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.
More information here.