Postdoc in Plastic Depolymerization (2021-224-03739) (re-advertising)

Department of Chemistry and Bioscience, Faculty of Engineering and Science, Aalborg University
Aalborg (By), Nordjylland (DK)
September 16 2021
Position Type
Organization Type

At the Faculty of Engineering and Science, Department of Chemistry and Bioscience, a position as Postdoc in Plastic Depolymerization is available in the period 1 December 2021 - 30 November 2024 or soon hereafter The position is located within the Section of Biotechnology with working place in Aalborg.

Job description

The postdoc position will focus on the depolymerization of polyesters, as part of a H2020 EU project UPLIFT, studying the bio-upcycling of plastic waste from food and drinks packaging. The project involves 15 partners from all over Europe and will develop scalable bioprocesses for the recycling of mixed plastic waste and multilayers. We will integrate microbial/enzymatic depolymerization, together with bio-based building blocks, following a biorefinery approach. Through eco-design, we will then develop new eco-polymers that are easier to recycle, thus contributing to a more sustainable plastic sector. The best technology will be tested at pilot scale, in order to reach a TRL 6 (

You will be applying protein/genetic engineering to increase the stability and activity of polyester hydrolases, which will be expressed and secreted, both in E.coli and Ideonella sakaiensis. You will test the effect of enzyme immobilization, using different hydrophobic binding domains and evaluate enzyme synergies in simple Synthetic Mixed Consortia. Defined Mixed Consortia will be developed to upcycle residual streams of the hydrolysates. The project will be carried out in collaboration with 2 PhD’s that will work on the degradation of polyolefins and the development of new screening methods. The joint results and technologies will be applied to mixed plastic waste and newly designed eco-polymers. An additional postdoc will be hired later in the project, to develop consolidated bioprocesses.

You are expected to have practical experience with various molecular biology and protein engineering techniques, including the use of bioinfomatic tools. We expect you to run controlled experiments for plastic depolymerization (quantified by HPLC and enzymatic assays), site-directed mutagenesis, transformation and cloning, lab-scale enzyme purification, enzyme immobilization tests, characterization of enzyme activity, etc.

Expertise on running bioreactors, as well as documented skills in scientific dissemination of results are also required.

Limited teaching within the area can be expected.  

The Department of Chemistry and Bioscience consists of five sections of which three are situated in Aalborg with research and teaching in Biotechnology, Applied Chemistry and Biology & Environmental Science. Moreover, one section is located in Copenhagen on Sustainable Biotechnology and one section is situated in Esbjerg on Chemical Engineering. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this project, you will be collaborating with the group of Professor Jeppe Lund Nielsen and Associate Professors Cristiano Varrone.

You may obtain further information about the project from Associate Professor Cristiano Varrone by e-mail: 

Qualification requirements: 

Competences of the successful applicant should include:

  • Research experience in enzymatic PET depolymerization
  • Experience with proteins/genetic engineering to improve enzyme activity/stability
  • Experience with protein immobilization techniques
  • Experience in analytical methods (HPLC, GC, UV, MS, etc.),
  • Complex problem solving skills and critical thinking
  • Ability to work in an international team
  • Inter- and multidisciplinary thinking
  • High motivation
  • Ability to conduct work in a structured and systematic manner and with a high degree of independence
  • An integrative and cooperative personality with excellent communication and social skills

Fluency in English – written and oral

Appointment as Postdoc presupposes scientific qualifications at PhD–level or similar scientific qualifications. The research potential of each applicant will be emphasized in the overall assessment. Appointment as a Postdoc cannot exceed a period of four years in total at Aalborg University.

The application must contain the following:

  • A motivated text wherein the reasons for applying, qualifications in relation to the position, and intentions and visions for the position are stated.
  • A current curriculum vitae.
  • Copies of relevant diplomas (Master of Science and PhD). On request you could be asked for an official English translation.
  • Scientific qualifications. A complete list of publications must be attached with an indication of the works the applicant wishes to be considered. You may attach up to 5 publications.
  • Dissemination qualifications, including participation on committees or boards, participation in organisations and the like.
  • Additional qualifications in relation to the position. References/recommendations.
  • Personal data.

The applications are only to be submitted online by using the "Apply online" button below.

Shortlisting will be applied. After the review of any objections regarding the assessment committee, the head of department, with assistance from the chair of the assessment committee, selects the candidates to be assessed. All applicants will be informed as to whether they will advance to assessment or not.

AAU wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background or belief.

For further information concerning the application procedure please contact HR-partner Lone Lund by mail or phone (+45) 9940 3494.

Information regarding guidelines, ministerial circular in force and procedures can be seen here 


Employment is in accordance with the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities (the Appointment Order) and the Ministry of Finance's current Job Structure for Academic Staff at Universities. Employment and salary are in accordance with the collective agreement for state-employed academics.   

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