Ghent University

PhD Student - Department of Green Chemistry and Technology

2023-10-20 (Europe/Brussels)
Save job

About the employer

Ghent University is one of the top 100 universities in the Dutch language area, with more than 44,000 students and 15,000 staff members.

Visit the employer page

Last application date Oct 20, 2023 00:00

Department LA24 - Department of Green Chemistry and Technology

Contract Limited duration

Degree Master's degree in environmental engineering, bioscience engineering, chemical engineering, environmental science, environmental technology or equivalent

Occupancy rate 100%

Vacancy type Research staff

Job description

The Sustainable Systems Engineering (STEN) group of Ghent University welcomes a candidate for a full time PhD position on advancing environmental sustainability and circularity assessment for industrial bio-based systems. The PhD student will be appointed within the framework of the multidisciplinary Horizon Europe project “ESCIB” (Environmental Sustainability and Circularity criteria for Industrial Bio-based systems), including academia, industry and consultancies, funded by the European Commission.

The ESCIB project aims to develop a new dynamic method for assessing the environmental sustainability and circularity of bio-based systems at various levels of technology readiness (low to high TRL). The urgent need to mitigate climate change, to stop biodiversity loss and to move from fossil to renewable resources creates multiple, sometimes conflicting, interests related to the use of biobased resources. There is a need for both new technologies that enable more sustainable use of biobased resources, but also assessment methods that enable a robust and forward-looking impact assessment of existing and new biobased solutions.

In your PhD, you will assist in the development of the ESCIB methodology, contributing specifically to the evaluation of environmental and circular performances of industrial bio-based systems within the
EU. Several sub-objectives can be identified of which the PhD student participates in one or more of these aspects (minimum requirement is the first objective):

  1. The development of dedicated circularity assessment methods for biobased systems.
    Existing circularity metrics based on life cycle thinking do not allow to determine the extent to which material efficiency gains are driven by retaining value, such as reuse or remanufacture, or in contrast are due to downcycling processes, such as energy recovery. In addition, new methods are needed for capturing the potential added value created by cascading use of biobased resources.
  2. The development of impact assessment methods for spatial and temporal explicit land use and land use changes leading to the impacts on climate, biodiversity, water and soil quality.
  3. The development of a prospective methodology to assess environmental sustainability and circularity of biobased technologies at low technology readiness level (TRL) and support in writing guidelines.
    Prospective LCA is a framework that can be used for forward-looking assessment of novel biobased products and technologies. However, consistent guidelines for evaluating emerging biobased systems from a life cycle perspective, and particularly from the circularity perspective, are currently lacking.
  4. Development of a coherent sustainability assessment method for biobased systems (integration of different types of impacts and circularity metrics).
  5. Support in application of the sustainability assessment method to several biobased case studies.

In this PhD position, you will work in close collaboration with other STEN colleagues and international partners of the ESCIB consortium, i.e. PhD researchers and experts at European universities and bio-based companies.

The scientific findings should lead to publications in international peer reviewed journals and should be presented at international conferences.

The start date is planned at January 1st 2024. The duration is 4 years.

Job profile

Candidates are expected to have an (bioscience or chemical) engineering background and/or affinity with sustainability analysis methods, such as life cycle assessment. Knowledge of circular economy, circularity and circularity metrics is also relevant. We are looking for candidates with a critical and analytical attitude and a sense of initiative.
Other profile requirements:

  • You hold a master's degree in environmental engineering, bioscience engineering, chemical engineering, environmental science, environmental technology or equivalent.
  • The degree requirements must be met at the start of the appointment;
  • You have an interest in scientific research;
  • You can operate both independently and in a multidisciplinary team;
  • You have organisational/managerial skills and are highly motivated;
  • You have good writing and presentation skills;
  • You master the English language, written and orally, in an academic context;
  • Having experience with quantitative and/or qualitative research is essential;

Additional plus points:

  • You have experience with LCA software such as SimaPro, openLCA, GaBi, etc., and (social) LCA databases (e.g. ecoinvent, Agribalyse, PSILCA, SHDB);
  • You have experience with the development and comparison of different value chain scenarios;
  • You have experience with circularity indicators;
  • You have experience with process modelling (e.g., Aspen Plus).

How to apply

Send an email to dr. Pieter Nachtergaele ( before October 20th, 2023, with subject ‘PhD application for ESCIB’ and include:

  • CV, study results in a file with name ‘CV surname’
  • Motivation letter in a file with name ‘Motivation letter surname’
  • Contact details (name, phone email) of at least one reference, one reference person

Selection will be based on competences, independent from gender, religion, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation or physical disability.

For more information, please contact dr. ir. Pieter Nachtergaele (

Apply now

Fill out the form below to apply for this position.
Upload your CV and attachments*

*By applying for a job listed on Academic Positions you agree to our terms and conditions and privacy policy.

Furthermore by submitting this application, you consent to us retaining your personal data for up to 3 months for service-related purposes. We prioritize your privacy and will handle your information securely.

Job details

PhD Student - Department of Green Chemistry and Technology
Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 33 Ghent, Belgium
Application deadline
2023-10-20 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2023-10-20 23:59 (CET)
Job type
Save job

More jobs from this employer

About the employer

Ghent University is one of the top 100 universities in the Dutch language area, with more than 44,000 students and 15,000 staff members.

Visit the employer page

This might interest you

3D Printing for Better Healthcare Medical University of Vienna 4 min read
Saving Coral Reefs for Humankind King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) 4 min read
More stories