PhD candidate: synthesis and evaluation of biobased copolymers in the EU project CUMERI

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 31 Oct 2022

PhD candidate: synthesis and evaluation of biobased copolymers in the EU project CUMERI
PhD candidate: synthesis and evaluation of biobased copolymers in the EU project CUMERI
Published Deadline Location
17 Oct 31 Oct Geleen

You are a highly motivated researcher with a MSc degree in chemistry, holding skills in polymer synthesis. You are willing to collaborate closely with both public and private partners on the development of biobased copolymers for membranes for gas separations.
Job description

This project is part of the European project CUMERI (Customised membranes for green and resilient industries) with 16 partners from both the public and the private sector.

Increased energy and resource efficiency in industrial sectors is paramount to build a resilient and sustainable future. In this context, the CUMERI project will develop and demonstrate advanced and customised membrane separation systems in two key industries: in the steel sector where H2 will be recovered and CO2 captured in one comprehensive system, and in the O&G industry where a two-step liquid filtration system will enable base oil and additives recovery from used lubricant oil.

The task of Maastricht University is to make bio-based and recyclable polymers for membranes for CO2 permeation, building further on the polyether-block-polyamide copolymer chemistry developed earlier in our labs. The role of the PhD student will be the synthesis and design of biobased copolymer precursors that can be processed into membranes with improved mechanical, thermal and permeation properties, as well as the chemical and physical polymer characterization. Recycling of the membrane polymers via chemical and enzymatic ways will also be studied. The PhD student will work closely together with Technalia in Spain who will use the developed polymers in order to process them into membranes. Based on their feedback, the synthesis work will be tuned. The candidate will also transfer its knowledge to partners responsible for upscaling of the polymers.

The PhD student will be appointed at the Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials of Maastricht University, which is part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. 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.

  • 30.4—38 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • Geleen View on Google Maps

Maastricht University (UM)


The PhD student

  • holds a MSc degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or related fields; 
  • has skills in polymer synthesis and characterization. Experience with polycondensation is a pro;
  • has a strong interest to investigate structure-property relationships of the synthesized copolymers for membrane applications;
  • is open to scale up polymers for membrane processing and application tests by project partners;
  • aims at helping to create ready-to-market products from the insights gained during the PhD study – in balance with profound scientific publishing in peer review journals;
  • likes to interact with academic and industrial partners;
  • 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
  • We offer a rewarding career at a young university in the heart of Europe, with a distinctly global perspective and a strong focus on innovative research and education;
  • We offer a 4-year full-time appointment as a Ph.D. candidate. The first year will be a probation period; after a positive assessment, the position will be extended for another 3 years.  Start date is foreseen for 1 December 2022;
  • Remuneration will be according to standard salary levels for Ph.D. students starting with a salary of €2.541,- with a yearly growth to €3.247,- gross a month, based on a full-time appointment (38 hours/week);
  • On top of this, there is an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance;
  • We offer an attractive package of fringe benefits such as a reduction on collective health insurance, substantial leave arrangements, an optional model for designing a personalized benefits package, sports facilities that staff may use at a modest charge, and application for attractive fiscal arrangements for employees from abroad;
  • We provide a stimulating, collaborative and interdisciplinary work environment with excellent opportunities for professional and personal development;
  • Maastricht University has an excellent international reputation, and Maastricht itself is a beautiful, open-minded city located in the center of Western Europe.

The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website  > About UM > Working at UM .

Maastricht University

Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 22,000 students and about 5,000 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.

Faculty of Science and Engineering

The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is home to several outstanding departments and institutions covering education and research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as well as the liberal arts and sciences.


The Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (AMIBM) is a department of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) at Maastricht University, located on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen. AMIBM is a European cross-border research institute established by Maastricht University and RWTH Aachen University (Germany), focusing on developing advanced biobased materials. The mission of AMIBM is “ground-breaking conversion of biomass to biobased materials and into product applications”. AMIBM promotes excellent multidisciplinary research in the field of biobased materials, by training Ph.D. 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 molecular and applied biotechnology, organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, polymer physics, polymer engineering, biomedical materials, and sustainability assessment.
AMIBM is embedded in a lively, entrepreneurial, and creative working environment at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen (the Netherlands), one of the largest chemical and materials communities in Europe.

More information: .

Research group Sustainability of Chemicals and Materials.

  • The mission of the research team is to provide suitable instruments and sustainability impact assessments to guide the transition from a fossil-based and linear economy to a biobased and circular economy.
  • We are a young and growing international team of sustainability experts focusing on environmental impact assessment in connection with economic and social impacts.

Additional information

For further information about this PhD position you can contact Katrien Bernaerts, Associate Professor Sustainable Polymer Synthesis (+31 43 388 2636).

Working at Maastricht University

Maastricht University distinguishes itself with its innovative education model, international character and multidisciplinary approach to research and education.

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Application procedure

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. 

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Maastricht University is committed to promoting and nurturing a diverse and inclusive community. We believe that diversity in our staff and student population contributes to the quality of research and education at UM, and strive to enable this through inclusive policies and innovative projects led by teams of staff and students. We encourage you to apply for this position.


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