PhD Researcher - Transformation and sorption of organic chemicals in the environment

PhD Researcher - Transformation and sorption of organic chemicals in the environment

Published Deadline Location
6 Nov 4 Dec Wageningen

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Job description

Are you excited about predicting the behavior and effects of organic contaminants in the environment? Do you want to contribute to an interdisciplinary research project aimed at developing high-throughput methodologies for screening of environmental fate properties of organic chemicals? Are you looking for a PhD position where you can develop your academic career while also working closely with non-academic partners? Then we invite you to join our team!

The Environmental Risk Assessment team at Wageningen Environmental Research is looking for a PhD researcher to work on improving the mechanistic understanding of transformation and sorption processes for organic chemicals. With this you will support the development of novel methodologies for high-throughput screening of chemical persistence and mobility in surface water, groundwater, and soil matrices. This project is part of a cooperation with an agronomic company and involves two other PhD candidates assessing toxicity. You will join an international team of researchers jointly working on solutions towards sustainable and safe chemicals to ensure a biodiverse and sustainable environment.

As a PhD researcher you will focus your research on:
  • developing and testing high-throughput degradation assays to screen for chemical persistence of parent compounds and transformation products at varying environmental conditions;
  • testing and standardizing sorbent packed column based approaches to determine chemical mobility and sorption under varying environmental conditions;
  • developing integrated risk assessment tools for translating screening test results into actionable information for the development of safe-by-design chemicals.

You will work here
The PhD project will take place within Environmental Risk Assessment team at Wageningen Environmental Research, where you will be supervised by Dr. Steven Droge.
Dr. Gabriel Sigmund and Prof. Nora Sutton from the micropollutant group in the Environmental Technology division at Wageningen University will also be your supervisors.

This will offer you the unique opportunity to profit from an extensive collaborative network and expertise from two key research groups in the field. As a PhD student you will become part of the Wageningen Institute for Environment and Climate Research (WIMEK), which is one of the six Graduate Schools at Wageningen University that will support you with additional skills and opportunities to develop your academic and professional network.


Wageningen University & Research


You have:
  • a MSc degree in environmental engineering, environmental technology, water biotechnology, environmental sciences, environmental chemistry or a related field from an internationally recognized two year master program taught in English and including a thesis research of at least 36 ECTS;
  • background in sorption of organic micropollutants, preferably with knowledge on polar and ionizable compounds;
  • knowledge of microbial biodegradation processes, preferably of trace organic micropollutants;
  • proven laboratory skills e.g. in analytical chemistry, contaminant biodegradation, and high affinity with multidisciplinary research approaches;
  • proven academic research experience, for example as part of a thesis;
  • oral and written proficiency in English (C1 level). Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.
  • affinity with working as a team player, proactive in your work, involved actively in your working environment and capable of independently addressing and solving research problems.

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation hours by working more, per week;
  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2629,- per month rising to € 3360,- in the fourth year in accordance with the CLA Wageningen Research (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 36 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended up to 4 years or for the duration of the project if you perform well.

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 18th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.
Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.


Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

These are the points our employees list as good reasons to come work at WUR: read the 5 reasons to come work at WUR

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


  • PhD
  • Agriculture
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • P1360763-3


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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