Assistant Professor Mammalian Cell Culture for Food Applications

Cell BiologyFood ChemistryFood Microbiology
Sep 01, 2023 21:59:00 GMT+00:00
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Job description

Cellular Agriculture (CA) is a new concept in biotechnology that aims to produce meat by producing muscle cells and tissue from animal stems cells rather than from whole animals. CA may enable transformative reductions in carbon footprint, water usage, environmental impact and animal welfare relative to traditional meat production. However, development of sustainable, cost-effective processes for cultivating mammalian cells at the huge scale required to meet a substantial fraction of anticipated global meat demands raises interesting scientific and technological challenges.

Proper understanding of the metabolism, growth, differentiation of stem cells under industrially relevant, scalable process conditions is needed to be able to operate bioreactor cultivation at high volume and high cell density. To address these challenges, TU Delft opens an academic career-track Assistant Professor position on Mammalian Cell Culture for Food Applications. The position will be embedded in the Dutch National Growth Fund CA program ( and based in the Bioprocess Engineering section of TU Delft’s Department of Biotechnology. The section already harbors extensive expertise in mammalian cell culture, advanced bioprocess monitoring, fermentation and process design. The new Assistant Professor will strengthen this expertise by developing a new research line focused on mammalian cell biology and fermentation technology, with the goal to address key challenges in development of sustainable, scalable CA processes.

Research focus:

The focus of the research field to be developed by the Assistant Professor will be on process engineering aspects of large-scale cell cultivation. This would entail a combination of fermentation technology to be able to grow and differentiate stem cells under controlled conditions together with mammalian cell biology for proper understanding, steering and control of the stem cell fate during cultivation. Within the research focus, aspects to be addressed could be: developing or adapting mammalian cells for use of alternative nitrogen sources and sources of growth factors (cell line optimization/engineering; developing high-cell density cell cultures, adapting/influencing both the cells as well as designing and developing fermenter/reactor (cultivation) concepts. An important aspect to be addressed would be to investigate and develop a suitable hygiene regime for production of cells for CA purposes as well as testing cultivating concepts and condition at larger representative scale (up to m3 scale). The Assistant Professor would add to the systematic development of bioreactors and large scale aseptic CA processes and to the development of integral process concepts of CA products based on mammalian cell culture.

The research will be integrated in the national NGF CA program. Within the BPE section, close collaboration is foreseen with the cell culture and data driven process design research group led by Dr. Marieke Klijn, the model-based reactor/fermenter design team led by Dr. Cees Haringa and the biopharmaceutical & food process engineering group led by Prof. Marcel Ottens. Collaboration is also anticipated with specialists on molecular biology, fermentation technology, metabolic engineering/cell factory design, advanced analysis techniques and socioeconomic impact analysis of biotechnological processes based in other sections of the Department of Biotechnology. Within the NGF CA program, close collaboration with other academic program partners is foreseen (WUR, UM).


The successful candidate will develop an own research line in the framework outlined above. This would entail setting up, adapting or extending an (existing) cell culture lab towards the needs specifically for cell culture for CA research and applications. Key would be developing/acquiring a model cell line for research and process development work. Setting up a High Throughput cell culture facility is foreseen where small/medium scale cultivations can be run. Funding acquisition is an integral part of the position, for example within the NGF CA NWO open calls, but not limited to this. The Assistant Professor is expected to participate in further collaborations and build a wider industrial/academic network in the field of CA.

We expect our new colleague to enthusiastically teach and develop courses in the BSc and MSc programmes Life Science and Technology (LST) and/or other relevant programmes on campus, specifically developing courses on CA with a focus on cell culture/cultivated meat, in collaboration with the education work strand of the NGF CA program. In addition, you will supervise BSc, MSc, EngD, and PhD students during their research projects.


Successful applicants can expect a competitive start-up package for their research program, which they should further expand by attracting external research funding. The start-up package includes funding for a PhD position and for suitable lab infrastructure and equipment. In addition, a research technician will be appointed to support cell culture research. Support staff and more experienced colleagues are available at TU Delft to help academic career-track Assistant Professors in building and strengthening their own research programs, to provide administrative support, and act as mentor in discussions on scientific and personal development.


