Post-doc focusing on Lignin Oil Based Performance Additives

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 31 Mar 2020

Post-doc focusing on Lignin Oil Based Performance Additives
Post-doc focusing on Lignin Oil Based Performance Additives
Published Deadline Location
18 Feb 31 Mar Geleen

You are a highly motivated researcher with a PhD degree in chemistry, holding skills in polymer chemistry and polymer processing. You are willing to collaborate closely with both universities and industrial partners on the development of Lignin Oil Based Performance Additives.
Job description

Rising environmental concerns and depletion of petro-chemical resources has resulted in an increased interest in biorenewable polymer-based environmentally friendly materials. Among biorenewable polymers, lignin is the second most abundant and fascinating natural polymer next to cellulose. Lignin is widely available as a major byproduct of a number of industries involved in retrieving the polysaccharide components of plants for industrial applications, such as in paper making, ethanol production from biomass, etc. The impressive properties of lignin, such as its high abundance, low weight, environmentally friendliness and its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and biodegradable nature, along with its CO2 neutrality and reinforcing capability, make it an ideal candidate for the development of thermoplastic blends with different (bio)polymers like polyamides, polyesters and polyolefins.

Proprietary technology has been developed within the ongoing LIBERATE and Lignin RICHES InSciTe projects to produce a crude lignin oil (CLO) from wood and residual lignin from the pulp & paper and biorefinery sectors, respectively. It has recently been demonstrated in the lab that said oil can be readily converted into a thermoplastic material, whilst retaining aforementioned high-value attributes of lignin.

The objective of this project is to evaluate the compatibility and added value of this biobased thermoplastic lignin material for use as a performance additive in various commercial polymers, including polyesters, polyolefins and polyamides. Where required, postmodification reactions on the lignin will be performed in order to meet the goals.

The candidate will collaborate with researchers at both universities and industrial partners, and based on their feedback, the research will be tuned. The candidate is open to upscale successful leads in the InSciTe pilot facilities for application testing by industrial partners.

The post-doc will be appointed at Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (AMIBM) of Maastricht University (UM), which is part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE). You will work in the group of Associate Professor Katrien Bernaerts, which focusses on the synthesis and design of polymer materials with tunable properties and recyclability exploiting the functionality of biobased building blocks. You will operate from the Brightlands-Chemelot Campus in Geleen (Nl), where the labs are located.

  • max. 38 hours per week
  • Geleen View on Google Maps

Maastricht University (UM)


The post-doc

  • The post-doc holds a PhD degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or related fields;
  • has skills in polymer synthesis, characterization and processing (e.g. extrusion). Experience with lignin is a pro;
  • has a strong interest to investigate structure-property relationships of lignin containing polymers in different applications;
  • aims at helping to create ready-to-market products from the insights gained during the post-doc study – in balance with profound scientific publishing in peer review journals;
  • is open for upscaling of novel products or processes to support application tests by industrial partners;
  • likes to interact with academic and industrial partners;
  • is willing to teach for example lab skill sessions in polymer related courses;
  • is result driven, inventive, creative, counts with potential impact, works ‘accountable’ and works with ownership; 
  • masters scientific English for speaking, reading, and writing. Knowledge of Dutch is not required.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 18 Months.

The full-time position is offered for 18 months. The salary will be set in Postdoc salary scale 10 of the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities (between €2.709,00 and €4.274,00 gross per month depending on level of experience). On top of this, there is an 8% holiday and an 8.3% year-end allowance. The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labor Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO), supplemented with local UM provisions. For more information look at the website  > Support > UM employees 


The AMIBM at UM has as a mission is to promote world-class multidisciplinary research and education in the field of biobased materials, by training students with the multiple skills needed to be future leaders in the field, and creating the research breakthroughs that will enable the utilization of sustainable and renewable materials for advanced materials applications.

The multidisciplinary team draws together scientists with expertise in organic chemistry, biocatalysis, lead finding of new biobased blocks, polymer chemistry, polymer physics, polymer engineering, biobased and biomedical materials, tissue engineering, and industrial and medical applications.

Maastricht University is one of the founding fathers of the Chemelot Institute for Science & Technology (InSciTe), together with Royal DSM, Eindhoven University of Technology and the Province of Limburg. InSciTe is a public-private institute for the development and valorization of biomedical materials and biobased materials, with the mission to make materials smarter. From its base in the south of the Netherlands, Chemelot InSciTe rises to the challenges facing our world today: it develops solutions for the sustainable health of an ageing population and for the sustainable production of chemicals and materials. This vacancy is situated in the biobased program which is aimed at optimizing the chain of sustainable raw materials.

Additional information

To apply, please click on the Apply now button and submit:
- Cover letter including your motivation, your relevant experience (referring to the “description of the candidate”, above) 
- CV
- Names and contact data of two people who could provide a reference
- Diplomas/degrees including a grade transcript of previous education 
We will recruit until the position is filled. The selection process commences immediately, but will close when a suitable candidate has been found, even if this prior to the final date of the application window. 
For further information about this post-doc position you can contact Associate Professor Katrien Bernaerts (+31 43 388 2636).

Maastricht University is committed to nurturing an inclusive culture and a welcoming atmosphere. This inclusiveness strategy has resulted in a very diverse representation of nationalities and cultures. We strongly believe that diversity (including, but not limited to nationality, age and gender) of the staff and student population will increase the quality of UM education & research. Fostering diversity and inclusivity creates an academic community where individual talents thrive, and values and differences are cherished. We strongly encourage you to apply if you are qualified for this position.

You can send your application to this e-mail: [email protected]

Apply via postal mail
Apply via postal mail

You can send your application to this e-mail: [email protected]

Don't forget to mention AcademicTransfer and the job number: AT2020.57 in your letter.

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