Postdoctoral Researcher in Sustainable Ectoine Production through Methanotrophs and Microalgae

 →   Apply before 28/02/2023 (DD/MM/YYYY) 23:59 (Brussels Time)  
 →  Department: BW25 - Biotechnologie
 →  Occupancy rate:100%
 →  Number of positions: 1    
 →  Type of employment: Contract of limited duration 
 →  Term of assignment: 1 year 
 →  Wage scale:  PD1 to PD4 (doctoral degree) 
 →  Required diploma: PhD 

Vacancy Postdoctoral Researcher in Sustainable Ectoine Production through Methanotrophs and Microalgae


Ghent University is a world of its own. Employing more than 8,000 people, it is actively involved in education and research, management and administration, as well as technical and social service provision on a daily basis. It is one of the largest, most exciting employers in the area and offers great career opportunities. With its 11 faculties and more than 80 departments offering state-of-the-art study programmes grounded in research in a wide range of academic fields, Ghent University is a logical choice for its staff and students.


The Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology (CMET) ( is part of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University, as well as part of CAPTURE ( CMET has over 40 years of experience in the study of applied microbial processes and microbial ecology in the contexts of waste(water) treatment, bioremediation, bioproduction and resource recovery. CMET is well recognized worldwide in its field, and links excellent basic science with application, leading to a high level of peer reviewed outputs besides commercial outcomes, including 7 spin-off companies over time. Reactor and process developments go from millilitre scale to full scale industrial.


A holistic approach to resources recovery from organic waste is critical for a successful bio-based circular economy in which anaerobic digestion for biogas production plays a central role. Currently, biogas is used for electricity production or upgraded to biomethane. In this project, we will consider a novel value chain for biogas towards the production of the high-value bio-based chemical of ectoine, using a consortium of methanotrophic bacteria and microalgae or “methalgae”. First, a dual strategy of co-enrichment (top-down) and co-culturing of selected microalgae and methanotrophic strains (bottom-up) will maximize the potential to establish an effective ectoine-producing methalgae partnership. Next, the methalgae consortia that achieve the highest ectoine productivity and yield will be used for semi-continuous ectoine production and the creation of novel 3-dimensional granular methalgae entities for effective ectoine harvesting.

We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher with keen interest and experience in combining microbial (co-)culturing and enriching of both methanotrophs and microalgae with reactor operation for biogas valorisation towards novel products.


You hold a thesis-based doctorate in science in the domain of Biology or domain of Applied Biological Sciences.

Your PhD dissertation should be based on research regarding environmental or molecular (micro)biology. Alternatively, the candidate should have strong postdoc experience in one of these fields.

  • You are interested in academic and/or project-based research and services;
  • You have excellent laboratory skills in applied microbiology, flow cytometry, microscopy, amplicon sequencing and/or molecular and microbial techniques in general;
  • You have knowledge of one or more of the following topics: water and wastewater treatment, bioreactor operation and bioprocessing, including basic reactor work;
  • You have skills in statistical data analysis, and are keen on developing these skills further. Basic knowledge of R is an asset;
  • You have experience in working with gasses at sterile conditions;
  • You have good scientific writing and communication skills in English (C1 level);
  • You are willing to travel abroad for meetings, workshops or conferences;
  • You are persistent and problem-solving oriented;
  • You are able to work independently, as well as in a team;
  • You are interested and motivated to work in an international team with people from different backgrounds;
  • You have excellent teaching and communication skills;
  • Experience and willingness to help in writing grant applications for research funding is an important asset.


  • We offer you a contract of definite duration for the period of 1 year, renewable after positive evaluation up to 2 years in total.
  • Important information: this appointment can also occur as a bursary, in case the candidate meets the criteria for this type of employment.
  •  Your contract will start on 1/04/2023 at the earliest.
  • Your remuneration will be determined by salary scale PD1 to PD4. Click here for more information about our salary scales.
  • All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 36 days of holiday leave (on an annual basis for a full-time job) supplemented by annual fixed bridge days, bicycle allowance and eco vouchers. Click here for a complete overview of all the staff benefits (in Dutch).


Apply online through the e-recruitment system before the application deadline (see above). We do not accept late applications or applications that are not submitted through the online system.

Your application must include the following documents:

  • In the field ‘Cover Letter’: A cover letter that includes the position reference, your contact address and telephone number. It is an opportunity to introduce yourself and highlight the key reasons you should be considered for the role, taking into account the required skills (max. one page).
  • In the field CV’: Your CV in pdf format that covers the following areas:
    • Educational qualifications and professional affiliations that detail the full title of the qualification, the year awarded and the title of the institution attended;
    • Employment history in chronological order, starting with current position and specifying dates of employment, title of each position, name of employer, main duties or accountabilities and achievements;
    • Research fields and current interests, publications (full list as attachment with three most significant marked with an asterisk, also indicating impact factors and Quartiles according to Web of Science), research grants awarded;
    • The names and contact details (address, telephone, e-mail) of three referees, including, if possible, a senior person (preferably your supervisor, manager or head of organisational unit) closely associated with your current work. A referee must be able to comment on your work experience, skills and performance with respect to the selection criteria.
  • In the field ‘Diploma’: a transcript of the required degree (if already in your possession). If you have a foreign diploma in a language other than our national languages (Dutch, French or German) or English, please add a translation in one of the mentioned languages.
  • In the field ‘Other documents’: A statement addressing how each of the selection criteria has been met (max. one page) is required to assist the Selection Committee determine whether you have the relevant qualifications, knowledge/skills, experience and personal qualities.

Note that the maximum file size for each field is 10 MB.

As Ghent University maintains an equal opportunities and diversity policy, everyone is encouraged to apply for this position.


A Selection Committee will consider all applications and shortlist candidates for interview who appear to meet the selection criteria at the highest levels. They will be invited to attend an interview and the remaining unsuccessful applicants will be notified accordingly.

An invitation to attend an interview provides an opportunity to provide further information to the Selection Committee to substantiate your claims against the selection criteria and demonstrate your capabilities. Please note that the interviews are preferentially conducted by teleconference.

The Selection Committee will subsequently seek referee reports, if not sought prior to interview, before making a decision to make an offer of appointment to the preferred candidate. The purpose of referee checks is to obtain, in confidence, factual information about your past work history, as well as opinions regarding the quality of your work, behaviour in the work place and suitability for the position. Referee reports may be sought orally, or for academic staff, in writing by post or e-mail.

If you are the preferred candidate, you will receive a written offer of appointment to the position. Do not take any action, such as resigning from your current position, before you receive a written offer of appointment.


For more information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. Jo De Vrieze ( Important: do NOT send your application by email, but apply online.