PhD candidate synthesis & evaluation of biobased, responsive and self-dispersible waterborne resins.

PhD candidate synthesis & evaluation of biobased, responsive and self-dispersible waterborne resins.

Published Deadline Location
21 Feb 30 Apr Sittard-Geleen
PhD candidate: synthesis and evaluation of biobased, responsive and self-dispersible waterborne resins (project SusInkCoat).

Job description

This project is part of the SusInkCoat consortium with partners both the public and the private sector. The goal of the SusInkCoat project is to develop switchable and adaptive functional polymers and additives for low environmental footprint.
Plastics have their drawbacks: their production consumes energy and leads to greenhouse gas emissions; they are made from non-sustainable materials; they do not decompose; and less than 10% are recycled. Much progress has been made in making plastics more sustainable for larger applications. However, thin films, such as those used in coatings and inks, are lagging behind. The SusInkCoat project is changing that. Researchers are developing new materials, processes and applications to improve the durability, functionality and recyclability of coatings, thin films and inks. In addition, the consortium is training a new generation of chemical developers for whom sustainability and circularity are core values.

The task of Maastricht University is to develop biobased monomers and stimuli-responsive latex resins thereof via emulsion polymerization, as well as the chemical and physical polymer characterization. The resins are designed to be crosslinkable via reversible bonds and the recyclability of the thermosets will be studied. Properties of the resulting inks and coatings will also be investigated. The PhD student will work closely together with academic and industrial project partners in the consortium. Samples will be upscaled for the testing by the industrial partners. Based on their feedback, the synthesis work will be tuned.

The PhD student will be appointed at the Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials of Maastricht University, which is part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. You will work in the Sustainable Polymer Synthesis group of Associate Professor Katrien Bernaerts, which focusses on the synthesis and design of polymer materials with tunable properties and recyclability exploiting the functionality of biobased building blocks. You will operate from the Brightlands-Chemelot Campus in Geleen (Nl), where the labs are located.


Maastricht University (UM)


The candidate
  • holds a master degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or related fields;
  • has skills in organic synthesis (monomers) and chemical characterization;
  • has skills in polymer synthesis and characterization. Experience with radical polymerization is a pro;
  • has interest in the material characterization of covalent adaptable networks (rheology, DMA, tensile test, …);
  • has a strong interest to investigate structure-property relationships of the synthesized thermosets both from fundamental point of view and for ink and coating applications;
  • is open to scale up polymers for application tests by industrial project partners;
  • the candidate is expected to stay abreast of the recent literature (publications and patents) in the field of recyclable thermosets, develop research ideas and valorised the research in the form of patents and research papers;
  • likes to interact with academic and industrial partners;
  • is result driven, inventive, creative, counts with potential impact, works ‘accountable’ and works with ownership;
  • masters scientific English for speaking, reading, and writing. Knowledge of Dutch is not required.

Conditions of employment

What we offer

As PhD candidate
at Faculty of Science & Engineering, you will be employed by the most international university in the Netherlands.

In addition, we offer you:
  • Good employment conditions. The position is graded in scale P according to UFO profile Promovendus, with corresponding salary based on experience ranging from €2770,00 and €3539,00 gross per month (based on a full-time employment of 38 hours per week). In addition to the monthly salary, an 8.0% holiday allowance and an 8.3% year-end bonus apply.
  • An employment contract for a period of 12 months with a scope of 1,0 FTE. Upon a positive evaluation, an extension of 3 years will follow.
  • At Maastricht University, the well-being of our employees is of utmost importance, we offer flexible working hours and the possibility to work partly from home if the nature of your position allows it. You will receive a monthly commuting and internet allowance for this. If you work full-time, you will be entitled to 29 vacation days and 4 additional public holidays per year, namely carnival Monday, carnival Tuesday, Good Friday, and Liberation Day. If you choose to accumulate compensation hours, an additional 12 days will be added. Furthermore, you can personalize your employment conditions through a collective labor agreement (CAO) choice model.
  • As Maastricht University, we offer various other excellent secondary employment conditions. These include a good pension scheme with the ABP and the opportunity for UM employees to participate in company fitness and make use of the extensive sports facilities that we also offer to our students.
  • Last but certainly not least, we provide the space and facilities for your personal and professional development. We facilitate this by offering a wide range of training programs and supporting various well-established initiatives such as 'acknowledge and appreciate'.
    The terms of employment at Maastricht University are largely set out in the collective labor agreement of Dutch Universities. In addition, local provisions specific to UM apply. For more information, click here.

Maastricht University is committed to promoting and nurturing a diverse and inclusive community. We believe that diversity in our staff and student population contributes to the quality of research and education at UM, and strive to enable this through inclusive policies and innovative projects led by teams of staff and students. We encourage you to apply for this position.


