postdoctoral research engineer/scientist (0,8-1,0 fte)

in the field of polymer science.

The Challenge
Leading developments and innovations with methods for biopolymer (polyhydroxyalkanoate or PHA) production and recovery, using wastewater and organic residuals as carbon sources, are undertaken within the Wetsus theme Biopolymers from Water. This theme bridges fundamentals in bioprocess engineering and materials science with potential for downstream societal contributions and industrial opportunities from these polymers.

The Biopolymers from Water theme has a vacancy for a Postdoctoral research fellow as part of the EU Horizon 2020 project Agro2Circular. Agro2Circular is with ambition to upcycle residues (plastics and organics) in the agri-food sector. The challenge will be to contribute with developments of methods and process of PHA recovery from biomass.  Research questions relate to factors that influence polymer quality. Contributions within the Agro2Circular project work are expected to offer wider opportunities linked to other Wetsus initiatives in supporting upscaling PHA production using surplus biomass that is produced during wastewater treatment.

The Position
Your research will be hands on and focused on laboratory and pilot scale methods and process with developments and aspiration for innovations in the field of PHA recovery from biomass.  Polymer quality will be assessed with benefit from available equipment and infrastructure at Wetsus as well as with collaborating organizations.  Development of insights will expand on in-house methods and protocols including but not limited to Thermogravimetric Analysis, Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Pyrolysis GCMS, Solution Rheology, and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy.

A goal and expectation will be for scientific contribution with respect to polymer analyses for deepened insights of the polymer quality, in and out of the biomass.  Special interest is with exploiting the polymer behaviour towards optimised recovery methods and improved prospects with scaled up industrial scale production initiatives targeting downstream applications.

You will be an active member in the Wetsus community of multidisciplinary researchers and initiatives with anticipation for, and opportunity to, participate and collaborate within the wider organization.  As an experienced researcher it is expected that you can build on knowledge and ideas, publish in peer reviewed journals, and supervise more junior researchers.

The Profile
You are self-driven, able to work independently, are goal orientated and you work with own initiative and curiosity.  At the same time, these developments entail a consorted team effort and that means that you have an aptitude to cooperate and collaborate.  When you meet the following requirements/criteria:

Please feel welcome to apply.

The Offer
Wetsus undertakes leading edge research and development organised in 20 research themes, in the field of sustainable water technology, and in cooperation with 106 companies and 23 universities. The research takes place at Wetsus in Leeuwarden, with facilities that are equipped with the state-of-the-art. Research topics are defined within the themes and typically championed by PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows. The institute is a melting pot that nurtures cooperative and multidisciplinary research innovations that aim to contribute significantly to solutions for present and looming global water problems.

Wetsus promotes close collaboration between its employees within a large network embracing the public sector, industry, and academic partners. In this project, you will interact regularly with Biopolymers from water theme researchers and member companies/academic participants including Paques Biomaterials, Slibverwerking Noord-Brabant, STOWA, TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, as well as representatives from the local Dutch water authorities. The workplace is in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.

employment offer includes:
– a dynamic research opportunity and a chance to make a difference,
– active collaboration with researchers at Wetsus, participating members, and academic institutes,
– support for further training and career development,
– a fulltime contract position for up to three years with an initial probation period of 2 months,
– possibilities to evolve and be considered for other positions in career development at Wetsus,
– a salary in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities, and your experience,
– a benefits package including f.i. relocation expenses, 35 days holiday/yr (fulltime), and year-end allowance.

How to apply
Applications for the Agro2Circular research postdoctoral fellow position will be accepted until: Nov. 1, 2021.

Please include the following 3 items in your application:
– a motivation letter (not more than 1 page), that links your background and interests to the position,
– your curriculum vitae, including list of publications or other forms of research contribution, and
– contact information for character reference(s), with, ideally, at least one recent formal letter of reference.

Only complete applications received will be considered for evaluation. Send applications to Wetsus, for the attention of the HRM department, by email to:

For other inquiry about this position contact the theme leader for Biopolymers from Water: Dr. Alan Werker (

The interviews will be held in the first weeks of November 2021. The expected starting date for this position is January 2022.

Acquisition in response to this advertisement is not appreciated