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Submitted by capture on
  • Apply before 20/06/2021 23:59 (Brussels Time)
  • Faculty of Bioscience Engineering  
  • Department: BW25 - Biotechnologie
  • Occupancy rate:100%
  • Number of positions: 1.00    
  • Type of employment: Contract of limited duration 
  • Term of assignment: 18 months 
  • Wage scale:  PD1 to PD4 (doctoral degree) 
  • Required diploma: PhD 


Ghent University is a world of its own. Employing more than 8,000 people, it is actively involved in education and research, management and administration, as well as technical and social service provision on a daily basis. It is one of the largest, most exciting employers in the area and offers great career opportunities. With its 11 faculties and more than 80 departments offering state-of-the-art study programmes grounded in research in a wide range of academic fields, Ghent University is a logical choice for its staff and students.

The Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology (CMET, formerly LabMET); ( is part of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University, 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, bio-production, bio-electrochemistry and resource recovery. CMET is one of the leading centers 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.


Our society needs to transition from a linear to a circular model to mitigate the negative environmental impacts derived from the exploitation & utilization of materials, and their disposal as wastes. This is even more critical in Space. Long-term exploration missions will need to be (almost) self-sufficient, and all resources on board will need to be recycled in closed-loop regenerative life support systems. Microbial bioprocesses can be used to transform wastes into new resources, contributing to closing the resource loop, both in Space and on Earth.

We are looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher with an interest and affinity for process engineering and microbial culturing to work on the development of novel mixed culture bio-processes for resource recovery. The selected candidate will mainly work on the BIOPACK project, a research project funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) to assess the possibility to safely store biodegradable waste packaging material during long-term manned space missions, and its biodegradation within ESA’s regenerative life support system, MELISSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative; Melissa Foundation). Additionally, the postdoctoral researcher will also contribute to research tasks on other closely-related ongoing research projects.

Within BIOPACK you will be responsible for the:

  • Planning, coordination and execution of experiments, including: i) investigating the biodegradation of novel materials in acidogenic fermentation conditions; ii) identification of potential formation of by-products during the polymer biodegradation; iii) linking potential changes in microbial performance to changes in the microbial community, etc
  • Critical analysis and interpretation of the results.
  • Management of the research activities at CMET and coordination with the staff providing technical support.
  • Interaction with the other project partners.
  • Project communication and reporting, including the writing of project reports, scientific articles, etc.


Background and experience

  • Postdoctoral researcher: We are searching for a motivated researcher, particularly with experience in development of bioprocesses with mixed microbial cultures.

Scientific knowledge and skills

  • Background in microbial culturing / biotechnological / fermentation process development
  • Knowledge about biopolymer degradation or mixed culture fermentations is considered a plus.
  • Ability to write effectively, both reporting and funding application
  • Ability to develop and test laboratory scale processes.
  • Ability to rigorously design and perform experiments in a result-oriented and thorough manner.
  • Ability to perform in-depth and critical data analysis.
  • Ability to supervise PhD students and projects.
  • Potential to contribute to research program development and management.

Personal knowledge and skills

  • A strong interest in inter/multi-disciplinary applied sciences.
  • Demonstrated ability to work efficiently and with minimum supervision.
  • Outcome-focused, hands-on mentality.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to work effectively with team members from different backgrounds and with different tasks.
  • Excellent skills for time, budget and project management and the ability to meet objectives within strictly set deadlines.
  • Good oral and written communication skills in English are strictly required (C1 level).
  • Ability to report the research outcomes to the funding bodies and to communicate in a non-scientific way.
  • Willingness to travel internationally for project meetings and conferences.


  • We offer you a contract of definite duration for the period of 18 months, with continuation depending on developments within the program.
  • Your contract will start on 1/09/2021 at the earliest.
  • Important information: the appointment can also occur as a bursary, in case the candidate meets the criteria for this type of employment.
  • Participation to the MELiSSA project from the European Space Agency.
  • Your remuneration will be determined by salary scale PD1 to PD4 (if you hold a doctorate).  Click here for more information about our salary scales.
  • All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 35 days of holiday leave (on an annual basis for a full-time job) supplemented by annual fixed bridge days, bicycle allowance and eco vouchers. Click here for a complete overview of all the staff benefits (in Dutch).


Apply online through the e-recruitment system before the application deadline (see above). We do not accept late applications or applications that are not submitted through the online system.

Your application must include the following documents:

  • In the field ‘CV’: your CV and an overview of your study results (merged into one pdf file). Please include also the name and contact details of three references.
  • In the field ‘Cover letter’: your application letter in pdf format
  • In the field ‘Diploma’: a transcript of the required degree (if already in your possession). If you have a foreign diploma in a language other than our national languages (Dutch, French or German) or English, please add a translation in one of the mentioned languages.
  • In the field “other documents”: references to relevant journals

Note that the maximum file size for each field is 10 MB.

As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.


For more information about this vacancy, please contact us at Important: do NOT send your application by email, but apply online.

Do you have a question? Please read our FAQ regarding the online application process.