MSCA-postdoctoral fellowship call 2022: Alternatives to PFAS in water and oil repellent coatings

Updated: 4 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 23 May 2022

Description of the host institution and research group

Are you a doctoral or post-doctoral researcher thinking about your next career move? KU Leuven – Europe’s most innovative university (Reuters) - allows you to work in a first-class research environment. KU Leuven is one of the top universities (42nd ) in the world according to the 2022 “Times Higher Education ” ranking and ranked 7th (1st in Europe) in the 2019 “World’s Most Innovative Universities ” ranking by Reuters.

The research group interfacial and surface engineering research (iR) led by Prof. Veerle Vandeginste is based in the beautiful city of Bruges (west Belgium). Our focus is on the development of new sustainable materials with advanced or smart properties for various applications (coatings, green energy, carbon utilization, electronics, wearables, etc.). The motivation behind our research is driven by the challenge of global warming and finite resources. Prof. Vandeginste has been an independent research fellow at Imperial College London (one of the top 10 universities in the world) and later an assistant/associate professor of chemistry at the University of Nottingham, UK (with multimillion project funding from European Commission, UK research councils and industry).

MSCA postdoctoral fellowship

Postdoctoral Fellowship (PFs) is the new initiative of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (formerly individual fellowship) from the European Commission. The objective of PFs is to support researchers’ careers and foster excellence in research. The Postdoctoral Fellowships action targets researchers holding a PhD who wish to carry out their research activities abroad, acquire new skills and develop their careers. PFs help researchers gain experience in other countries, disciplines and non-academic sectors.

There are 2 subtypes: European Postdoctoral Fellowships (12 to 24 months of duration in Europe); and Global Postdoctoral Fellowships (12 to 24 months outside Europe –outgoing phase- plus 12 months in Europe - returning stage). The fellowship can be extended by up to 6 months placement at a company.

Eligibility criteria

At the deadline for the submission of the final application to MSCA (expected to be in September 2022), researchers:

• Shall be in possession of a doctoral degree, applicants who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will also be considered eligible to apply

• Must not have resided or carried out their main activities in Belgium for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the above-mentioned deadline.

• For European Postdoctoral Fellowships, candidates with any nationality are eligible. For Global Postdoctoral Fellowship, candidates must be nationals or long-term residents of the EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries

• Must have a maximum of eight years experience in research, from the date of the award of their PhD degree, years of experience outside research and career breaks will not count towards the above maximum, nor will years of experience in research in third countries, for nationals or long-term residents of EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries who wish to reintegrate to Europe

• Highly motivated and excellent research track record through publications in the relevant field

• Must be fluent in English (both written and spoken)

Project description

Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are chemicals that are man-made, but have a negative effect on the environment and health. Their frequent use has resulted in heavy pollution. PFAS have water, grease and dirt repellant properties, and they are used in a range of applications, such as non-stick coatings, textiles, lubricants, extinguishing foams, food packaging, and cosmetics. A number of PFAS species, for example perfluorooctane sulfonates (PFOS), perfluoroactanoic acid (PFOA) and GenX substances, have undesirable properties, such as the fact that they do not or hardly degrade in nature, they are toxic, they are very mobile in the natural environment, and they can accumulate in the human body, and in animals and plants. PFAS can affect the immune system, reproduction and development of the unborn child. In addition, PFAS can affect the liver, cholesterol in the blood and can cause kidney cancer. Recently, PFAS pollution was identified in many sites, and investigations are underway. This involves measuring the concentrations of the chemical substances in the soil, groundwater and surface water, the air, food, and in the human body and in animals. Alternatives must therefore be found to replace PFAS with more environmentally friendly products that can still provide the same functions and performance. In this project we focus on alternatives for water and oil repellent coatings.

Do you have a solid background in water and oil repellent coatings during your PhD? Then let’s work together to solve this issue.


EU supports for the recruited researcher in the form of

  • A living allowance
  • A mobility allowance
  • If applicable, family, long-term leave and special needs allowances
  • Research, training and networking activities
  • Management and indirect costs
  • Gross salary of about € 60,000 (depending on family status)

KU Leuven supports the recruited researcher with

  • Personalised support in research proposal writing and application
  • State of the art research infrastructure

How to apply

Are you interested in tackling one or more challenges mentioned in the project description, please send your application to Prof. Veerle Vandeginste ( ), including your CV, letter of motivation and a short research proposal (max. 3 pages) before 23 May 2022. Please write “MSCA-PF application” as the subject of the email. The deadline for the MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowship application is expected to be in September 2022.

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