PhD Sustainable Materials via advanced (enzymatic) polymerizations (1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, City of Talent. Quality has been our top priority for over four hundred years, and with success: the University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is the largest faculty within the University. We offer first-rate education and research in a wide range of science and engineering disciplines, from classical disciplines such as mathematics, astronomy and mechanical engineering, to interdisciplinary fields such as artificial intelligence, pharmacy and nanoscience. Our community has an open and informal character with students and staff from around the world.

The position we offer will be embedded in the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials. The research group Macromolecular Chemistry and New Polymeric Materials is part of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. The group is currently focused on the design, synthesis and characterization of novel tailor made macromolecules as well as on the development of sustainable, eco-efficient and competitive production methods of polymeric materials. By utilizing modern polymer synthesis techniques including biocatalysis and other controlled polymerization methods, our research aims to expand fundamental scientific knowledge towards advanced technologies.

Job description

Polymers designed to undergo controlled biological degradation are increasingly discussed as a favorable contribution to solving the problems arising from plastic waste disposal, e.g., by recycling or land filling. Polycondensates are commercially important polymers but most of them are hardly biodegradable. Some microorganisms exhibit unique adaptions to these xenobiotic compounds which were acquired through natural evolution on various landfills. These are, however, not normal bioorganisms to be found frequently in nature.

In this project, we are aiming to develop polycondensates with better biodegradability but the same physical and mechanical properties as the currently employed polymers. The strategy envisioned is the utilization of natural or nature-like oligomers or polymers as macromonomers in the polycondensate synthesis. The main focus will be on the (enzymatic) polymerization of macromonomer sequences and subsequent postcondensation to polyamides, polyesters or polyurethanes.


You have:
• a MSc degree in chemistry (polymer, organic or equivalent), material science or engineering (or equivalent)
• excellent synthetic skills
• very good polymer characterization and processing skills
• demonstrable affinity with sustainability issues
• good spoken and written English proficiency.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:
• a salary of € 2,325 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 2,972 gross per month in the fourth and final year for a full-time working week
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
• an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
• a position for four years; first, you will get a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years; prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the contract period is to be expected
• a PhD training programme is part of the agreement and you will be enrolled in the Graduate School of the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

The conditions of employment are available at the University of Groningen website under Human Resources:

Do you meet our qualification criteria? If yes, your application should include:
- cover letter
- CV
- contact information for at least two academic references
- transcripts from your bachelor’s and master’s degree.

Please submit your application until 22 August 11:59 pm / before 23 August 2019 Dutch local time (CEST) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Katja Loos

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 219397

Digital application form