Pharmaceuticals are essential for human well-being. However, the production and use of pharmaceuticals can harm the environment, for example through the use of solvents and the emission of greenhouse gases in the production phase, and the emission of pharmaceutical residues in the use phase. As a PhD candidate, your research will focus on the development, support, and implementation of a methodology to determine the sustainability profile of pharmaceuticals. 

The EU TransPharm project aims to support the transition towards the production and use of more sustainable pharmaceuticals. TransPharm will develop a new methodology to assess the sustainability of pharmaceuticals over their entire life cycle, building upon existing approaches of lifecycle assessment (LCA) and chemical risk assessment.

The methodology will integrate sustainability aspects related to the design and production of pharmaceuticals with those related to their use and disposal, including risk mitigation measures. The methodology will build upon the latest scientific insights and be specifically tailored to the needs of potential users such as regulators, industry and the health sector.

Specific objectives are:
• To map the value chain of pharmaceuticals, identify environmental impacts and sustainability issues, and decide in collaboration with stakeholders which issues should be included in the integrated sustainability assessment.
• To develop methodological innovations to improve the sustainability assessment of the entire pharmaceutical value chain addressing specific challenges such as scarcity of life cycle inventory (LCI) data, lacking characterisation factors for ecotoxicity, spatial distribution of the value chain, and the inclusion of socioeconomic considerations.
• To integrate innovations for sustainability assessment and demonstrate how this approach can be operationalised in practice, for example in procurement, market approval and production planning.

The above-mentioned tasks will be performed in close collaboration between the two PhD candidates, a postdoctoral researchers on a three-year contract, and several other TransPharm project partners. The division of tasks between the two PhDs is still to be determined, but we expect one PhD candidate to focus on the challenges in lifecycle assessment of pharmaceuticals (e.g. scarcity of life cycle inventory data, the spatial distribution of the value chain, and the inclusion of socioeconomic considerations) and the other PhD candidate more on assessing the ecotoxic impacts of pharmaceuticals (e.g. the development of new characterisation factors). Your teaching load may be up to 10% of your appointment.


  • You hold an MSc in one of the environmental, natural or engineering sciences, in which you preferably have acquired knowledge and skills in life cycle assessment and/or chemical risk assessment. 
  • You have analytical modelling skills, motivation, and good communication skills.
  • A good command of oral and written English is essential.
  • Experience with environmental modelling and data analysis is a plus.

We are

The main focus of the Environmental Science cluster at the Faculty of Science is on quantifying, understanding and predicting human impacts on the environment. In our research we cover multiple pressures, species and spatial scales, searching for overarching principles that can ultimately be applied to better underpin environmental management and biodiversity conservation.

Radboud University:

We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!

We offer

  • It concerns an employment for 1.0 FTE.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,541 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,247 from the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 29 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.

Additional employment conditions

Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University’s primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.

Would you like more information?

For questions about the position, please contact Ad Ragas, Professor at  

Alternatively, you can contact Mark Huijbregts, Professor at

Practical information and applying

You can apply until 21 August 2022, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Ad Ragas. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:

  • A letter of motivation.
  • Your CV.

The first round of interviews will take place in week 34 or week 35. You would preferably begin employment as soon as possible. 

 We can imagine you’re curious about our application procedure. It offers a rough outline of what you can expect during the application process, how we handle your personal data and how we deal with internal and external candidates.

Apply now

Application deadline 21 August 2022

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