Assistant Professor in Process Engineering for a CO2 Net-Zero World

Utrecht University Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development


Assistant Professor in Process Engineering for a CO2 Net-Zero World (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)

Job description

The Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University is soliciting applications for a faculty position at the level of tenure track Assistant Professor in the broad area of process simulations for energy and chemical systems. We seek enthusiastic and ambitious applicants with a research interest in multi-scale (technology, process, system) process engineering as a support tool for the energy transition. We are looking for a colleague that can further strengthen our group in terms of research, teaching and representation in relevant international networks.

The broad goal of the institute is to facilitate through science a timely and effective transition towards a sustainable future, and climate change is one of the key sustainability challenges of our time. Limiting global warming to below 1.5 – 2°C at the end of the 21st century, as pledged in the Paris Agreement, requires deep and comprehensive greenhouse gas emission reductions, reaching net-zero around 2050, and becoming thereafter net-negative. This will require the development, improvement and deployment of a vast set of new technologies, ranging for example from electricity production to chemical conversions and separations, to transport and storage of molecules and thermal energy. Within this framework, process engineering is key for understanding how new technologies work – as standalone or within a system – and how they should be further developed. The applicants’ research should build upon process simulation as a means to facilitate climate change mitigation, it should bridge the technology analysis to the process and system level, and it should connect first-principles analysis to applied computation and data science. Examples of the strategic domains that we are targeting include:

  • electrochemical processes for energy conversion and storage;
  • process simulations coupled to Life Cycle Assessment;
  • circular carbon in industry, and
  • evaluating different bio-based chemicals production pathways.

These challenges may be addressed from a theoretical and computational perspective. Experimental work is also encouraged but can only be pursuit in collaboration with other institutes, for example in the context of, but not limited to, the TUe/WUR/UMCU/UU alliance. The Copernicus Institute works in interdisciplinary teams and organizes research around cross-topical themes and sustainability challenges. The position will be embedded in the Energy and Resources group.


As a faculty member of Geosciences, the successful candidate will be expected to start an independent research programme, be an inspiring teacher who enjoys educating the change-makers of the future, and be committed to societal engagement and public outreach activities targeted to improve the institute impact. More specifically, the new Assistant Professor will: supervise (as co-promotor) PhD students and postdocs, teach in the English-based Bachelor's programme Global Sustainability Science and in the Master's programmes Sustainable Development and/or Energy Science, supervise Bachelor's and Master's theses, contribute to the acquisition and execution of externally funded projects, receive coaching for applying to personal research grants. Teaching involves lecturing, individual supervision of internships and research theses, and course coordination. In the first two years the teaching ratio will be 50%; after this period it may vary between 40-60%. You are expected to actively engage in science-science, science-policy, and science-public collaboration and communication.


To be successful in this role, the new Assistant Professor is expected to:

  • hold a PhD in chemical/mechanical/process engineering or in a relevant natural science subject area, possibly with an interdisciplinary track record;
  • have expertise on process engineering applied to climate change mitigation;
  • be comfortable working in inter- and transdisciplinary settings;
  • have experience with and an interest in academic teaching;
  • have a basic teaching qualification or be willing to obtain this qualification within two years after the appointment;
  • have a network for the acquisition of externally funded projects;
  • have a strong record of international peer-reviewed publications;
  • have excellent communication skills and experience in social engagement and public outreach;
  • have excellent English language proficiency. We require a qualification English at C1 level (CEFR or comparable to level 3 of the Lecturer Assessment Grid) or that you are prepared to obtain this level by training;
  • be open to learn Dutch.


We offer a position (0.8 - 1.0 FTE) for 18 months. Upon good performance, according to the faculty’s performance indicators, the position will become permanent after 18 months. Further career development to Associate Professor (level 2) is possible, depending on qualification according to the faculty’s career policy for scientific personnel. The gross salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges between €3,821 and €5,230 (scale 11 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information: working at Utrecht University.

About the organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The Copernicus Institute is part of the Faculty of Geosciences. At the Copernicus Institute, our goal is to have a positive impact on the transition towards a sustainable future. The Copernicus Institute has had an excellent research evaluation in 2021 and the institute takes pride in maintaining its leading position in national and international sustainability research, and by developing new, internationally oriented teaching programmes.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact:
Dr Matteo Gazzani, via


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. Applications should be sent via the ‘apply’ button below and include: a curriculum vitae, a concise statement of future research and teaching interest, a short description of the two/three most important achievements. Moreover, applicants should include names and emails of at least three referees who are ready to provide a reference letter.

The application deadline is

In your application, please refer to


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