Quick facts

    • Wageningen
  • Full time
  • Recruitment


  • Environmental science


  • Phd

Apply by: 2024-06-03

PhD position in Multiplex receptor bioassay for the online monitoring of water quality

Published 2024-04-22


Are you a highly motivated and skilled PhD candidate with a recent MSc degree in environmental sciences, biotechnology or related area? Do you have good communication skills, are you a result-driven team player and are you keen to develop yourself in a PhD project? And do you have experience in developing new sensors based on biotechnology? Then this could be the ideal PhD position for you!

You will be part of the BOM, Bioassays for Online Monitoring of water quality, project. This project aims to develop a new multiplex biosensor technology for the monitoring of water quality. The primary goal is to improve usability, accessibility and improve cost-effectiveness of water quality bioassays. The technology, named Receptomics, is based on a flow cell with an array of hundreds of receptors active in a monolayer of living human cells on a square centimetre.

Depending on the type of test, dozens of (water) samples can be analysed per chip which offers opportunities for the development of online monitoring. The results are obtained based on light signals (fluorescence or luminescence). Furthermore, we want to investigate whether yeast cells as alternative host cells can serve for the biosensor, which can simplify various applications for non-specialists.
Your duties and responsibilities include:

  • conversion and optimization of existing and new assays for water quality monitoring;
  • testing the multiplex assay in receptomics format;
  • calibrating the assays by performing laboratory experiments assessing the effects of chemicals to aquatic organisms;
  • performing semi-field experiments to validate the assays for effects on aquatic ecosystems.

You will work here
The research is embedded within the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group of Wageningen University and the Bioscience group of Wageningen Plant Research. You will be co-supervised by Prof. Dr. Paul van den Brink and Dr. Maurice Henquet.


You have:

  • good communication skills and are eager to develop new tools to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life.

You also possess:

  • a successfully completed MSc degree in in environmental sciences, biotechnology or related area, with a strong experimental biotechnology and/or ecotoxicology-related background;
  • experience in laboratory work and experiments;
  • experience in writing scientific English;
  • a desire to contribute to improving the water quality in the Netherlands.

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.


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

  • Partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / 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.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.770 - per month rising to € 3.539,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

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 19th 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.

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 page contains 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 for example helping your partner to find a job, housing, or schooling. Finally, certain categories of international staff may be eligible for a tax exemption on a part of their salary during the first five years in the Netherlands.


Wageningen University & Research

The mission of Wageningen University & 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, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 students and over 150,000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

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


For more information about this position, please contact please contact Prof. Dr. Paul van den Brink, professor at the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group (www.stressecology.eu ), paul.vandenbrink@wur.nl.

For more information about the procedure, please contact Noorien Abbas, corporate recruiter, noorien.abbas@wur.nl

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 3 June 2024. We hope to schedule the first job interviews on 10 and 14 June 2024.

Additional information form
For this position, you must fill in a mandatory form which will allow us to have a comprehensive view of your qualifications and better assess your fit for it. You can access the form using the link below:

Your prompt response will ensure that your application continues to move forward in the evaluation process. We assure you that the information provided will be kept confidential and used solely for this application process.

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. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment.