Chemical Engineering postdoc position for CO2 to microbial Protein

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 01 Oct 2023

Are you interested in working at the interface between applied microbiology, bioprocess engineering, microbial biotechnology, and chemical engineering and want to contribute to developing a game-changing biological CO2 to protein process? Would you be excited to work on a high-profile project between several universities (Aarhus University and Washington University in St. Louis) and large Danish companies (Topsoe, Novozymes) with funding from the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Belinda and Bill Gates Foundation? Then the Novo Nordisk Foundation CO2 Research Center (CORC) at Aarhus University invites you to apply for a 2-year position.

Expected start date and duration of employment

This is a 2-year positions from 1 December 2023.

Job description

The project will focus on a new, disruptive biotechnological approach to change how our society produces food, in particular protein, to feed a 10-billion world population. We are pursuing a radically different approach to produce protein from CO2 and electrical energy by using a microbial-, and not plant-based, platform in a two-stage anaerobic microbial fermentation system. Renewable energy is utilized to split water into H2 and O2. Acetogenic bacteria ferment H2 plus CO2 to produce acetate in the first fermentation stage, which is fed into a second fermentation stage to produce many different protein products in aerobic fungi. Shifting from animal-based protein production to efficient and versatile biotechnology-based protein production is required to feed the world.

We are looking for a postdoctoral research associate that can provide engineering solutions through optimization of the integrated two-stage fermentation system. The person would use her/his knowledge on material and energy balances and on first principles to optimize the system within a team of microbiologists, bioprocess engineers, and food scientists. The further development of a techno-economic analysis and a plan for further scale up to a 1,000 liter system would also be part of the opportunities to work on.

Your profile

Qualified candidates would ideally have a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in bioengineering or chemical engineering, or related fields.

This project will have high visibility for the NNF CO2 Research Center and includes pertinent interactions with several large Danish companies and international institutions. The successful candidate is expected to be involved in managing the project, which includes the supervision of bachelor and master students. Furthermore, they will closely interact with collaboration partners. Therefore, very good English language skills are necessary. Other requirements include working independently and in teams, exhibiting excellent management and communication skills, and being self-motivated. The candidates will be able to present their results in international journals and conferences.

Who we are

The Novo Nordisk Foundation CO2 Research Center (CORC) was established in 2022 and is a mission‐oriented center based at Aarhus University. The center’s purpose is to develop novel science for carbon capture and conversions for storage or utilization to replace fossil carbon and fossil fuel‐intensive processes with sustainable, CO2‐based technologies. The Center comprises a number of research groups at Aarhus University and other institutions nationally and internationally. In total, the center encompasses more than 40 researchers. See more

What we offer
  • an excellent research infrastructure, laboratories, and access to shared equipment
  • an exciting interdisciplinary environment with many national, international, and industrial collaborators
  • a research climate encouraging lively, open, and critical discussion within and across different fields of research
  • a work environment with close working relationships, networking, and social activities
  • a workplace characterized by professionalism, equality, and a healthy work-life balance
  • to make a high impact on solving climate change

Place of work and area of employment

The place of work Gustav Wieds Vej 10c, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark and the area of employment is Aarhus University, Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering. The candidates will work in a new laboratory of CORC that is headed by Prof. Alfred Spormann (CORC, Aarhus University and Civil and Environmental Engineering/Chemical Engineering, Stanford University) and Prof. Lars Angenent (Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering, Aarhus University and Environmental Biotechnology, University of Tübingen).

Contact information

For further information, please contact: Prof. Alfred Spormann,

, or Prof. Lars Angenent,


Applications must be received no later than 1 October 2023.

Application procedure

Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants.

Letter of reference

If you want a referee to upload a letter of reference on your behalf, please state the referee’s contact information when you submit your application. We strongly recommend that you make an agreement with the person in question before you enter the referee’s contact information, and that you ensure that the referee has enough time to write the letter of reference before the application deadline.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to ensure that letters of reference received after the application deadline will be taken into consideration.

Formalities and salary range

Technical Sciences refers to the

Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation


The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities .

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.

Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here . Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here .

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here .

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

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