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PhD student Organic Chemistry

Who: The PhD student will isolate and develop improved, biobased organic colourants for biobased fibre applications. The colourants will be tested in the polymeric fibre process by material scientist participating as partner in the project ...

10 maanden geleden


Hogeschoollaan, Breda, Noord-Brabant
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
32 - 40 uur
€ 2107 - € 2853 per maand


Who: The PhD student will isolate and develop improved, biobased organic colourants for biobased fibre applications. The colourants will be tested in the polymeric fibre process by material scientist participating as partner in the project.

Challenging work

You will be designing sustainable, renewable colourants with improved quality aspects of lightfastness and intensity as required by the textile industry. The selected approaches include refining natural extracts, encapsulation and novel chemical modification of nanoparticle surfaces with chromophores. The tools of organic chemistry provide great opportunities to adhere molecules to surfaces and nanoparticles. In this way, the properties of such surfaces can be changed as needed, and this is desirable for applications in a variety of non-food applications. This will take place in collaboration with the Laboratory of Organic Chemistry at Wageningen University & Research. The designed colourants will be tested in biopolymers by Maastricht University. Modification and upscaling will take place by Zuyd University of Applied Sciences.

You will be based at Avans in Breda, but you will regularly spend time at Wageningen University (20% of the total project time) and occasionally at Maastricht University and Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. In addition to research, you will be involved in Avans’s Bachelor teaching programme for at least 10% of your time.


The project

The textile and clothing sector accounts for some of the world’s largest-scale economic activities. The European textile industry has taken significant steps in developing sustainable manufacturing processes and materials, for example in water treatment and the development of biobased and recycled fibres. However, the large quantities of harmful and toxic chemicals used remain a serious concern, particularly with regard to the use of synthetic colourants such as the pigments and dyes used to colour textile fibres and fabrics.

Synthetic colourants can provide vibrant, intense, and extremely stable colours, but the detrimental environmental effects represent a serious problem. The limited range of alternative natural colourants available often fails to deliver the desired intensity and lightfastness. They are often also unaffordable. The industrial partners and the branch organisations are actively searching for alternatives and have asked Avans University of Applied Sciences to assist in the development of the colourants. This gave rise to the Beauti-Fully Biobased Fibres project.

The objective of the Beauti-Fully Biobased Fibres project is to develop sustainable and renewable colourants with improved lightfastness and colour intensity for colouration of biobased man-made textile fibres. Avans University of Applied Sciences is joined by Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Wageningen University & Research, Maastricht University and representatives from the textile industry in this project.

The right match

  • You should have an MSc degree in Organic Chemistry or related education with proven affinity with organic chemistry. Experience in synthetizing and/or analysing organic molecules or experience in surface modifications would be an advantage.
  • You are able to do independent lab work, are interested in why molecules behave as they do, and have the confidence to look below the surface in the creation of next-generation advanced molecules and materials. You have affinity with the collaborative nature of this project.
  • You have good written and oral communication skills in English.
  • You have an affinity with supporting students with their work placements, final dissertations or teaching courses.
  • You are curious, dedicated, open and ambitious.
  • You are a flexible team player and you are open for working with several knowledge partners in a project.


1 + 3-year contract - Salaries for PhD students are in line with the international European standard for PhD students. A gross salary of €2107 per month in the first year, rising to €2853 per month in the fourth year.

A training programme is part of the agreement. You and your supervisor will make up a plan for the additional education and supervising that you specifically need. As a PhD student in collaboration with WUR you are given access to the Wageningen Graduate School VLAG; VLAG provides a PhD programme of academic excellence, that will be outlined in a personalised training and supervision programme. This plan also defines which teaching activities you will be responsible.

Additional information

Location: Breda and Wageningen

When: starting February 15st 2018 or as soon as possible

If you think you fit the profile and are interested in starting work at Avans, apply before January 22th 2018, and please note the vacancy number 17/248 when doing so. If you have any questions about the content of this position, please contact Dorien Derksen, professor of Biobased products, on telephone number +31 6 30 49 36 40 or Ralph Simons, director of the Centre of Expertise for the Biobased Economy, on +31 88 525 7609 or +31 6 20 30 13 62.

This vacancy has been advertised both internally and externally. After the deadline, the vacancy will be removed from the website. No rights can be derived from the content of this vacancy. We do not wish to be contacted by agencies in response to this vacancy.


Research group Biobased Products

You will be working for the research group Biobased Products, which is part of the Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy (CoE BBE). Biobased Products responds to questions from the chemical sector and agri-food partners and performs practical research in both sectors. The research group consists of 12 people including the professor and 8 junior and senior researchers. These researchers have different backgrounds such as analytic chemistry, organic chemistry and biology. The researchers are supported by interns and B.Sc. students.

The Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy helps companies reach their biobased ambitions through the development of higher education and carrying out applied research. In that way, CoE BBE provides / produces highly trained professionals who can implement and transform the transition towards a biobased society. Business experts, scientists, teachers and students work together to encourage the knowledge of, education about and research of the biobased economy.