PhD Position in Bio-purification of Plant Proteins

VU University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science

Are you passionate about microbial physiology and applying it to sustainable food production from plant proteins in an interdisciplinary team consisting of three academic and six industrial partners?  Then apply for this PostDoc position at the VU-Amsterdam


FTE: 0.7 - 1

Job description

Efforts to decrease the carbon footprint of current food production systems include replacement of animal proteins by plant derived proteins. One of the challenges in this field is that plant proteins often contain undesired molecules that can negatively impact digestibility or the taste of plant proteins (so called anti-nutritional factors). Within this project we would like to optimize the activity of microbial cells that degrade and metabolize undesired molecules and thereby improve the quality of various plant proteins. This will be done through optimization of fermentation conditions in combination with experimental evolution of selected strains.

This project is funded by TKI and carried out in collaboration with three academic and six industrial partners. This particular position will work closely together with scientists from NIZO food research, Ede.

Your duties

  • identify approaches for protein bio-purification from literature
  • experimental optimization of fermentative degradation of anti-nutritional factors using diverse microbial species
  • analysis and interpretation of high throughput growth and metabolite data
  • coordinate activities with other knowledge institutions involved
  • presentation of results in regular meetings with industry
  • supervision of bachelor and master students
  • writing of scientific reports/publications


  • PhD degree in microbiology, biotechnology or similar
  • excellent understanding of microbial metabolism
  • at least 4 years experience in a microbiological laboratory
  • affinity with application-oriented research
  • team worker with excellent communication skills

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,794 (scale 10)
and a maximum €4,402 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.7 FTE.

The employment contract will affect a period of 13 months based on a full time employment.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge
  • discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance)

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.


We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 15 February 2021.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: dr. Herwig Bachmann
Position: Project leader

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