PhD student in Tungsten BioCatalysis - Heavy metal enzymes for sustainable industrial biocatalysis

PhD student in Tungsten BioCatalysis - Heavy metal enzymes for sustainable industrial biocatalysis

Published Deadline Location
30 Oct 1 Dec Delft

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Challenge: Using tungsten enzymes to create new chemical ingredients for industrial applications.
Change: Exploring what else tungsten enzymes can do.
Impact: Creating more sustainable enzyme alterna.

Job description

Europe’s chemical industry must become more sustainable – and it must do so quickly. Breakthrough technologies can help to accelerate this goal. At the moment, chemical manufacturing is held back by the limited number of enzyme classes in industrial use even though some enzymes are known to offer greener, safer and less energy demanding benefits. For this reason, the European Innovation Council has funded a new Pathfinder Open project. The W-BioCat project targets an important enzyme class of tungsten-containing enzymes (W-enzymes), which catalyse amazing chemical reactions involving challenging low redox potential reduction reactions that are currently impossible to obtain economically at an industrial scale. Its goal? To functionally express W-enzymes in an industrial workhorse microorganism. This would be a major breakthrough for science and the applications of this enzyme class in fragrance- and flavour compounds and cosmetic ingredients.


As a PhD student in Tungsten BioCatalysis, you’ll be joining TU Delft’s W-BioCat team to help reach this goal. Here, you will uncover the biocatalytic potential of W-enzymes under the supervision of Dr. Caroline Paul [add link] and prof. dr. Frank Hollmann [add link]. The focus of your research will be exploring the synthetic potential of nature’s catalysts, with an emphasis on the development of non-natural enzymatic reactions for applications in organic chemistry. Alongside world-leading scientists and a collaborative team of ambitious peers in our Department of Biotechnology in Delft, you will search for novel W-enzymes and activities. Novel enzymes, an upcoming growth area in science, are expected to make a major contribution as catalysts. In this role you can therefore really make an impact as you help to future-proof the chemical industry with cleaner, greener alternatives. 


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


You are a recent graduate looking to apply your innate curiosity about all things chemistry to create a more sustainable world. With your excellent communications skills, you thrive in a dynamic, international team. Hands-on, well-organized, focused and positive, you thrive on solving challenges in a pioneering environment where experimentation is expected.


You also have:

  • An MSc degree in (Bio)Chemistry, Biocatalysis, or a related field.
  • Experience in (bio)organic chemistry.
  • Sound knowledge of organic chemistry and biocatalysis.


Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that you can interact well with others, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, write scientific articles and a final thesis and share your research results with a wider audience. Ideally, you will also have some proficiency in Dutch. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements [add link]. ]

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. 

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Applied Sciences

With more than 1,100 employees, including 150 pioneering principal investigators, as well as a population of about 3,600 passionate students, the Faculty of Applied Sciences is an inspiring scientific ecosystem. Focusing on key enabling technologies, such as quantum- and nanotechnology, photonics, biotechnology, synthetic biology and materials for energy storage and conversion, our faculty aims to provide solutions to important problems of the 21st century. To that end, we educate innovative students in broad Bachelor's and specialist Master's programmes with a strong research component. Our scientists conduct ground-breaking fundamental and applied research in the fields of Life and Health Science & Technology, Nanoscience, Chemical Engineering, Radiation Science & Technology, and Engineering Physics. We are also training the next generation of high school teachers.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Applied Sciences.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD04603


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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