PhD candidate in Microbiology

Faculty of Science – Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences

Publication date
21 February 2018
Level of education
Master's degree
Salary indication
€2,222 to €2,840 gross per month
Closing date
21 March 2018
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) is one of the largest institutes of the Faculty of Science. Its approximately 250 scientists and staff members work in 16 research groups that perform excellent research centred on three themes:

  1. Cell & Systems Biology;
  2. Neurosciences, and
  3. Molecular Life Sciences.

Within the Molecular Biology and Microbial Safety group of Prof. Brul, the Industrial Microbiology group of Prof. Hugenholtz investigates the use of microbial fermentation for biobased production of chemicals. In the context of a NWO funded project (in collaboration with the Wageningen University) we are seeking for a PhD candidate who will work on production of alcohols and derivative chemicals from C1-waste gasses.

Project description

The PhD candidate will design (mixed culture) anaerobic fermentations combined with chemical conversion to produce specific, relevant, alcohols and various chemical derivatives such as aldehydes, diols and longer Guerbet) alcohols.


  • Design and Test mixed cultures of homacetogenic and alcohol-producing Clostridia for specific production of C3-C8 alcohols from C1-gasses;
  • combine fermentative alcohol production with chemical conversion to relevant compounds;
  • up-scaling of production process to 100 L or more;
  • develop downstream-processing for efficient extraction of chemicals from fermentation reactor;
  • write 4 or more publications in refereed journals;
  • present at least once a year art International meeting;
  • collaborate with 2 other PhD students, in Wageningen, working on developing successful C1-utilizing cultures and on modelling C1-fermentation processes.   


  • Master's degree in Microbiology;
  • ability to write and present in English;;
  • experience with controlled fermentations;
  • affinity for chemical conversion.

Experience with anaerobic bacteria is preferred.

Further information

For more information, please contact:


The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of 4 years (initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it can be extended to a total duration of 4 years) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. The PhD student is also expected to assist in teaching of undergraduates.

Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,222 in the first year to €2,840 in the last year. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch is applicable.

Job application

Due to limitations in recruitment budget we will only consider candidates that are currently in Europe. Please do not respond if you are not in this continent.

Applications may only be submitted by electronic mail and should be sent to To enable us to process your application immediately, please quote vacancy number 18-079 and the position you are applying for in the subject-line.

Applications must include a curriculum vitae and a  letter of motivation. Please combine these documents in one single attachment and also mention the months (not just years) in your CV when referring to your education and work experience.

Applications will be accepted until 21 March 2018. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam