Postdoc in the development of extracellular conversion of CO2 into functional food ingredients

Published on
July 28, 2022
Location Wageningen
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We are looking for

Are you passionate about solving some of our most pressing challenges? You want your impact to be felt both on terrestrial as well as space applications? You are in luck! The Bioprocess Engineering Chair (BPE) of Wageningen University, The Netherlands, just opened a vacancy for an exceptional, motivated and results-driven postdoctoral fellow within the field of microalgal multiproduct biorefinery and cell-free enzymatic conversion systems.

You will be tackling an innovative project in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) and several European space tech, cell-free and microalgal biotech, as well as novel food ingredient companies. The goal is to mildly recover and employ enzyme-rich microalgal extracts to convert direct-air-captured CO2 into carbohydrates within cell-free systems. Emphasis will be also directed towards using the residual microalgal biomass (functional proteins, lipids, pigments and carbohydrates) for active food and nutraceutical ingredients. You will be performing both lab experiments as well as manage a small team of students, interns and visiting scientists. Moreover, you will apply for further funding, prepare the project reports as well as organize the quarterly communication events. The initial project implementation period is 24 months with the possibility of prolongation based on the obtained results.         

BPE is one of the most influential research groups working on cellular and cell-free biotechnology for food, feed, nutraceutical and platform-molecule applications. The group is leveraging its unique blend of bench-scale cultivation, extraction, purification and analytics, alongside its pilot-scale AlgaePARC research infrastructure. This makes it a one-of-a-kind platform able to directly translate innovative research into industry-relevant technologies.  

We ask

You are passionate about novel extraction systems such as natural deep eutectic solvents, as well as synthetic biology. You have a very strong background in eukaryotic cell-free systems and enzyme catalysis, especially the ones involved in the Calvin cycle. Moreover, you have solid research management experience, are proactive and always bring solutions whenever faced with problems. You are both a team player as well as able to independently draft and execute your research project. You have very strong communication skills  and able to easily bridge the academic and private sectors. The research tasks at hand are very challenging so perseverance and a go-get-it attitude is a must.
What do you bring?

  • PhD in the field of eukaryotic cell-free systems or similar;
  • in-depth knowledge regarding the structure and functionality of Calvin cycle and carbohydrate-generating enzymes;
  • excellent English language proficiency (a minimum of CEFR C2 level). For more information about this proficiency level, please visit our special language page.
 These will further improve your chances:
  • strong synthetic biology background, especially in the field of photosynthesis;
  • experienced in using (natural) deep eutectic systems;
  • proven project management aptitudes;
  • proven grant acquisition record;
  • 1-2 years of postdoc experience in a relevant field.  

We offer

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will of course receive a good salary. Depending on your experience, we offer a competitive gross salary of between €2.960 and €4.670 for a full-time working week of 38 hours, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale 10).

Wageningen University & Research encourages internal advancement opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 17th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.
Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.


More information

Do you want more information?
For more information about this position, please contact Rene Wijffels, by e-mail:
For more information about the procedure, please contact AFSG HR Support by email:

Do you want to apply?
You can apply directly by uploading your CV and motivation letter, using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.
This vacancy will be listed up to and including August 18th 2022. The preferred starting date for this position is September 2022.

Equal opportunities
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.


We are

The mission of Wageningen University and Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 6.800 employees and 12.900 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


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