Job description

A 6-month scientific position is available at the RESOURCE Lab, within the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University (UGent) in Belgium. We are looking for a predoctoral researcher to under the following recently funded project, to focus on the link between algal production and biogas production, in order to optimize nutrient flows in European agriculture.

1. Nutri2Cycle – Transition towards a more carbon and nutrient efficient agriculture in Europe

The aim of the Nutri2Cycle project is to investigate optimizations within cropping systems, within animal husbandry and between plant-animal production via optimized management and technologies as well as via the agro-processing intermediaries using an integrated approach to enable the transition from the current (suboptimal) nutrient household in European agriculture to the next-generation of agronomic practices, characterized by an improved upcycling of nutrients and organic carbon. The specific aim of the studentship project is to focus on sustainable techniques for harvesting microalgae cultivated on nutrient-rich liquid agro-effluents.

2. BioDEN – A biorefinery approach to exploit digestate as key feedstock in the energy – nutrient nexus

The BioDEN project aims to create extra revenues for the biogas sector via developing a technology cascade approach for an integrated enhanced biogas production and efficient recovery of nutrients (N, P, K) as novel bio-fertilisers from digestate, mainly through four pillars (i) biogas production via anaerobic digestion (ii) ammonia recovery via stripping and scrubbing (iii) P recovery via precipitation and adsorption and (iv) integrated value chain assessment, including pot trials and scenario analyses. The specific aim of the studentship project is to focus on using recovered ammonia for algal growth.

We are looking for top predoctoral researchers for a 6-month research stay at UGent working on research associated to nutrient recovery using algal systems fed with nutrients from agro-AD. Successful candidates will have the following responsibilities:

  • Carry out your research and deliver the relevant project results in a timely manner.
  • Submission of high quality publication(s) in international journals.
  • Link and integrate with research project of the other PhD students in the group as deemed appropriate.
  • Contribute to group activities as requested by your promoter that are within the remit of the role and the grant, and the associated grade. This may include:
    1. Supporting and collaborating with MSc and other researchers
    2. Assist in other activates in the group as deemed necessary.

Job profile

  • The candidate should fulfil the following requirements:
  • Have a MSc degree in Agriculture Engineering, Biosystems Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Biotechnology or similar.
  • Have previous experience on European projects from Horizon and/or Interreg programmes.
  • Have worked previously in Europe in Nutri2Cycle partner countries.
  • Have prior knowledge in algae cultivation on residual streams, algae harvesting (prior experience with bioflocculation is desirable) and techniques for algae characterization.
  • Have knowledge in the use of basic software (Office package).
  • Have knowledge on basic statistical analysis (ANOVA, Comparison of Means, etc).
  • Have a high level of proficiency in English sufficient to communicate effectively with colleagues and write papers and reports.
  • Be a good practical problem solver / have the ability to find appropriate solutions to academic and technical problems.
  • Have the ability to work as a member of a team within a dynamic research group.
  • Proficiency in English is a prerequisite ; language proficiency in either Dutch (regional language Ghent University) or Turkish (in support of the EU-Turkish research project BIODEN) are considered as a plus.

We Offer :

We offer a 6-month funded PhD scholarship starting anytime between 1st September 2022 and 1st October 2022. We offer approx. €2150 per month net based on a full working week (38 hours).

Candidates will have the opportunity to work within a stimulating research environment within the RESOURCE Lab with interdisciplinary team comprised of agricultural and environmental engineers, soil scientists and agronomists, where many international collaborations are foreseen.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted by no later than 20th May, 2022, enclosing the following documents:

  • A cover letter outlining your motivation and prior research experience.
  • A detailed CV and publication record.
  • Your MSc degree.

Applications need to be submitted via email with subject ‘Research position in nutrient recovery through algae’ to Prof. Erik Meers ( ) and Marcella Fernandes De Souza (

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