Post-doc position on scale down of fermentation processes

Department/faculty: Faculty Applied Sciences
Level: Doctorate
Working hours: 38.0 hours weekly
Contract: 2 years and 4 months
Salary: 3238 - 4084 euros monthly (full-time basis)

Faculty Applied Sciences

The Faculty of Applied Sciences is the largest faculty of TU Delft, with around 550 scientists, a support staff of 250 and 1,800 students. The faculty conducts fundamental, application-oriented research and offers scientific education at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels. The faculty is active in the fields of Life and Health Science & Technology, Nanoscience, Chemical Engineering, Radiation Science & Technology, and Applied Physics.

The Department of Biotechnology ( concentrates on the multidisciplinary fields of biocatalysis, metabolic engineering, fermentation technology, environmental biotechnology, bioprocess technology, and the role of biotechnology in society.

The section Cell Systems Engineering aims to identify leads for improving the performance of microorganisms in biotechnological applications. To this end model-based approaches are combined with tightly controlled lab scale fermentations and multi-level omics analysis. The ultimate goal is to develop know-how for successful scale up of fermentation processes developed on lab scale.


Job description

Industrial fermentation processes use the power and versatility of nature via microorganisms that produce chemicals and pharmaceuticals from renewable feedstocks. These organisms can very well be engineered as efficient cell factories. However, the gap between the cell environment at lab and production scales often results in inferior performance of microbial production strains in industrial scale fermentors.

We have a vacancy for a Post Doc who will work within a European consortium (TU Delft, University of Stuttgart, University of Liège and two companies). The consortium aims to develop robust and model-based scale-up techniques driven by profound biological and physical understanding to replace conventional, empirical scale-up criteria by predictive modelling and rational design. To this end computational fluid dynamics (CFD) will be applied, linking hydrodynamics with cellular activities (Euler-Lagrange models) to simulate the heterogeneities at large scale. Against this background, lifelines of cells in large scale fermenters will be calculated to investigate their short- and long-term interactions under real production conditions, with an emphasis on substrate and oxygen gradients. Finally, these lifelines will be simulated experimentally in scale-down simulators to study the effects on cellular physiology and productivity, with as final aim to obtain leads for successful transfer of bioprocesses from lab to production scale.


We are seeking a highly capable experimentalist with a PhD degree in Biochemical or Chemical Engineering, which is highly motivated, adventurous and creative, and is willing to push boundaries. Experience with lab and or pilot scale fermentations is desirable. The candidate has experience with mathematical modelling of living cells and their environment (the bioreactor) and preferably experience or affinity with applying mathematical techniques (e.g. extended Kalman filtering) to reconstruct in-vivo oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide production rates from disturbed offgas measurements. Our candidate has an excellent command of the English language, scientific writing and professional communication and team working skills. We expect the candidate to keep good contact with all members of the consortium.

Conditions of employment

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers child care and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Information and application

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Walter M. van Gulik, Ass. Prof., e-mail:

To apply please e-mail a detailed CV and a letter of application to Dr. Walter van Gulik, e-mail:
When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number TNWBT18-046.


Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.


Faculty Applied Sciences
Working hours
38.0 hours weekly
2 years and 4 months
3238 - 4084 euros monthly (full-time basis)

Closing date
Oct. 1, 2018
Vacancy nr.


For more information about the application procedure, please contact: