PhD Candidate: Active Learning of Peptide-based Materials

PhD Candidate: Active Learning of Peptide-based Materials

Published Deadline Location
13 Feb 17 Apr Nijmegen

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Job description

Peptide-based materials are promising candidates for multifunctional biomaterials. However, whereas the number of possible sequences is enormous, only a few of these will yield functional materials. In this PhD project, you will develop an experimental platform for the high-throughput synthesis and analysis of supramolecular, peptide-based soft materials and connect this to machine learning to navigate the peptide sequence space, and to optimise the properties of promising candidates.

In this project, you will use state-of-the-art peptide synthesizers and high-throughput spectroscopic analysis methods to characterise self-assembling peptides. By automating the data analysis, you will ensure standardised processing of your results. In collaboration with machine-learning experts, you will then use your results to predict new peptide-based materials and validate your predictions experimentally to ultimately design new supramolecular biomaterials for biomedical applications such as drug delivery or wound care.

The project is part of a new, interdisciplinary Robotlab initiative at Radboud University. To foster your interdisciplinary development, you will be allocated a personal budget to pursue projects with Robotlab colleagues elsewhere in the Netherlands. You will present your work at national and international conferences and workshops and communicate your results through peer-reviewed articles. Furthermore, you will spend up to 10% of your time on teaching Bachelor’s and Master’s students. You will also be given the opportunity to further develop yourself through additional professional training.


Radboud University


  • You are about to graduate or have recently graduated with a Master's degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, molecular life sciences or a similar degree, and you have a particular interest in complex molecular systems and understanding them from both experimental and computational angles.
  • You have experience in physical organic chemistry, supramolecular chemistry or systems chemistry, specifically peptide chemistry/solid-phase peptide synthesis, and analysis of peptide-based materials with spectroscopy and/or scattering techniques.
  • Ideally, you have programming experience (preferably in Python) or are eager to learn programming skills. Experience or affinity with machine learning or computational statistics is a plus.
  • You know how to take the lead in your project, but you are also happy to support others in their work.
  • You flourish in a team-centred, multicultural and international environment and you can communicate your work clearly to a wide scientific audience.
  • You are fully proficient in English.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract).

  • It concerns an employment for 1.0 FTE.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,770 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,539 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.
Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.


The PhD project will be part of the newly founded National Growth Fund programme Big Chemistry, in which teams of chemists, computer scientists and engineers across several research institutes in the Netherlands develop cutting-edge automated chemical laboratories for soft materials discovery and formulations. You will be embedded within the Physical Organic Chemistry department at Radboud University, where you surrounded by a group of scientists from very different fields, ranging from computer science to chemical biology.

Radboud University

At Radboud University, we aim to make an impact through our work. We achieve this by conducting groundbreaking research, providing high-quality education, offering excellent support, and fostering collaborations within and outside the university. In doing so, we contribute indispensably to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. To accomplish this, we need even more colleagues who, based on their expertise, are willing to search for answers. We advocate for an inclusive community and welcome employees with diverse backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. Will you also contribute to making the world a little better? You have a part to play.
If you want to learn more about working at Radboud University, follow our Instagram account and read stories from our colleagues.


  • PhD; Research, development, innovation; Education
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1218073



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