Business developer Biomolecules - Synthesis & Processing (EN)

Updated: 9 months ago
Deadline: 16 Dec 2019

Ghent University is seeking an entrepreneurial and dynamic staff member to facilitate the value creation based on our research in the field of biobased economy.
For its liaison with industry, UGent uses a network of specialized business development centers, funded by the Industrial Research Fund (IOF), and backed by a central Technology Transfer Office. In this way, UGent is committed to stimulating the commercialization of innovative knowledge and technology.

The business development centers group complementary research departments by application domain or research expertise. Key technology transfer activities include industrial collaboration programs, IP licensing and spin-off creation.


The business development center Biomolecules wants to focus on the application-oriented research domain of bioproduction and bioproduct modification. It wants to market both the underlying technologies and the biomolecules themselves in the Ghent region and beyond. The focus is on the industrial and urban environment, with conversions that mainly start from by-products and products that find their use in various sectors such as chemical industry and food. Finally, the BD center wants to become a "one-stop-shop" for companies active in the field of biomolecules. This center is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Ir. Korneel Rabaey.

Job description

Your most important tasks consist of:

  • Identifying new technologies and commercializing innovative research results within the Biomolecules domain. This involves making R&D deals, licensing agreements or facilitating the establishment of spin-offs;
  • Setting up (research) collaborations with industry and supporting and monitoring industrial research programs (e.g. via Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO), the EU, etc.);
  • Identifying, consolidating and following up strategic partnerships with economically relevant players in the market that have added value for the consortium;
  • Creating value by stimulating and supporting internal partnerships within the business unit aimed at developing new technology platforms;
  • Stimulating and supervising technology development and valorization (IP, industrial proof-of-concept, marketing, etc.);
  • The internal organization of the business unit in close collaboration with the coordinator (vision, strategy, project and financial management, …);
  • Profiling the consortium at national and international level with companies and governments, through seminars, workshops, website, events, etc., with the aim of developing partnerships.

  • You have a sound scientific knowledge of (bio) chemical production processes, including the (molecular) biotechnology at the base, or the bio-based economy.
  • You hold a doctoral degree or have relevant work experience in one of the following domains: biotechnology, chemical conversions, process development or related domains
  • You have 3-5 years of relevant industrially-oriented work experience, with respect to at least two of the following aspects:
    • research and technology transfer in general;
    • intellectual property rights and marketing thereof by concluding licenses;
    • business development in a business-to-business environment or academy-to-business environment;
    • R&D and project management;
    • establishing multi-partner consortia in the framework of industrial research programs (European, regional, …);
    • the establishment of spin-offs.
  • Experience or training in the following elements is an asset:
    • experience in project management and the contractual aspects of research projects and research transfer projects;
    • experience in marketing, prospecting for new partners, conducting PR and developing professional networks;
    • experience in establishing and coordinating cross-domain and multidisciplinary structures
    • experience in setting up strategic partnerships.
  • You have an affinity with both the academic and business sectors and can deal expertly with projects independently and as part of a team while ensuring timely delivery;
  • You have an entrepreneurial mindset, are diplomatic and work in a result- and service-oriented manner;
  • You have strong communication skills and you are representative and flexible;
  • You have built up a (international) network in the field.

Our offer

This position involves a contractual appointment of indefinite duration. We offer you solid career prospects in the context of a stimulating employment status, which will largely depend on your knowledge and experience.

Additional information

Please submit your application letter with detailed resume by no later than 16/12/2019. This letter must be sent to the Chairman of the IOF Council, Prof. Freddy Haesebrouck via .  The job interviews will take place on Monday, January 20, 2020 between 13h30 and 16h30.  

IOF-Consortium Biomolecules

Bioconversions are of increasing importance within the context of a circular economy. In addition to the traditional raw materials of agricultural origin (e.g. lignocellulose), large carbon flows are also available in an industrial context (e.g. CO2). The Ghent region is traditionally strong in biotechnological conversions of such raw materials into higher-quality products.

A production process from biomaterials can be based on three pillars: Modification of a production organism, development of the bioproduction process and chemical modification of the resulting biomolecules. This consortium brings these three pillars together and in this way creates a platform that ensures the optimal conditions for process development and valorization. The diversity of biomolecules that are modified can thus be applied in various sectors, ranging from pharmaceuticals and chemistry, to food and agriculture.

The consortium has the support of 20 professors from four UGent faculties. Bringing the three pillars together within one consortium allows an integrated approach to the market and in this way brings companies that would otherwise not work together within a new process line. A typical example could be the conversion of CO2 from the steel industry to a chemical building block (catalysis) which is then further converted via bioconversion into a higher quality product.

The consortium unites professors from 4 faculties at Ghent University:

  • The Faculty of Bio-Engineering
  • The Faculty of Engineering and Architecture
  • The Faculty of Science
  • The Faculty of Economics and Business Administration


  • Microbial tools: genetic modification, molecular biotechnology, new sequencing approaches, flow cytometry, imaging, bioinformatics (prof. Tom Desmet, prof. Marjan De Mey, prof. Wim Soetaert, prof. Nico Boon, prof. Inge Van Bogaert, prof. Martine Vanhoucke)
  • Technological tools: electrochemistry, bio-electrochemistry, reactor technology, flow chemistry, techno-economic analysis (prof. Korneel Rabaey, prof. Ramon Ganigue, prof. Jo Dewulf, prof. Steven De Meester, prof. Eveline Volcke, prof. Bart De Gusseme, prof. Chris Stevens)
  • Chemical tools: chemical modification, organic / inorganic combinations, micro kinetics, heterogeneous catalysis (prof. Chris Stevens, prof. Sven Mangelinckx, prof. Matthias D’hooghe, prof. Catherine Cazin, prof. Joris Thybaut, prof. An Verberckmoes)
  • Socio-economic and management tools: identification and diffusion of innovation (prof. Katrien Verleye) and integration and flow of innovation into society: interface between sciences and art (prof. Marjan Doom).

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