PhD fellow in biorefining

PhD fellow in biorefining: “Protein from green biomass – variation in yield and quality among grass genotypes”

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD scholarship in Plant nutrition and biorefining commencing 1.10.2016 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment
The Plant Nutrition research group at the Plant and Soil Science Section at PLEN focuses on nutrient acquisition and utilization by higher plants and the functions of mineral elements in plant metabolism, plant-environment interactions and the quality of plant biomass for food, feed, bioenergy and biorefinery purposes. Our overall goal is to increase nutrient use efficiency by contributing to development of new crop genotypes and fertilization strategies, the latter incorporating new tools for diagnosis of the nutritional status of plants and soils. We have established advanced technology platforms for high-throughput profiling of mineral elements and their binding forms (speciation) in plants using liquid chromatography ICP-MS and laser ablation ICP-MS. This platform is complemented by state-of-the-art facilities for molecular work at gene and protein level.
Read more here.

Project description
The main focus of the PhD position will be on research and development within protein extraction from green biomass. Special emphasis will be given to characterization of how the yield and quality of extracted protein and storable fibres extracted from green biomass differ among grass and cereal species and how they are affected by the nitrogen supply. Implementation of analytical tools for analysis of the extracted proteins and metabolites will be an integral part of the research. The overall vision is to develop a decentralised, robust and overall optimised pre-treatment process for green biomass for production of animal protein feed and a storable fibre fraction that can be used as substrate on centralised biorefineries.

The PhD fellow will:

  • Develop and validate novel analytical methods based on chromatography and mass spectrometry for analysis of protein extractability and composition in different grass and cereal species
  • Investigate plant biological processes and their interaction with environmental factors, particularly nitrogen supply, affecting protein extractability and composition
  • Apply the developed methods in case-studies aiming at clarifying the potential of green biomass as a source of protein for feed products
  • Play an active role in the BIOVALUE SPIR strategic platform for innovation and research on value added products from biomass (www.biovalue.dk) embracing major Danish Universities and companies and supported financially by Innovation Fund Denmark

Principal supervisor is Professor Jan K. Schjørring, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, jks@plen.ku.dk, Direct Phone: +45 35333495

Job description
The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:

  • To manage and carry through your research project
  • Attend PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Teach and disseminate your research
  • Collaborate and interact with academic and private partners throughout the BIOVALUE platform
  • Work for the department

Formal requirements
The position is available for a 3-year period for applicants holding a relevant master’s degree within Analytical Chemistry, Biology, Chemical/ Biochemical Engineering, Plant or Food Science or similar with good results and good English skills. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications, emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience. Analytical competences within chromatography and mass spectrometry will be positively evaluated. In addition, basic plant biological knowledge is advantageous.

Terms of employment
The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 309,109 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 42,699). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Application Procedure
The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Cover Letter, stating your motivation, competences and background for applying for the PhD project
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any),
  • Full contact details (Name, address, telephone & email) of 1-3 professional referees
  • Applicants whose principal language of instruction during their BSc/MSc was not Scandinavian or English must enclose IELTS or TOEFL test scores

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

The deadline for applications is 15.08.2016, 23:59 GMT +1. Applications received after the deadline for applications will not be considered.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science. You can read more about the recruitment process here.

Questions
For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor professor Jan K. Schjørring, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, jks@plen.ku.dk, Direct Phone: +45 35333495.

General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available here.