Doctoral Position in Ecotoxicology Exploring Phytoremediation for PFAS Cleanup
University of Antwerp Department of Biology

Department: Department of Biology
Regime Full-time

Let’s shape the future - University of Antwerp

The University of Antwerp is a dynamic, forward-thinking, European university. We offer an innovative academic education to more than 20000 students, conduct pioneering scientific research, and play an important service-providing role in society. We are one of the largest, most international, and most innovative employers in the region. With more than 6000 employees from 100 different countries, we are helping to build tomorrow's world every day. Through top scientific research, we push back boundaries and set a course for the future – a future that you can help to shape. 

The Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science in cooperation with the Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development (IMDO)  is looking for a full-time (100%) doctoral scholarship holder in the field of ecotoxicology.


  • You will work actively on the preparation and defense of a PhD thesis in the field of phytoremediation of PFAS in the terrestrial environment under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Lieven Bervoets, Prof. Dr. Anne Bergmans and Dr. Thimo Groffen.
  • The widespread use of PFAS in industrial and consumer applications has led to a global distribution of these synthetic chemicals in the environment. Here, they persist for many years, bioaccumulate in organisms, and may cause toxic effects to wildlife and humans. Remediation of PFAS-contaminated soils is, however, extremely challenging. You will build on recent findings about the phytoremediation of PFAS in terrestrial environments, using both laboratory and field-based studies. You will study, among others, the factors that affect the phytoremediation potential of specific plant species. In addition, you will investigate the applicability and potential implementation of phytoremediation and phytomanagement using multidisciplinary approaches.
  • You will be part of both the ECOSPHERE and Centre for Research on Environmental and Social Change (CRESC) groups who have an extended experience on environmental sciences, including the investigation of the environmental and societal impact of PFAS.
  • You will publish scientific articles related to the research project.
  • You will carry out a limited number of teaching and research support tasks for the department of Biology, such as assisting practical teaching sessions and supervising Bachelor, Master and Erasmus-exchange students in various disciplines (e.g., Biology, Environmental Sciences,…).
  • You will work closely with another PhD student to be recruited on the same project hired by the Centre for Environmental Sciences, Hasselt University


  • You hold a Master degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Environmental Science or related fields, or you will have obtained it by the time you start work.
  • You are also interested in social sciences and are willing to look at the research topic from a socio-technical perspective (e.g. how remediation of PFAS is not only a technical, but also a social challenge, and how both can influence each other). Experience with Social Sciences is a plus.
  • You have at least basic experience with laboratory work and notions of field-based research in the natural sciences.
  • You can demonstrate excellent study results.
  • Foreign candidates are encouraged to apply.
  • Your teaching competences are in line with the University of Antwerp’s (
  • Your research qualities are in line with the faculty and university research policies.
  • You act with attention to quality, integrity, creativity, and cooperation.
  • You have excellent oral and written communication skills, have an inquisitive mindset, and have strong interpersonal skills.  You are fully fluent in Dutch and in English.

What we offer

  • We offer a doctoral scholarship for a period of two years. Following a positive evaluation, the scholarship can be renewed for another two years.
  • The planned start date is  1 September 2024.
  • Your monthly scholarship amount is calculated according to the scholarship amounts for doctoral scholarship holders on the pay scales for Contract Research Staff (Dutch: Bijzonder Academisch Personeel, BAP).
  • You will do most of your work at Campus Groenenborger in a dynamic and stimulating working environment.
  • Find out more about working at the University of Antwerp ( 

Want to apply?

  • You can apply for this vacancy through the University of Antwerp’s online job application platform up to and including July 1, 2024 (by midnight Brussels time). Click on the 'Apply' button, complete the online application form and be sure to include the following attachments: a strong motivation letter, a detailed academic CV, and two recommendation letters or contact information of two scientific references.
  • The selection committee will review all of the applications as soon as possible after the application deadline. As soon as a decision has been made, we will inform you about the next steps in the selection procedure. Interviews of the candidates, after a preselection by the selection committee, will take place in September 2023.
  • If you have any questions about the online application form, please check the ( or send an email to If you have any questions about the job itself, please contact Prof. Dr. Lieven Bervoets ( and Prof. Dr. Anne Bergmans ( with as email subject “KIS Phytoremediation PFAS”

The University of Antwerp received the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award for its HR policy. We are a sustainable, family-friendly organisation which invests in its employees’ growth. We encourage diversity and attach great importance to an inclusive working environment and equal opportunities, regardless of gender identity, disability, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. We encourage people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse characteristics to apply.

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