PhD Position in Quantitative Microbiology

Wageningen University Laboratory of Food Microbiology


PhD Position in Quantitative Microbiology ESR 10

Published on
March 22, 2021

Location Wageningen

End date Sun 30 May 2021

We are looking for

We are looking for an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) (PhD student) with a great interest in quantitative microbiology (ESR 10).

Sustainable food production has become a worldwide priority. Sustainable technologies such as high hydrostatic pressure (HHP), pulsed electric field (PEF), ultrasound (US) and nonthermal plasma (NTP) provide clean-label, nutritious food products and solutions to antimicrobial resistance. This ESR project aims to quantify the decontamination efficiency of sustainable food technologies, and will develop risk assessment models to assess the impact of HHP, PEF, US and NTP decontamination technologies on the public health risk and reduction of food spoilage. The project output will provide product/process designers with quantitative tools to optimally design sustainably produced high quality products.

You will be given the opportunity to work within a network of international partners in the context of the EC-funded Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Innovative Training Netwerk (ITN) TRANSIT ( TRANSIT will train ESRs who will be capable of creating a transformational change to drive utility of sustainable food technologies through an interdisciplinary action. TRANSIT will provide a unique combination of hands-on research training, non-academic placements, summer schools and workshops on research-related and transferable skills by the academic and non-academic partners of the consortium. 


In this ITN consortium, each recruited researcher will be seconded to other beneficiaries and/or to partner organisations for a duration of up to 30% of his/her recruitment period. For this project currently two secondments are planned: 2 months in Wageningen at Food and Biobased Research, 2 months in Wageningen at Unilever, as wells as 2 months in Germany. Also attendance in off-site training events and meetings is expected. All travel is fully funded. Additional family allowance is provided if the applicant can provide evidence of eligibility (marriage (equivalent) and/or dependent children) at the beginning of the appointment. 

We ask

We are looking for an outstanding candidate with the ability to excel in research. The candidate must be eager to learn and gain new experiences. Specific skills needed for the position are:

  • An excellent academic (MSc) record in (food) microbiology, food sciences, food technology;
  • familiarity with quantitative microbiology is considered an advantage;
  • networking and communication skills: you should have a goal-oriented and well-organized personality, you should have the capability to learn rapidly and sustainably;
  • creative researcher, being independent yet at the same time being a team player;
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in English; 
  • willingness to be involved in teaching activities. 
For general information on the PhD programme at Wageningen University, please see:

Eligibility Criteria

As the project is funded within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), researchers can be of any nationality but need to demonstrate transnational mobility. To be eligible applicants must satisfy the requirements that apply to all Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researchers, therefore on the date of appointment (their start date) applicants: 
  • Must not have more than 4 years of research experience; 
  • must not hold a PhD;
  • must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work or study) in the country where the post is based for more than 12 months in the previous 36 months; 
  • must be available to start the PhD in September 2021 and must work exclusively for the project during the employment contract;
  • must (soon) be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree to enrol in the local graduate school.
  • If you are from a non-Anglophone country and you have not completed your higher education with English as the language of instruction, you must have a recognised certificate and the minimum required score (test results may not be older than 24 months at the moment of application) for one of the following tests: i.e., 95 TOEFL iBT (minimum writing score 24, minimum speaking score 23), 6.5 IELTS (minimum of 6.0 in each element), Advanced Cambridge (pass at a Grade C), Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) (passed).

We offer

We offer you a research project with high value in The Laboratory of Food Microbiology which consists of a dynamic international group of food microbiologists; state of the art infrastructure to conduct your research; close national and international collaboration with other researchers, and last but not least, an excellent program to further develop your scientific education leading to a PhD degree, which include dedicated courses, training and interaction with companies that are active all around the globe, including market leaders in food industry.

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our  Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • Working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • paid parental leave;
  • the option to accrue additional holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.
We offer you a temporary position for a period of 1.5 years with extension of 2.5 years after a successful Go-No Go evaluation. We offer you a fully financed research project. Gross salary will consist of a monthly living allowance topped up with a mobility allowance according to Marie Curie guidelines based on a fulltime employment for the first 3 years, followed by a year of payment according to Dutch national PhD salaries. Taxation and Social (including Pension) Contribution deductions based on National and institute regulations will apply (see also Marie Curie Career development information). You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the Best University in the Netherlands for the 16th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad

Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family. Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community pagecontains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues.

More information

Do you want more information?

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Heidy den Besten (Associate Professor), telephone number +31 317483213.
For more information about the procedure, please contact Mrs. Ina Lüttmann, HRM advisor, telephone number +31 317 487701.

Do you want to apply?

You can apply directly using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval. This vacancy will be listed up to and including 30 May 2021.

Equal opportunities 

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information please go to our inclusive webpage  A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.

Selection and Application process

  • Applicants will be reviewed without regard to sex, race or nationality. Applications from female scientists and engineers and ethnic minorities in are particularly encouraged;
  • applicants must fulfil the EC eligibility criteria set by the European Commission (see above);
  • important: to apply, upload a 1-2 page CV (please specify your residence/work place in the last 3 years), 1 page motivation letter (please mention the PROJECT TITLE and briefly address each skill as listed above, and address your research interest in relation to the research project), university transcripts (grades);
  • all other formats and document content (e.g., longer CVs) will NOT BE CONSIDERED for the application process. Email applications will NOT BE CONSIDERED; 
  • by uploading your CV, motivation letter and University transcripts, you agree that this information - while kept strictly confidential - will be processed and stored by Wageningen University for the time span of the recruitment process;
  • include the names and contact information of up to two referees in your application; if possible add letters;
  • selection will be made through structured skill-based review evaluation from CV, motivation letter and grades. After selection for the shortlist, an (online) interview conducted by at least two people (if possible from the TRANSIT network) will follow. Additional information may be requested for the (online) interview;
  • as there are multiple positions available in TRANSIT (, applicants are advised to indicate whether they have applied to or plan to apply to other positions in this consortium.

We are

The Laboratory of Food Microbiology at the Wageningen University studies both positive (fermentation) and negative aspects (spoilage, disease) of micro-organisms in association with food and food products. The knowledge derived from our studies improves the safety and quality of food from primary production to consumption. The Laboratory of Food Microbiology is part of the Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group of Wageningen University and Research.

The Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group is part of Wageningen University and Research where fundamental and applied sciences complement each other. As an important international player, we carry out top-level research and work alongside authoritative partners within the international business world as well as the government on “Healthy food in a biobased society”. We have a crucial role in innovations within the market. Entrepreneurship and professionalism are what define us. In short, we are an interesting, international employer of stature.

The mission of Wageningen University and Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With its roughly 30 branches, 6.500 employees and 12.500 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named Best Employer in the Education category for 2019-2020.

These are the points our employees list as good reasons to come work at WUR: read the 5 reasons to come work at WUR.

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.

Apply now

In your application, please refer to


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