Salary: €2.395 - €3.061 per maand

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PhD Candidate: Miniaturised Methane Sensor for Dairy Farming
  • Employment: 0.8 - 1.0 FTE
  • Gross monthly salary: € 2,395 - € 3,061
  • Faculty of Science
  • Required background: Research University Degree
  • Application deadline: 21 November 2021

We are looking for

We are looking for an enthusiast PhD candidate with a technical background to work together with a multidisciplinary team, investigating the potential of new technologies such as integrated photonics for methane measurements, developing and applying an optical sensor for the detection of methane in exhaled breath of cows at user facilities.

We ask

  • A Master’s degree in electrical engineering, physics or a related discipline.
  • Good knowledge of optics, lasers and lock-in techniques or optical chip data acquisition and signal processing; prior experience with spectroscopy and/or miniaturised sensing systems (e.g. photonics technology) is desired.
  • Programming skills (MatLab, Lab view).
  • You should be a team player who enjoys working in multidisciplinary teams.
  • Good communication and organisation skills.
  • Fluency in English is required, basic oral expression skills in Dutch are desirable for communication with users.

We are

The position is within the Exhaled Biomarkers and Exposure Group that is part of the Department of Molecular and Laser Physics at the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM), Faculty of Science. We focus on real-time monitoring of volatile compounds such as biomarkers in exhaled breath of humans, as a signature of their health status. To this end, we are developing and using laser-based spectroscopy systems for targeted volatile compounds and applying mass spectrometry for both targeted and untargeted compounds. Methane is a known greenhouse gas released by various sources, including dairy cows that are producing it through their normal digestive processes. To mitigate methane emission through breading and feeding requires accurate measurements of methane from individual cows. Breath analysis techniques can provide quick and non-invasive measurement of these emissions at the individual level. There is therefore a strong need for reliable gas sensors to generate accurate data based on which decisions are taken to reduce overall environmental impacts of methane emissions from dairy cows. We would like to tackle this need by aiming to investigate the potential of photonics technologies to build and apply reliable and preferably low-cost sensors to analyse methane from cow’s breath. In our group, we have over 20 years of experience with various technologies of gas sensing and their applications in life sciences and data analysis. Furthermore, over the years, we have built a broad network of users of these technologies and technical experts. The PhD project represents Radboud University in the Synergia grant (SYstem change for New Ecology-based and Resource efficient Growth with high tech In Agriculture) awarded by the Dutch Research Council. This involves a national partnership between academia, several institutes and parties from the business community, aiming to build knowledge at the interface of biology, technology and society in order to develop new sustainable strategies for the agricultural sector.

You will be appointed as a PhD candidate at the IMM. This institute is one of the major research institutes of the Faculty of Science at Radboud University, comprising 19 research groups in areas ranging from condensed matter science to organic chemistry and biochemistry. The institute focuses on fundamental research with a view to developing applications for society and educates the next generation of leaders in science and innovation. IMM distinguishes itself from peer institutes through close collaborations and rich interactions between chemists and physicists and/or experimentalists and theorists, and also through its excellent infrastructures.

Radboud University

We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 22,000 students and 5,000 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!

We offer

  • Employment: 0.8 (5 year contract) - 1.0 FTE (4 year contract).
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,395 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,061 from the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • In addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • Duration of the contract: you will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract) or 3.5 years (5 year contract).
  • Your teaching load may be up to 10% of your appointment.
  • The intended start date is 10 January 2022.
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.

Additional employment conditions
Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University’s primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.

Would you like more information?

For more information about this vacancy, please contact:
Simona Cristescu, Assistant Professor

Apply directly

Please address your application to Simona Cristescu and submit it, no later than 21 November 2021, 23:59 Amsterdam Time Zone.

Your application should include the following attachments:

  • Letter of motivation.
  • CV.
The review of applications will start on 23 August 2021 and will continue until the position is filled.

We drafted this vacancy to find and hire our new colleague ourselves. Recruitment agencies are kindly requested to refrain from responding.

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