PhD scholarship in microbial electrosynthesis

Thursday 16 Sep 21

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Apply no later than 1 November 2021
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A 3-year PhD position starting 1 October 2021 is available at the Department of Environmental Engineering (DTU Environment). If you have an interest in microbial electrosynthesis and material science and the integration of the two to address the Environmental Challenges for the Twenty-First Century (e.g., climate change, carbon capture & utilization, and storage of renewable energy), and contribute to circular bioeconomy for the green transition towards a sustainable society, this PhD position could be exactly what you are looking for.

Responsibilities and qualifications
You will participate in a new project granted by Independent Research Fund Denmark, which aims to develop a new integrated sustainable microbial electrochemical technology platform for selective and efficient production of higher alcohols from CO2 and renewable electricity via the interface between microbes and microelectrodes. You will be part of a research team encompassing both nearby colleagues as well as external academic and industrial partners. You will perform a thorough study to optimize system performance, address potential limitations, and to find corresponding technical solutions.

Your primary tasks will be to:

  • Fabricate mechanically stable microelectrodes with well-defined geometry and size using additive manufacturing followed by pyrolysis.
  • Identify the key properties and optimization of material-microorganism interactions to facilitate biofilm formation and electron transfer.
  • Integrate the microbial metabolism and microelectrodes in bioelectrochemical reactor and optimize the system enabling more efficient bioproduction from CO2 and renewable energy.
  • Write scientific papers and present research results at conferences.
  • Work as a teaching assistant in two or three 5 ECTS modules.

You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

Technical Proficiency

  • Solid background in microbiology/bioelectrochemistry.
  • Foundations in biology, physic chemistry, and material science.
  • A keen interest in microbial electrochemistry.
  • Some experience with electrochemistry or biosynthesis.

Soft Skills Requirements

  • Fluent spoken and written English. Minimum proficiency level is B2, C1 is preferred.
  • Self-reliant working style
  • Curious and ambitious personality.
  • Prior research and publication experience is considered a definite plus but is not required.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

Assessment
The assessment of the applicants will be made by Associate Professor Yifeng Zhang from DTU Environment and Associate Professor Stephan S. Keller from DTU Nanolab.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years starting 1 October 2021 (or as soon as possible thereafter). 

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Yifeng Zhang (yifz@env.dtu.dk)

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 1 November 2021 (Danish time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • A recommendation letter (e.g., from the supervisor of your master project)

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Environment is one of the largest university departments specializing in water, environmental engineering and sustainability in Europe. We are working to develop new environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies and disseminate this knowledge to society and new generations of engineers. Our activities within research, education and innovation are focused water, chemicals and resources. The department has app. 185 staff members of more than 25 nationalities.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.