  • PhD in biochemical engineering, biotechnology, food biotechnology or related discipline, with strong knowledge base in process engineering.
  • Relevant postdoctoral experience or experience in the CA industry is a pre.
  • Hands-on experience with controlled bioreactor cultivation of mammalian cells, preferably experience with stem-cell cultivation.
  • Knowledge on mammalian cell biology.
  • Knowledge on high-end advanced analytical techniques for mammalian cell culture (e.g. flow cytometry).
  • Strong affinity with/drive for teaching.
  • Knowledge of the Dutch language or the ability to acquire sufficient Dutch language skills to teach BSc courses. Excellent English language skills.
  • Affinity with research at the interface of academia and industry, and with working in multidisciplinary teams.
  • Ambition and ability to develop world-leading research lines.
  • Ambition and ability to acquire funding, both via competitive individual grants, public-private partnerships and direct industrial funding.

Conditions of employment

This position is offered as an Academic Career Track position (0.8 – 1.0 FTE). During the Academic Career Track, we expect you to grow towards an Associate Professor position within a maximum of eight years, for which a position will be available. With other Academic Career Track colleagues, you will participate in the Academic Career Track Development programme, where you are offered ample opportunities to develop yourself in the areas of Education, Research, Societal Impact & Innovation, and Leadership & Organisation. You will regularly discuss your development and results with senior staff based on a personalized development and performance criteria agreed upon at the start of your Academic Career Track. You will start with a temporary contract that will be converted to a permanent contract no later than 12 -18 months after a positive evaluation, based on continuous confidence in your development potential and fit in the organisation.

Inspiring, excellent education is our central aim. We expect you to obtain a University Teaching Qualification (UTQ) within three years if you have less than five years of teaching experience. This is provided by the TU Delft UTQ programme as part of the Academic Career Track Development programme.

TU Delft sets high standards for the English competency of the teaching staff. The TU Delft offers training to improve English competency. If you do not speak Dutch, we offer courses to learn the Dutch language within three years.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged and you can work partly from home.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service addresses the needs of new international employees and those of their partners and families. The Coming to Delft Service offers personalised assistance during the preparation of the relocation, finding housing and schools for children (if applicable). In addition, a Dual Career Programme for partners is offered. The Coming to Delft Service will do their best to help you settle in the Netherlands.

TU Delft (Delft University of Technology)

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

Faculty Applied Sciences

With more than 1,100 employees, including 150 pioneering principal investigators, as well as a population of about 3,600 passionate students, the Faculty of Applied Sciences is an inspiring scientific ecosystem. Focusing on key enabling technologies, such as quantum- and nanotechnology, photonics, biotechnology, synthetic biology and materials for energy storage and conversion, our faculty aims to provide solutions to important problems of the 21st century. To that end, we educate innovative students in broad Bachelor’s and specialist Master’s programmes with a strong research component. Our scientists conduct ground-breaking fundamental and applied research in the fields of Life and Health Science & Technology, Nanoscience, Chemical Engineering, Radiation Science & Technology, and Engineering Physics. We are also training the next generation of high school teachers.

Click href=””>here to go to the website of the Faculty of Applied Sciences.

Department of Biotechnology

Innovation is crucial to fulfil the potential of industrial biotechnology for sustainable production of fuels, chemicals, materials, food and feed. Similarly, scientific and technological advances in environmental biotechnology are needed to enable novel approaches to water purification, and ‘waste-to-product’ processes, thus contributing to a circular economy. Increased fundamental knowledge encompassing enzymes, microorganisms and processes is essential for progress in this field. The Department of Biotechnology covers this research area and, based on new insights, selects, designs and tests new bio-based catalysts, micro-organisms, and processes. Within the Department of Biotechnology, the Bioprocess Engineering section aims to develop novel concepts for compact, clean and efficient biotechnological manufacturing processes, starting from the fundamental and quantitative knowledge of biomolecular mechanisms, and integrating advanced technological, theoretical and experimental methods.

Additional information

Only for more information about this vacancy, please contact Professor Marcel Ottens, group leader Bioprocess Engineering (

In order to apply, please submit  a detailed CV, letter of application, research statement (1 A4) and education statement (1 A4) via the TU Delft vacancy portal. The research statement should at least include your plans and vision on developing an independent and world-leading research line. The education statement should include at least your vision and ambitions in teaching wihtin the TU Delft context.

Only for more information about the application procedure, please contact Tim Vos, Department Manager Biotechnology (

Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 1 September 2023 via the application button and upload only your motivation and CV.

  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Applying for an exemption for specific research and educational areas is an obligatory part of the selection procedure for this vacancy. This exemption must be obtained from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) before an employment contract is agreed upon. Click d-courses-of-study”>here for more information.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.


Faculty of Applied Sciences


Professors, associate professors, assistant professors and lecturers




38- 40 uur


€ 3.974,00 – € 5.439,00