Novo Nordisk Foundation PhD student in Pilot-Scale Two-Stage Fermentation for the Production of ρ-coumaric Acid

Updated: 6 months ago
Deadline: The position may have been removed or expired!

DTU Chemical Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark invites applications for a position as a PhD student in a project entitled Pilot-scale two-stage fermentation for the production of ρ-coumaric acid.

The position is part of the FBM Initiative, which is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.The FBM Initiative is a collaboration between DTU Chemical Engineering, DTU Bioengineering, and the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability. It offers research-based education in Fermentation Based Biomanufacturing for Master- and PhD- students, and professionals. 
This position will be hosted at DTU Chemical Engineering and is one of seven PhD student positions available for the FBM PhD program this year.

This position will be placed in DTU Chemical Engineering, PROSYS section working with process modelling and design, with a particular focus on bioprocesses. The section has a total staff of approx. 70, of which 11 are faculty.

Responsibilities and tasks
The purpose of this project is to further explore the generic concept of two-stage fermentation for chemical production. In this project the concept will be extended by implementation of integrated product recovery, so as to overcome toxicity limits which currently restrict scale-up. ρ-coumaric acid will be used as a test product. In this project you will: 

  • Develop a suitably stable production host for two-stage operation
  • Evaluate the limits to operation (and compare with a suitable economic model)
  • Develop a suitable downstream recovery process, overcoming the toxicity limit
  • Test the concept at pilot scale

While the project is primarily based at DTU Chemical Engineering (Prof John M Woodley), it will involve close collaboration with DTU Biosustain (Prof Alex Toftgaard Nielsen) and CysBio ApS.

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree in engineering (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree in engineering.

We are looking for a candidate with a solid background in:

  • Small-molecule downstream product recovery 
  • Bioprocess scale-up
  • Practical fermentation and molecular biology

We expect that you are an efficient team worker, have good communication skills, and have a critical approach to the formulation and testing of hypotheses. Also, a good sense of humor will be appreciated.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the
DTU PhD Guide

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor John M Woodley and approved by an internal PhD assessment committee.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years. You can read more about career paths at DTU here

Further information

Further information may be obtained from Professor John M Woodley, or +45 4525 2885. 

You can read more about DTU Chemical Engineering at

Please submit your online application no later than 7 August 2020 (local time)
Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include: 

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here )

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

The Fermentation Based Biomanufacturing (FBM) Initiative was founded as a response to the biotech industry’s increasing demand for specialized expertise in the fermentation area. Cutting-edge research, covering all aspects from fundamental physiology of production organisms/cell factories, synthetic biology and metabolic engineering, to scale-up process technology and downstream processing, provides the basis for the specialized FBM Education. The educational activities are developed in close dialogue with industry partners. The FBM Initiative at DTU educates top-candidates at MSc and PhD level, and provides research-based expertise for the biotechnological, chemical, and pharmaceutical fermentation based biomanufacturing industry.

The Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering (DTU Chemical Engineering) conducts research, educates future chemical engineers and provides scientific advice and innovation. The department works across all the core areas of chemical and biochemical engineering, including process modelling and control, bioprocess engineering, thermodynamics, catalysis, product engineering and pilot scale testing of new equipment, processes and products. The department has extensive collaboration with national and international companies. DTU Chemical Engineering has approximately 230 employees, of which 2/3 are scientific staff. The department is located at DTU Lyngby Campus, just North of Copenhagen.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 11,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.

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