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PhD on Development of nanofiltration membranes for selective ion recovery

PhD on Development of nanofiltration membranes for selective ion recovery

available in our research group Membrane Materials and Processes.
Chemical Engineering and Chemistry
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Reference number

Job description

Details of the PhD projects

Reducing nitrogen emissions is an absolute necessity for the Netherlands. About 41% of the nitrogen emissions originate from agriculture, with manure being the largest contributor. Simultaneously, manure streams from e.g. pigs contain large amounts of essential plant nutrients (nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus; N, K, P). For the transition to a circular, sustainable economy, the selective separation and recovery of these nutrients is essential enabling precision fertilization with only animal manure. Current separation methods lack such molecular selectivity at the component level.

The aim of this research is to build host-functionalized polyelectrolyte Layer-by-Layer (LbL) membranes for the selective transport of mobile guest molecules (i.e. the desired nutrients). The first major pillar of the project is the selection and chemical synthesis of the required functional polyelectrolytes. To derive structure-property-performance relationships, the second pillar includes dedicated process performance evaluation of the developed membrane chemistries. This includes fundamental laboratory experiments using ideal solutions with systematically increasing complexity (multicomponent mixtures), but also the testing of the best performing membranes with real pig manure streams and at larger scale (0.1 m2 membrane module area) at the industrial partner sites.

This PhD research is executed within the framework of the NWO-LIFT project ‘No time to waste’. Next to fundamental, academic research, it involves strong collaboration with the associated industrial project partners (Darling Ingredients International, Agrifirm Group, FrieslandCampina, Van Drie Group, Agra-Matic, ForFarmers Nederland).

Membrane Materials and Processes at Eindhoven University of Technology

The research will be conducted at the Membrane Materials and Processes group, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology in close collaboration with the industrial project partners.

The research group Membrane Materials and Processes ( focuses on the design, development, characterization and application of polymer membranes and porous electrodes to control mass transport in sustainable processes. The research combines and integrates materials chemistry, materials engineering and process technology. Application areas are water and energy, with a strong focus on the recovery and reuse of resources, the valorization of waste streams and energy efficiency. ‘Closing cycles’ and ‘value from waste’ are leading themes in the research program. Next to fundamental academic research, application-oriented research in close collaboration with the industry is stimulated.

The Eindhoven University of Technology ( offers academic education that is driven by fundamental and applied research. We combine scientific curiosity with a hands-on mentality. Our educational philosophy is based on personal attention and room for individual ambitions and talents. Our research meets the highest international standards of quality. We push the limits of science, which puts us at the forefront of rapidly emerging areas of research.

Job requirements

  • We are looking for a talented, motivated and enthusiastic researcher
  • Preferably, candidates have a strong background and interest in both chemistry and chemical engineering with experience in physical chemistry or an equivalent at master (MSc) level
  • Candidates should have a scientific attitude combined with a hands-on mentality and interest for application-oriented research at industrial partner locations an pig manure treatment plants
  • Analytical skills, initiative and creativity are valuable properties
  • You are a naturally curious person who is eager to learn more and has a strong interest in research.
  • Excellent communication skills in English are a prerequisite.
  • We prefer candidates with a good team spirit, who like to work in an internationally oriented, social environment.
  • Candidates should have a car driving licence

An interview, a scientific presentation and a writing assignment are part of the selection procedure.

Conditions of employment

  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation after one year.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.

Information and application

More information

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact Kitty Nijmeijer, d.c.nijmeijer[at], phone: +31 (0)40 247 28 71.

For information concerning employment conditions, click here or contact Sandra van de Weijer, HR-advisor, p.j.v.d.weijer[at]

Further information about the research group Membrane Materials and Processes can be found at and more information about Eindhoven University of Technology and the department of Chemical Engineering & Chemistry is available at

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Candidates possessing both suitable experience and qualifications are invited to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page. The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of
    three references.
  • A list of your BSc and MSc courses and grades.
  • Brief description of your MSc thesis.

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it.
Screening will continue until the position has been filled.

Review of applications will start as soon as applications are received and will continue until the position has been filled. Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each.
If necessary, please combine files. Only applications that are submitted in this way are taken into account.