Researcher (predoctoral or postdoctoral) in bioreactor technology development, carbon capture engineering, and negative emission technologies

WorkplaceAntwerpen, Flemish Region, Belgium

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Researcher (predoctoral or postdoctoral) in bioreactor technology development, carbon capture engineering, and negative emission technologies

Department: Department of Bioscience Engineering
Regime Full-time

Let’s shape the future - University of Antwer

The University of Antwerp (UAntwerp) is a dynamic, forward-thinking European university. We offer an innovative academic education to more than 20 000 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 help 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. UAntwerp globally ranked 20th in the “Top 50 Universities Under 50 years” (2021). It also appeared in the Reuters top 100 of most Europe’s most innovative universities (2019).

For our BAM! project, the Department of Bioscience Engineering (Faculty of Science) is recruiting a full-time (100%) researcher (predoctoral or postdoctoral) in bioreactor technology development, carbon capture engineering, and negative emission technologies.

BAM! is our ambitious European Commission Horizon 2020 Future Emerging Technology project that aims to develop a novel bioreactor technology for negative CO2 emissions. Negative emission technologies actively sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, thus counterbalancing climate change. To achieve this, BAM! brings the most critical natural CO2 sequestering process on geological timescales, silicate weathering, to a controlled reactor environment. This bioreactor will harness the power of biota to increase CO2 sequestration rates potentially up to 1000-fold. BAM! is coordinated by the Global Change Ecology Centre of Excellence (UAntwerp) and integrates know-how from biology, geology, engineering, and machine learning from expert groups at UAntwerp, imec, Universität Hamburg, Uppsala Universitet, and Wageningen University & Research.

For the bioreactor engineering, the UAntwerp research teams of profs. Siegfried Vlaeminck and Patrice Perreault (Department of Bioscience Engineering, Sustainable Energy, Air, and Water Technology Research Group) will collaborate closely with the other expert teams. The mission of the team of prof. Siegfried Vlaeminck is to develop technologies and tools for more sustainable societies, aiming at a circular and bio-based economy. Prof. Patrice Perreault develops frontier research on topology optimization of turbulent reacting multiphase flows for innovative reactor design.. Negative emission technologies fit in the research philosophy of both research teams. They are also core member of the Microbial Systems Technology Centre of Excellence, the Enviromics valorization consortium, the Blue_App innovation hub for sustainable chemistry, and CAPTURE (centre for advanced process technology for urban resource recovery).


  • You will be the lead scientist and integrator of the technologies and techniques needed in the BAM! bioreactor development, taking the system from its conceptual design to a functional device. The unique reactor concept reconciles three phases (gas, liquid, solid), enabling the weathering power of prokaryotes, fungi, and invertebrates. The bioreactor will have automation with multiple online sensor devices allowing advanced data mining and control via artificial intelligence.
  • You will assist the ongoing research activities of the Sustainable Energy, Air and Water Technology research group; help coordinate project proposals in the field of cleantech and contribute to attracting external funding; assist in the supervision of PhD candidates, other team members, and interns and BSc/MSc students; participate in the provision of academic services, and represent the research group both internally and externally.
  • It is possible to prepare and defend a PhD thesis in Bioscience Engineering, if you do not have a PhD degree and if you wish to obtain this.


  • You are passionate about contributing to sustainable development and climate change mitigation through innovative bioreactor technology.
  • You hold at least a Master degree in bioscience engineering, environmental engineering, (bio)chemical engineering, or a related field of applied sciences (or you will have obtained it by the time you start work). You have demonstrable experience in designing, building, operating bioreactors, or chemical reactors. You are familiar with instrumentation, control, automation, and analytics. Relevant working experience will be an important asset in the selection procedure. Experience in working with international partners is considered an extra.
  • Your research qualities are in line with the faculty and university research policies .
  • You can work autonomously, and you are a team player.
  • You act with attention to quality, integrity, creativity and cooperation.
  • You have excellent communication skills, and you are fluent in English.
  • You can manage your time and budget, keeping the project deliverables in mind.
  • You are willing to travel internationally for project meetings, conferences, workshops and/or research stays.
  • Background knowledge on microbial and invertebrate biology, and/or biogeochemical cycles, negative emissions and ecosystem science is definitely a plus.
  • As you will work together with machine learning specialists, background knowledge on advanced data processing is definitely also a plus.

What we offer

  • We offer a full-time contract as a predoctoral (if you do not have a PhD degree) or postdoctoral (if you have a PhD degree) researcher for 4 years (starting with a contract of 1 year that is extended upon positive evaluation).
  • A competitive gross monthly salary calculated according to the pay scale for an assistant (without PhD) or principal research fellow (with PhD) in the Contract Research Staff category (Dutch: Bijzonder Academisch Personeel, BAP).
  • The planned start date is September 1st 2021 or as soon as possible after that date.
  • You will do most of your work at Campus Groenenborg and/or Campus Drie Eiken in a green, dynamic and stimulating working environment.
  • A flexible work environment that encourages creativity, self-realisation and independent thinking.
  • The opportunity to develop and strengthen personal competencies through professional training moments, courses, and workshops.
  • A unique chance to make a difference and contribute to the development of sustainable biotechnological answers to urgent societal challenges.
  • Find out more about working at the University of Antwerp here .

Want to apply?

  • You can apply for this vacancy through the University of Antwerp’s online job application platform up to and including May 19th 2021 (by midnight Brussels time). Click on 'apply', complete the online application form and don’t forget to include the following document(s): (1) a motivation letter, (2) your academic CV, (3) at least one reference letter.
  • 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.
  • If you have any questions about the online application form, please check the frequently asked questions or send an email to jobs . If you have any questions about the job itself, please contact prof. dr. ir. Siegfried E. Vlaeminck ( siegfried.vlaeminck ).

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.

Excellent HR policy for researchers

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In your application, please refer to and reference JobID 4523.