PhD position in Environmental biotechnology

PhD position in Environmental biotechnology

Published Deadline Location
1 Nov 30 Nov Delft

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PhD position in Environmental biotechnology

Job description

Anaerobic fermentations using communities have been always at the core of biotechnology and human culture. However, the stoichiometry, kinetics and ecology of these processes under a plethora of conditions are not well understood. Still now, we cannot undestand their dynamics or predict their outcomes which limits our capacity to create more efficient or robust bioprocesses able to contribute towards the sustainability objectives we have now as sociaety.  The complexity of the ecology of these communities, and the redundancy of the activity of their populations, limits the reproducibility of experimental results and our capacity to engineer them. Within this project, we want to generate deeper mechanistic understanding of ecological selection in communities, by designing experimentation that returns new insigths of the physiology and biochemitry associated to the growth of identified populations.

We are looking for a candidate who wants to contribute with novel engineering designs towards the progress of a more sustainable sociaety, but at the same time, highly driven by scientific curiosity keen on answering fundamental questions regarding the rules that control microbial survival under unfavourable conditions, ecology and evolution.

The selected candidate will work on combining biochemical, physiological and ecological theory to design and perform pure culture experimentation with the objective to increase our understanding of metabolic pathway selection, ecology and microbial growth in anaerobic fermentations. To do this, biochemical analyses of metabolic pathways and the development of state-of-the-art computational tools for the understanding of microbial growth will be combined with experimentation in laboratory bioreactors. We therefore welcome applicants that want to develop laboratory experimentation but also have an affinity for computational programming.

The PhD candidate will belong to the Environmental Biotechnology (EBT) section of the Department of Biotechnology in Applied Sciences. In the section, we hold an inspiring and supportive international environment with weekly scientific seminars and social activities with more than 20 PhD students. The candidate will be co-supervised by Dr Robbert Kleerebezem and Dr Rebeca Gonzalez-Cabaleiro and will be embebed in both teams which belong to the section. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School which provides a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.   


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


Aplicants must hold a Master's degree, or approach to its completion, in the field of life sciences, engineering, biochemistry or microbiology. Demonstrable experience performing laboratory work is desired but also an affinity for matematical modelling. We are looking for a candidate that has a genuine interest for fundamental research, curiosity driven, and who enjoys collaboration with supervisors and peers. 

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.

TU Delft offers an attractive benefits package, including a flexible work week and the option of assembling a customised compensation and benefits package. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.


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!




With more than 1,000 employees, including 135 pioneering principal investigators, as well as a population of about 3,400 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 train 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 and science communicators.

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


The Environmental Biotechnology group aims at developing and improving mixed culture bioprocesses for waste treatment and product formation. For this purpose, microbial ecosystems are studied at all levels ranging from molecule to full-scale bioprocesses.

The research is based on the exploration of microbial and biochemical cycling of elements in nature. We study the organisms involved in the conversions of Carbon, Sulfur, Nitrogen, Phosphate and Iron compounds, with special attention for the formation of biopolymers. These conversions are used in the development of processes for water and wastewater treatment and production of chemicals from waste. The process engineering focus is on biofilm and gradient systems. The microbiological focus is on the development of molecular ecology approaches for studying the ecophysiology of mixed microbial cultures. The research team is complemented with a research line on inorganic chemical processes to be able to cover full process designs


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD02978


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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