it now and take advantage of other useful functionalities too!

Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 1 Sep 2022 23:58 (Europe/Amsterdam).