Doctoral scholarship holder on filter-feeding kinematics and hydrodynamics in ducks and paddlefish

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 31 Jan 2023

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Within the frame of EU-funded MSCA Doctoral Networks project Nature4Nature , the Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science is looking for a full-time doctoral scholarship holder on filter-feeding kinematics and hydrodynamics in ducks and paddlefish.

Project description

Bioinspiration (including biomimetics and biomimicry) develops novel materials, devices, and applications inspired by biological structures and strategies. The Nature4Nature project brings biologists, engineers, designers and manufacturers together to deliver early-stage researchers (ESRs) teaching in a learning environment that connects the inspiration, integration and implementation aspects of the bioinspiration process to undertake the conceptual, methodological and practical challenges. To do so, the project will collectively focus on biological filtration mechanisms to explore, test and design high-throughput, clog-resisting filtration systems, which could ultimately alleviate the current problems facing aquatic environments. This specific doctoral project will advance our knowledge on in vivo functioning of two promising model systems for bioinspired filtration: (1) cross-step filtration of paddlefish, and (2) tongue-and bill-powered filtration of dabbling ducks. More information on this PhD project and related vacancies can be found on Nature4Nature’s doctoral candidate vacancies webpage .


  • You will work actively on the preparation and defence of a PhD thesis on filter-feeding kinematics and hydrodynamics in ducks and paddlefish. You will publish scientific articles related to the research project.
  • You will primarily work at the laboratory for Functional Morphology  where we investigate how organisms function and evolve. Many of our projects take a mechanistic approach: we try to understand how organismal systems work, i.e. how body parts (primarily of the movement and feeding apparatus) and processes interact.
  • You will carry out secondments of 5 months each at Fraunhofer IWS in Germany and at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in The Netherlands to explore manufacturing options of filter prototypes, for example to add bioinspired backwash, and to validate their effectiveness experimentally.
  • You will carry out a limited number of teaching and research support tasks for the Nature4Nature network.


  • You hold a Master degree in Biology, Physics, Mechanical Engineering, or equivalent. Transcripts of the Master’s degree must be available by the date of the recruitment.
  • You may be of any nationality but must comply with both the HORIZON MSCA Mobility Rule* and Eligibility Criteria*
  • You should have a strong affinity for research on animal morphology, biomechanics, and hydrodynamics.
  • Holding a certificate of laboratory animal scientist (FELASA category B or C equivalent) is a strong plus.
  • 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 are be able to understand and express yourself in both written and spoken English to a level that is sufficient for the completion of a PhD.
  • All qualified applicants, including minorities and woman, are encouraged to apply

* HORIZON MSCA Mobility Rule: Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host organization (Belgium) for more than 12 months in the past 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status are not taken into account.

* HORIZON MSCA eligibility criteria: Applicants may not hold a doctoral degree or equivalent at the start date of the recruitment. Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will not be considered eligible.

What we offer

  • We offer a doctoral scholarship for a period of two years. Following a positive evaluation, the scholarship can be renewed once for another one-year period. In line with University of Antwerp regulations and following a positive evaluation by the doctoral committee, the host institution may provide additional funding for a maximum of 12 months to complete a 4-year doctoral degree.
  • The planned start date is September 1st 2023.
  • Doctoral candidates are offered a competitive remuneration based on the MSCA allowances in line with the MSCA WP 2021-2022 . The gross monthly amount at UAntwerpen corresponds to the amount for doctoral scholarship holders . Moreover, funding is available for technical and personal skills training and participation in international research events.
  • 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 Drie Eiken 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 January 31st, 2023 (by midnight Brussels time). Click on the 'Apply' button, complete the online application form and be sure to include the following attachments:
    • a motivation letter,
    • your academic CV (including followed courses, honours, previous work, programming skills, publications, …),
    • a list and grades of the courses that you took during your studies (Bachelor and Master),
    • contact info of 2 professional referees.
  • 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.
  • 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. Sam Van Wassenbergh, .

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.

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