MSCA-Doctoral student in Chemical Engineering on membrane processes for biofuel production

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 02 May 2024

13 Apr 2024
Job Information

Lunds universitet

Lund University, Faculty of Engineering, LTH, Dept of process and life science engineering
Research Field

Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

2 May 2024 - 21:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

Description of the workplace

The Department of Process and Life Science Engineering (PLE) covers a wide range of industrially relevant research, including e.g. plant-based meat analogues, carbon capture and formulation and purification of biopharmaceuticals. The Membrane group at PLE is the most established Membrane Group in Sweden and has with MemLab – the Industrial membrane process research and development centre – an excellent infrastructure to develop and optimize membrane processes from lab to pilot scale. 

The project is part of the Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Doctoral Networks 2022 Mem-Fast - Membranes as Enablers for Future Biorefineries: from Fabrication to Advanced Separation Technologies.  

Subject description

The project focuses on optimizing downstream processing in biorefineries, specifically targeting biofuel production, e.g. bioethanol and biobutanol. A key strategy involves submerging forward and/or hydrophobic pervaporation membranes directly into the fermenter to facilitate continuous fermentation and enhance the concentration of biofuels/biochemicals. Additionally, inducing vibrations in the membrane bioreactor mitigates fouling on the membrane surface, ensuring sustained effectiveness. The optimization of biofuel production processes aims to achieve maximum yield while minimizing energy demands for subsequent rectification processes. The downstream processing is optimized by consolidating insoluble material removal, product isolation, purification, and pre-concentration into only two operational units, thereby increasing overall efficiency. The project also includes techno-economic benchmarking to compare the sustainability and energy demand of the novel hybrid downstream processing concept with current biobutanol and bioethanol production processes, using different substrates as reference points. Anticipated outcomes include the development of an efficient downstream processing concept using biobutanol as a reference system, overcoming current biorefinery challenges, and supporting the potential electrification of biorefinery processing.

Work duties

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties will also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 10%). 

Detailed description of the work duties:

  • Review of available scientific literature on the research topic and presentation in a report/article.
  • Design, construction and modelling of a lab/pilot scale experimental set-up integrating in the membrane process with the fermenter.
  • Integration and optimization of the forward osmosis and/hydrophobic pervaporation with the membrane bioreactor in hybrid process.
  • Techno-economical evaluation of the overall process with focus on energy consumption.
  • Communication of obtained results in the form of publication of scientific articles and at international scientific conferences.

Admission requirements 

A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if the applicant: 

  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

A person meets the specific admission requirements for third cycle studies in Chemical Engineering, Biotechnology, or Food Engineering if the applicant has: 

  • a specialized project of at least 30 second-cycle credits in the subject.
  • a specific degree eg. Master of Engineering, Master of Science or equivalent degree with relevance the subjectfor .

Additional requirements:

  • has not stayed in Sweden or carried out research work at LU or at any other Swedish organization for more than a maximum of 12 months in the last three years.
  • Very good oral and written ability in English, as large parts of the research work will be carried out in English.
  • Experience in practical laboratory work.

Assessment criteria

Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student’s potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following: 

  • Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study.
  • An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.
  • Written and oral communication skills.
  • Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience.
  • Other assessment criteria:

    • Experience of downstream processing, such as membrane processes. 
    • Knowledge of fermentation/biotechnology and relevant analytical techniques. 
    • Experience in building/assembling lab/pilot-scale equipment.
    • Knowledge of modelling and programing skills in e.g. Python C/C++, MATLAB and/or LabView. 
    • Basic knowledge in electronics.
    • Experience in project management

    Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive, and independence, and how the applicant, through experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

    We offer

    Lund University is a public authority which means that employees get particular benefits, generous annual leave and an advantageous occupational pension scheme.
    Read more on the University website about being a Lund University employee Work at Lund University . 

    Terms of employment 

    Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies at LTH consist of full-time studies for 4 years. A doctoral studentship is a fixed-term employment of a maximum of 4.5 years (including 10% departmental duties). Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§.

    How to apply

    Applications shall be written in English and include a cover letter stating the reasons why you are interested in the position and in what way the research project corresponds to your interests and educational background. The application must also contain a CV, degree certificate or equivalent, and other documents you wish to be considered (grade transcripts, contact information for your references, letters of recommendation, etc.).

    Welcome to apply!

    Additional Information
    Work Location(s)
    Number of offers available
    Lunds universitet

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