We are offering a

PhD Position - Digital process development for membrane-based separation of biomolecules


As a leading research institution for microbial biotechnology the Institute of Bio- and Geosciences – Biotechnology (IBG-1) focuses on the development of biotechnological processes for the sustainable bio-based production of pharmaceutical and chemical products. We investigate how microorganisms and isolated enzymes can be used to produce a variety of products from renewable raw materials. IBG-1 is a leading institution in process development for industrial biotechnology with increasingly miniaturized and automated experiments. The institute provides an excellent infrastructure for parallelized lab robotic experiments on microtiter plates. Various analytical methods are available for online and at-line measurements. These are combined with advanced digital technologies for data analysis, modeling, experimental design and process optimization.

Institute issuing the offer
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Your Job:

This EU-funded project is part of the international training network Bio-GENTLE, which will connect professionals of various backgrounds from academics and industry. A unique interdisciplinary approach combines fundamental analysis, experimentation, and mathematical modeling to create a flexible bio-separation platform. A cohort of 12 doctoral candidates will be trained and experience the complete chain from materials properties to process design and evaluation.

More information on the project can be found here:

This specific project (DC7) addresses membrane adsorbers, which have small footprints and can be operated at high flow rates. The combined design of porous structures, functional groups and operating conditions opens a wide portfolio of applications for membrane adsorbers. Numerous impact factors pose a challenge for device characterization and process development. Process models similar to the general rate model for packed bed chromatography will be used for tackling this challenge and exploring the applicability of porous membranes. Digital tools will also be made available for smart operation and control of automated systems. More information on the project can be found here: https://cadet.github.io, https://www.bio-gentle.eu/

Your tasks will include in detail:

  • Familiarize with reduced-order modelling of membrane-based filtration and chromatography processes and CADET simulation software.
  • Acquire knowledge about novel membrane materials and perform experiments required for model calibration.
  • Establish multi-scale model family and extend CADET software for simulating membrane-based filtration and chromatography processes.
  • Design separation processes for selected antibodies and small particles. Apply and optimize ultrafiltration to reach final concentration goals.
  • Perform validation experiments and refine models if required. Combine modelling and real-time simulation with data from on-line sensors for process actuation.

Your Profile:

  • Masters degree in science or engineering
  • Expertise in downstream processing
  • Programming skills, preferably in Python and/or C++
  • Knowledge in parameter estimation and optimization
  • A self-motivated and independent style of working
  • Not in possession of a doctoral degree
  • Not resided, worked or studied in Germany for more than 12 months in the last 36 months (mobility rule)

Our Offer:

We work on the very latest issues that impact our society and are offering you the opportunity to actively help in shaping change. You will learn:

  • In-depth understanding of membrane separations and their operating modes and effects.
  • Integration of membrane separation models into process simulation software.
  • Parameter estimation and optimization techniques for model calibration.
  • Independent research skills and problem-solving in the context of membrane separations.
  • Best practices of research software engineering, including version control, documentation, testing, code review, and software sustainability.

We support you with:

  • An interesting and socially relevant topic for your thesis with future-oriented topics
  • An interdisciplinary collaboration on projects in an international, committed and collegial team
  • Excellent technical equipment and the newest technology
  • Qualified support through your scientific colleagues
  • The chance to independently prepare and work on your tasks
  • A large research campus with green spaces, offering the best possible means for networking with colleagues and pursuing sports alongside work
  • Opportunity to develop your strengths, e.g. through a comprehensive training programme; a structured programme including continuing professional development and networking opportunities specifically designed for Jülich’s doctoral researchers by the Jülich Center for Doctoral Researchers and Supervisors (JuDocS): https://go.fzj.de/JuDocs
  • Targeted services for international employees, e.g. through our International Advisory Service
  • Initial contract for 3 years

In addition to exciting tasks and a collaborative working atmosphere at Jülich, we have a lot more to offer: https://go.fzj.de/benefits

We welcome applications from people with diverse backgrounds, e.g. in terms of age, gender, disability, sexual orientation / identity, and social, ethnic and religious origin. A diverse and inclusive working environment with equal opportunities in which everyone can realize their potential is important to us.

We look forward to receiving your application. The job will be advertised until the position has been successfully filled. You should therefore submit your application as soon as possible.

Apply now

Questions about the offer?

Please feel free to contact us via our contact form.
Please note that for technical reasons we cannot accept applications by e-mail.

You can find helpful information on the application and selection process here. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our FAQs.

Last Modified: 25.01.2024