PhD Position in Biotechnology
Ghent University Department of Biotechnology

PhD Student in Biotechnology

Last application date
Aug 31, 2020 23:59
LA25 - Department of Biotechnology
Employment category
Research staff group 1
Limited duration
Master degree in bio-engineering, chemical engineering, biotechnology, microbiology or related
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description

The world is in need of more sustainable sources for food and feed. Particularly the supply of protein is becoming problematic. A solution is to produce new forms of protein, such as microbial protein, based on available and often circular resources, and use these to replace feed and food. Recently, we were awarded a collaborative project in which we will upgrade biogas and use the purified methane to produce protein in a bioreactor. We will harvest the biomass, process it and use it for inland aquaculture trials. This way, we create a complete line from biomass waste to new fish feed. This approach has multiple scientific as well as engineering challenges. For this PhD we are looking for a highly motivated student with an interest and affinity for both engineering aspects and biotechnology, as the key role is on selection of production organism, growth in laboratory bioreactors and subsequent on site operation of a pilot plant. The student needs to be open to interdisciplinary collaboration between several research teams and with other partners in the project.

Type of employment

  • Doctoral researcher: Full time, fixed term appointment for 4 years, biyearly renewable after positive evaluation.
  • A competitive salary including benefits is offered
  • Ghent University is an equal opportunity employer.


The Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology (CMET) formally LabMET; is part of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University, a top 100 university in most rankings, as well as part of CAPTURE ( ). CMET has over 40 years of experience in the study of applied microbial processes and microbial ecology in the contexts of waste(water) treatment, bioremediation, bioproduction, bioelectrochemistry and resource recovery. In recent years a team on microbial protein has been established with currently 4 ongoing projects. CMET is one of the leading centres worldwide in its field and links excellent basic science with application, leading to a high level of peer reviewed outputs besides commercial outcomes including 7 spin-off companies over time. Reactor and process developments go from millilitre scale to full scale industrial.

Profile of the candidate

Background and experience

  • PhD student: We are searching for a motivated student with existing training and degree in bio-engineering, chemical engineering, biotechnology, microbiology or related.

Scientific knowledge and skills 

  • Ability to develop and test laboratory and larger scale processes with a focus on bioreactor operation for the production of microbial cells
  • Ability to perform in-depth and critical data analysis.
  • Potential to contribute to research program development.

Personal knowledge and skills

  • A strong interest in inter/multi-disciplinary applied science, particularly around the engineering and biological sciences
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to work effectively with team members from different backgrounds and with different tasks.
  • Good oral and written communication skills in English are strictly required (C1 level).
  • Outcome focused, hands-on mentality.
  • Willingness to travel internationally

How to apply

Submission and closing date

Applications must be sent via email to as pdf or word documents, with in the subject line mentioning “BiogasPhD”. Final closing date is August 31st 2020 (23h59), but applications will be regularly reviewed prior to the deadline, hence, early application is recommended.

Application files

1) Covering Letter. The covering letter should include the position reference, your contact address and telephone number. It is an opportunity to introduce yourself and highlight the key reasons you should be considered for the role, taking into account the required skills (one page).

2) Resume or Curriculum Vitae. A resume is a brief history of your employment and experience that covers the following areas:

  • Educational qualifications and professional affiliations that detail the full title of the qualification, the year awarded and the title of the institution attended;
  • Employment history in chronological order, starting with current position and specifying dates of employment, title of each position, name of employer, main duties or accountabilities and achievements;
  • Research fields and current interests, publications (full list as attachment with three most significant marked with an asterisk, also indicating impact factors and Quartiles according to Web of Science), research grants awarded.
  • The names and contact details (address, telephone, e-mail) of three referees, including, if possible, a senior person (preferably your supervisor, manager or head of organisational unit) closely associated with your current work. A referee must be able to comment on your work experience, skills and performance with respect to the selection criteria.

3) Selection Criteria. A statement addressing how each of the selection criteria has been met is required to assist the Selection Committee determine whether you have the relevant qualifications, knowledge/skills, experience and personal qualities.

Selection process

A Selection Committee will consider all applications and shortlist candidates for interview who appear to meet the selection criteria at the highest levels. They will be invited to attend an interview and the remaining unsuccessful applicants will be notified accordingly.

An invitation to attend an interview provides an opportunity to provide further information to the Selection Committee to substantiate your claims against the selection criteria and demonstrate your capabilities. Please note that the interviews are preferentially conducted by teleconference.

The Selection Committee will subsequently seek referee reports, if not sought prior to interview, before making a decision to make an offer of appointment to the preferred candidate. The purpose of referee checks is to obtain, in confidence, factual information about your past work history, as well as opinions regarding the quality of your work, behaviour in the work place and suitability for the position. Referee reports may be sought orally, or for academic staff, in writing by post or e-mail.

If you are the preferred candidate, you will receive a written offer of appointment to the position. Do not take any action, such as resigning from your current position, before you receive a written offer of appointment.

More information Please contact Professor Korneel Rabaey ( or Jo De Vrieze (

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Bioloxy


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