PhD position Protein engineering novel enzyme reactions in MSCA-DN BiodeCCodiNNg (DC4)

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 11 Jan 2023

PhD position Protein engineering novel enzyme reactions in MSCA-DN BiodeCCodiNNg (DC4) (V22.0880)
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Job description

The main part of your PhD research (4 years in total) will be carried out at the University of Groningen (RUG, the Netherlands) under the supervision of Assist. Prof. Dr. Sandy Schmidt in the Department of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Biology at the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy. Within these four years, two academic research stays (in total 10 months) will take place at the University of Graz (UG, Austria) under the supervision of Prof. Karl Gruber, and at the University of Zagreb (UZAG, Croatia) under the supervision of Prof. Zvjezdana Findrik Blažević. Additionally, an industrial secondment at the company AstraZeneca (Gothenburg, Sweden) is foreseen. The Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) – Doctoral Network (DN) project starts in January 2023. The date of recruitment and start of the PhD project is planned for May 2023 and latest in December 2023. Your PhD degree will be awarded based on successful completion of the research work from University of Groningen (RUG, the Netherlands). You will also be required to participate in the training events and workshops organized by the DN program. As a MSCA fellow, you are also expected to contribute your time in the dissemination of your PhD project’s result through public engagement and other scientific platforms.

The PhD research will focus on:

(i) Interdisciplinary project on biocatalysis, structural biology and chemistry
(ii) Evaluation of substrate- and reaction scopes of novel nitrogen-nitrogen bond forming enzymes,
(iii) Solving the crystal structures of relevant enzymes and elucidating reaction mechanism (1st academic secondment),
(iv) Protein engineering and assay development,
(v) Characterization studies and preparative-scale reactions (2nd academic secondment),
(vi) Up-scaling of relevant reactions (industrial secondment).

Primary supervisor: Dr. Sandy Schmidt ( , )

Recruiting institution: University of Groningen (the Netherlands)

  • an outstanding M.Sc. degree in Biological chemistry, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Chemistry or related field
  • eligible as a graduate student at University of Groningen (the Netherlands)
  • research experience in molecular biology (molecular cloning, DNA/RNA extraction, PCR, gel electrophoresis), analytical methods (HPLC, GC, MS, NMR etc.), biochemistry (e.g. protein production and characterization) and microbiology (cultivation, induction of gene expression, knowledge of sterile working etc.)
  • ability to work in an international team
  • inter- and multidisciplinary thinking
  • high motivation
  • an integrative and cooperative personality with excellent communication and social skills
  • fluency in English – written and oral.


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Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

  • a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,247 gross per month in the fourth and final year
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
  • an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and participation in a pension scheme for employees
  • first, a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

The 1.0 FTE appointment is temporary for a specified period of four years. The preferred starting date is between May 1st and July 1st 2023. The conditions of employment:


To apply for the position, kindly provide:

(i) a letter of motivation including a statement of your research interests, relevant skills and experience and an explanation for the choice of position(s)
(ii) a CV including publication list (if applicable);
(iii) names and contact details of three referees willing to write confidential letters of recommendation;
(iv) copies of relevant diplomas including explanation of international grades.

Please upload applications only according to instructions at

Address applications to: Dr. Sandy Schmidt

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:
Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

You may apply until 10th of January 11:59pm / before 11th of January 2023 Dutch local time (CET) for this position by means of the electronic application form on the project website ( ).


For information you can contact:

  • Dr. Sandy Schmidt, for more information about the project or questions about the position,

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

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