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Ph.D. Vacancy in chemistry, physics, chemical engineering at Maastricht Uni, Netherlands 2022

The Netherlands

Ph.D. Position in Reduction of Agricultural methane emissions using plasma technology is available for Master’s degree candidates in chemistry, physics, chemical engineering at Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), Maastricht University, Netherlands 2022

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General Info

Position: PhD
No. of Positions: 1
Research Field: , ,
Deadline to Apply: Expired
Joining Date: ASAP
Contract Period: Subject to Norms
Salary: € 2,443.00 - € 3,122.00/month

Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), Circular Chemical Engineering

Maastricht University (UM), the Netherlands


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Qualification Details

  • We seek strong applicants who have a Master’s degree in chemistry, physics, chemical engineering, or other similar engineering or science disciplines
  • Prior knowledge of plasma chemistry, optical spectroscopy, laser diagnostics, hydrocarbon chemistry, or photonics is preferred but not essential
  • Demonstrated affinity and ability with research work is preferred
  • Experience with some form of analytical or scientific programming language is beneficial, e.g. Python, R, LabVIEW, Matlab, Mathematica, etc.
  • You have fluency in both written and spoken English
  • You are able to work both independently and as part of a team

Responsibilities/Job Description

The aim of this project is to develop a novel plasma technology for dairy and meat industry to effectively deal with enteric methane emissions. A significant portion (ca. 43%) of agricultural GHG emissions is methane, and most of that (ca. 80%) is produced by enteric fermentation, i.e. by belching cattle. Currently there is no economically feasible way to treat methane that is present in low concentrations, below 1 vol-%. The goal of the project is to develop novel technologies for methane oxidation to less harmful carbon dioxide, thus reducing the GWP of the enteric emissions by 96%. The CANMILK project focuses on developing plasma technology to remove enteric methane emissions inside animal barns and thereby tackling the biggest singular agricultural GHG source. CANMILK is an international collaborative project between multiple industrial and academic partners.

In this project, the PhD candidate will perform experiments to understand the reaction mechanisms of trace-methane removal using plasma discharges. This will be achieved by using gas analysis (e.g. GC, FTIR) alongside state-of-the-art in-situ laser and optical diagnostic techniques (Raman and Thomson scattering). With this combined diagnostic approach, we will be able to map gas composition, density, and temperature throughout the reactor and in-doing so determine local chemical kinetics data. This data will be used to validate chemical kinetic models that are being developed at a partner university.

The successful candidate is expected to perform laboratory experiments to evaluate processes occurring in plasma discharges. Experiments will be performed in our new laboratory, located at Chemelot, 20 km North of Maastricht. You will work independently to collect, analyse, and evaluate experimental data. You will join a small team working on similar (i.e. plasma and spectroscopy) experiments. We expect that you will regularly discuss, share, and present your work with fellow team members, colleagues, collaborative partners, and wider audiences at international conferences. We expect you will write a number of high-quality scientific articles, ultimately culminating in your PhD thesis.

How to Apply?

Application Method: Send Email
Ref. No.: AT2022.163

Application Procedure

In case you are interested you can apply by electronically submitting an application letter and a full curriculum vitae (including names and e-mail addresses of maximum 3 persons who could act as your references), a grade list and possibly copies of papers to [email protected]

Please use the following format for your documents:





Maastricht University is committed to promoting and nurturing a diverse and inclusive community. We believe that diversity in our staff and student population contributes to the quality of research and education at UM, and strive to enable this through inclusive policies and innovative projects led by teams of staff and students. We encourage you to apply for this position.

About the Department/Section/Group

The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is home to several outstanding departments and institutions covering education and research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as well as the liberal arts and sciences.

Circular Chemical Engineering

We are part of the newly created Circular Engineering Department in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Maastricht University. Our research group is uniquely situated in the heart of the Dutch chemical industry at the Brightlands Chemelot campus, 20 km north of Maastricht. Our strong links with industry give excellent opportunity to build collaborations and partnerships, giving good prospects for a future career in industry. Our group has a strong expertise in plasma science, with each of our respective members having an established international reputation for high quality scientific output in the fields of plasma chemistry, plasma modelling, spectroscopy, and laser diagnostics. We have excellent international connections with esteemed laboratories, and we therefore expect the applicant will have the opportunity to work abroad during their PhD.

About the Employer:

Note or Other details

Fixed-term contract: a period of 1 year, which will be extended for another 3 years after positive evaluation.

  • We offer a rewarding career at a young university in the heart of Europe, with a distinct global perspective and a strong focus on innovative research and education
  • The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website > About UM > Working at UM.
  • Your salary would be € 2.443,- gross per month in the first year up to € 3122,- gross per month in the fourth year according to the PhD-candidate salary scale. (Based on a full-time appointment). On top of this, there is an 8% holiday allowance and a 8.3% year-end allowance;
  • We offer an attractive package of fringe benefits such as reduction on collective health insurance, substantial leave arrangements, optional model for designing a personalised benefits package and application for attractive fiscal arrangements for employees from abroad.
  • We offer a full-time employment contract as a PhD candidate. The employment contract will be for a period of 1 year and will be extended for another 3 years after positive evaluation.

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Contact details

More information on this vacancy can be obtained from Tom Butterworth: [email protected]

Or Gerard van Rooij:[email protected]

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