University of Antwerp

PhD Plant development and Ecotoxicology Investigation of the bioavailability and effects of legacy and emerging PFAS on terrestrial plants

2023-07-31 (Europe/Brussels)
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The University of Antwerp is a dynamic, forward-thinking, European university. We offer an innovative academic education to more than 20000 students, conduct pioneering scientific research, and play an important service-providing role in society. We are one of the largest, most international, and most innovative employers in the region. With more than 6000 employees from 100 different countries, we are helping to build tomorrow's world every day. Through top scientific research, we push back boundaries and set a course for the future – a future that you can help to shape. 

The Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science is looking for a full-time (100%) doctoral scholarship holder in the field of plant development and ecotoxicology.


  • You will work actively on the preparation and defense of a PhD thesis in the field of plant responses to PFAS under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Els Prinsen and Prof. Dr. Kris Vissenberg.
  • You will build on recent findings in plant ecotoxicological responses to environmental PFAS. You will investigate the bio-accumulation of PFAS in different plant species and plant organs using state-of-the art analytical methods, and aim for detailed mechanistic insights in their toxicology using transcriptomics and proteomics approaches coupled to molecular biology, microscopy and live cell imaging.
  • You will be part of the Integrated Molecular Plant Physiology research (IMPRES) lab, an internationally renowned research group known for its contributions to the understanding of plant growth mechanisms and their responses to changes in the environment.
  • You will publish scientific articles related to the research project.
  • You will carry out a limited number of teaching and research support tasks for the Department of Biology, such as assisting practical teaching sessions and supervising Bachelor, Master and Erasmus-exchange students in the group.


  • You hold a Master degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology or related fields, or you will have obtained it by the time you start work.
  • You can demonstrate excellent study results.
  • Foreign candidates are encouraged to apply.
  • Your teaching competences are in line with the University of Antwerp’s educational vision.
  • Your research qualities are in line with the faculty and university research policies.
  • You act with attention to quality, integrity, creativity, and cooperation.
  • You have excellent programming skills (Python preferred, knowledge of additional programming languages is a plus) and have a keen interest in machine learning, big data analytics, and their application in the life sciences.
  • You have excellent oral and written communication skills, have an inquisitive mindset, and have strong interpersonal skills. You are fully fluent in English.

What we offer

  • We offer a doctoral scholarship for a period of two years. Following a positive evaluation, the scholarship can be renewed for another two years.
  • The planned start date is 1 October 2023.
  • Your monthly scholarship amount is calculated according to the scholarship amounts for doctoral scholarship holders on the pay scales for Contract Research Staff (Dutch: Bijzonder Academisch Personeel, BAP).
  • You will receive ecocheques, Internet-connectivity allowance, and a bicycle allowance or a full reimbursement of public transport costs for commuting.
  • You will do most of your work at Campus Groenenborg in a dynamic and stimulating working environment.
  • Find out more about working at the University of Antwerp here.

Want to apply?

  • You can apply for this vacancy through the University of Antwerp’s online job application platform up to and including July 31 2023 (by midnight Brussels time). Click on the 'Apply' button, complete the online application form and be sure to include the following attachments: a strong motivation letter, a detailed academic CV, and two recommendation letters or contact information of two scientific references.
  • The selection committee will review all of the applications as soon as possible after the application deadline. As soon as a decision has been made, we will inform you about the next steps in the selection procedure. Interviews of the candidates, after a preselection by the selection committee, will take place in September 2023.
  • If you have any questions about the online application form, please check the frequently asked questions or send an email to If you have any questions about the job itself, please contact Prof. Dr. Els Prinsen ( and prof. Dr. Kris Vissenberg ( with as email subject “DOCPRO PFAS and plants.”

The University of Antwerp received the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award for its HR policy. We are a sustainable, family-friendly organisation which invests in its employees’ growth. We encourage diversity and attach great importance to an inclusive working environment and equal opportunities, regardless of gender identity, disability, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. We encourage people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse characteristics to apply.

Job details

PhD Plant development and Ecotoxicology Investigation of the bioavailability and effects of legacy and emerging PFAS on terrestrial plants
Prinsstraat 13 Antwerp, Belgium
Application deadline
2023-07-31 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2023-07-31 23:59 (CET)
Job type
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The University of Antwerp is characterised by its high standards in education, internationally competitive research and entrepreneurial approach.

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