Maastricht University

Why work at Maastricht University?
At Maastricht University (UM), everything revolves around the future. The future of our students, as we work to equip them with a solid, broad-based foundation for the rest of their lives. And the future of society, as we seek solutions through our research to issues from all around the world. Our six faculties combined provide a comprehensive package of study programmes and research.

In our teaching, we use the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) method. Students work in small groups, looking for solutions to problems themselves. By discussing issues and working together to draw conclusions, formulate answers and present them to their peers, students develop essential skills for their future careers.

With over 22,300 students and more than 5,000 employees from all over the world, UM is home to a vibrant and inspiring international community.

Are you drawn to an international setting focused on education, science and scholarship? Are you keen to contribute however your skills and qualities allow? Our door is open to you! As a young European university, we value your talent and look forward to creating the future together.

Click here for more information about UM.


Faculty of Science and Engineering

Faculty of Science and Engineering
At the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), we focus on themes such as circularity and sustainability, future farming, digitisation and (scientific) instrument development. FSE's leading projects, like the Einstein Telescope Pathfinder, are sure to grab anyone's attention. The faculty is a vibrant hub of education and research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS). At FSE, over 450 staff members and 3700 students gather to explore e exciting interdisciplinary research and educational programmes. Feel welcome, be part of our team and put your brilliant mind to work!

FSE at the Brightlands Campuses

Maastricht, Sittard-Geleen, Heerlen, and Venlo, the home of four creative Brightlands campuses, are bustling with 30,000 entrepreneurs, researchers, and students working diligently to solve global challenges. The Faculty of Science and Engineering is active on all four Brightlands campuses, and this is where our impact reaches its peak. To give you an idea of what is happening at each campus: Sittard-Geleen is home to the largest chemical site in the Euregion, while Venlo is a large hub for agri-food innovation. Maastricht is the site of the Health Campus, and Heerlen is the place to be for Smart Services.

FSE at the Brightlands Campuses
Maastricht, Sittard-Geleen, Heerlen and Venlo, the homes of four creative Brightlands campuses, are bustling with 30,000 entrepreneurs, researchers and students working diligently to solve global challenges. The Faculty of Science and Engineering is active on all four Brightlands campuses and this is where our impact reaches its peak. To give you an idea of what is happening on each campus: Sittard-Geleen is home to the largest chemical site in the Euregion, while Venlo is a large hub for agri-food innovation. Maastricht is the site of the Health Campus, and Heerlen is the place to be for Smart Services.

The Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (AMIBM) is a department of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) at Maastricht University. AMIBM is a European cross-border research institute established by Maastricht University and RWTH Aachen University focusing on the development of advanced biobased materials. The mission of AMIBM is to replace traditional polymer building blocks with innovative and sustainable alternatives for the development of novel and environmentally-beneficial materials. AMIBM promotes world-class multidisciplinary research in the field of biobased materials, by training PhD students with the multiple skills needed to be future leaders in the field, and creating the research breakthroughs that will enable the utilization of sustainable and renewable materials for advanced materials applications. The multidisciplinary team draws together scientists with expertise in organic chemistry, biocatalysis, lead finding of new biobased blocks, polymer chemistry, polymer physics, polymer engineering, biobased and biomedical materials, tissue engineering, and industrial and medical applications. More information can be found via

Research group Sustainable Polymer Synthesis
Main research focus is on the design and synthesis of sustainable polymer materials with tuneable properties for the circular economy. Sustainability entails biobased building blocks (but no biorefinery) instead of fossil raw materials, green routes for polymer synthesis and processing, as well as chemical recycling/reprocessing methods (biodegradability, depolymerization, dynamic bonds) to make the end-of-life of polymers more sustainable. Structure-property relationships of the resulting polymers are evaluated in several fields of application e.g. stimuli-responsive polymers, coatings, fibres, engineering plastics and biomedical materials. Growing focus on the use of artificial intelligence techniques to support and accelerate the experimental work, e.g. data interpretation and prediction of structure-property relationships.

Additional information

Are you interested in this exciting position but still have questions? Feel free to contact Katrien Bernaerts, Associate Professor Sustainable Polymer Synthesis Katrien Bernaerts ( or +31 43 388 2636) for more information.

Or are you already convinced and ready to become our new PhD? Apply now and submit:
  • Cover letter including your motivation, your relevant experience (referring to the “description of the candidate”, above)
  • CV
  • Names and contact data of two people who could provide a reference
  • Diplomas/degrees including a grade transcript of previous education.

We will recruit until the position is filled. The selection process commences immediately, but will close when a suitable candidate has been found, even if this prior to the final date of the application window. Closing date for this position is 30 April 2024.

The vacancy is open for internal and external candidates. In case of equal qualifications, internal candidates will be prioritized.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 662


Maastricht University (UM)

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Urmonderbaan 22, 6167RD, Sittard-Geleen

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 30 Apr 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).