PhD in Self-Directing Analytical Chemistry

Published on
December 2, 2019
Location Wageningen
Respond Click here to respond

We are looking for

Do you have a strong affinity for both analytical and organic chemistry? Do you take joy in creative processes and are you driven by curiosity? Are you a go-getter?
Then we are looking for you!

We are looking for a PhD student (AIO) who is excited about working at the intersection of fundamental and applied research, performing cutting-edge surface chemistry, and applying it directly to improve food-safety analysis.
In recent years, substantial research has been performed towards getting chemical analysis out of the lab and into the field: bringing the lab to the sample. Key drivers are to improve testing efficiency as well as empowering non-specialists such as consumers to test their own food, water, etc. However, on-site analytical chemistry is limited by the lack of robust sampling, extraction and sample preparation methods, especially if the envisioned on-site testing is to be performed by a non-specialist. This PhD project aims to develop smart and portable devices that will overcome this barrier.
In this challenging project, the PhD-student will work on modifying cellulose membranes with stimuli-responsive materials to control the membrane wettability as a function of the analyte, to achieve a self-steering effect. This novel concept will then be applied in collaboration with the Wageningen Food Safety Research institute to develop portable sensors for food-borne contaminants. In order to bridge the gap between the surface chemistry and the application in food safety, the PhD student will also be working with computer-aided design (CAD) software and 3D-printing to design, produce and optimize portable microdevices.

We ask

  • You are highly driven and extremely curious. “Why?” is a question you often ask, both inside and outside of science;
  • you have a MSc degree (or equivalent) in Analytical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, or a relevant Chemistry-related field;
  • you have strong background in experimental science and solid hands-on experience in organic synthesis and/or analytical chemistry, as well as a strong interest (or preferentially experience) in 3D design and printing;
  • you must have a good understanding of chemical principles to be able to design and synthesize stimuli-responsive modifications for cellulose membranes, as well as of physical principles to understand how these affect the fluidics in capillary-pressure-driven systems;
  • you aim to excel, and your biggest talents are creativity, persistence and being inquisitive;
  • you are a team-player and have good written and oral communication skills in English (minimally IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL 90);
  • only applications that clearly show these facets will be considered. 

We offer

We offer you a temporary position for a period of 1.5 years with extension of 2.5 years after successful evaluation. Gross salary per month € 2325,- in the first year rising up to € 2972,- per month in the fourth year.

In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented;
  • use the sports facilities on campus.

Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for own initiative in a learning environment.

We offer a versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

More information

More details about the position can be obtained by contacting Dr. Gert Salentijn, assistant professor of analytical chemistry, via For more information about the contractual aspects, please contact Mrs. Nicole de Vries (HR advisor), e-mail, telephone number +31 317 485677.

You can apply on line at: up to and including 27 December 2019.

We are

The Organic Chemistry group ( constitutes a large, interdisciplinary research team involved in teaching and research on organic chemistry, with an emphasis on surface-based reactivity. Our group excels in the field, and aims to continue to do so. The team consists of around 20 PhD students and postdocs, a permanent staff of 7 technical employees, three part-time professors with external expertise, 7 assistant and associate professors and one full-time chair (many of whom have received highly competitive national and ERC personal grants). The laboratory is extremely well-equipped with a unique set of analysis instruments for bio-organic materials and surfaces. In addition to this, the embedding within Wageningen University & Research adds ample biological input into our focus on modified surfaces and functional materials. Currently ca. 1700 students/year take part in one or more Organic Chemistry study elements provided by our faculty.

The mission of our University is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialized research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With approximately 30 locations, 5,000 employees, and 10,000 students, it is one of the leading organizations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen.
Equal opportunities employer
We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their race, sex, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation or age.

Agencies are kindly requested not to respond.

Apply now