University of Antwerp

Doctoral scholarship holder ecotoxicology PFAS systemic regional approach to assess spatial distribution, transfer, exposure and remediation of widespread pollution in Willebroek, Flanders

2024-07-01 (Europe/Brussels)
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Let’s shape the future - University of Antwerp

The University of Antwerp is a dynamic, forward-thinking, European university. We offer an innovative academic education to more than 20000 students, conduct pioneering scientific research, and play an important service-providing role in society. We are one of the largest, most international, and most innovative employers in the region. With more than 6000 employees from 100 different countries, we are helping to build tomorrow's world every day. Through top scientific research, we push back boundaries and set a course for the future – a future that you can help to shape. 

ECOSPHERE - Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science is looking for a full-time (100%) doctoral scholarship holder in the field of ecotoxicology. The ECOSPHERE research group aims to study both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that are continuously challenged by natural and anthropogenic stressors. Its research focuses on fundamental and applied knowledge at different levels of structural and functional organization to underpin environmental management decisions.

The PhD student will investigate the relative importance of different exposure routes and the effects of environmental conditions on the bioavailability, accumulation, and toxicity of legacy and emerging per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) within the framework of the LIFE project: “PFAS systemic regional approach to Assess Spatial distribution, Transfer, Exposure and Remediation of widespread pollution in Willebroek, Flanders (PFASTER)”.


  • You will work actively on the preparation and defense of a PhD thesis in the field of aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicology of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Lieven Bervoets and Dr. Thimo Groffen.
  • You will collect samples, and identify and characterize legacy and emerging PFAS in terrestrial and aquatic food chains (plants, invertebrates, birds, fish, and small mammals) and you will determine the transfer among trophic levels in simplified food chains.
  • You will be part of the ECOSPHERE research group who has an extended experience on environmental sciences, including the investigation of the environmental impact of PFAS.
  • You will closely collaborate with the other project partners in the LIFE-PFASTER project
  • You will publish scientific articles related to the research project.
  • You will carry out a limited number of teaching and research support tasks for the department of Biology, such as assisting practical teaching sessions and supervising Bachelor, Master and Erasmus-exchange students.
  • The project will offer training, participation to congresses and international collaborations.
  • You prepare a doctoral thesis in the field of biology


  • You hold an Academic Master recognized by the EU in one of the following disciplines: biology, biochemistry, environmental sciences, or related fields, or you will have obtained it by the time you start work.
  • Students in the final year of their degree can also apply.
  • Outstanding academic study performances according to ECST grading scale and recognized by the EU.
  • Foreign candidates are encouraged to apply.
  • Your teaching competences are in line with the University of Antwerp’s educational vision.
  • Your research qualities are in line with the faculty and university research policies.
  • You act with attention to quality, integrity, creativity, and cooperation
  • You have excellent oral and written English communication skills, have an inquisitive mindset, and have strong interpersonal skills. Knowledge of Dutch (or willingness to learn on short notice) is a plus.
  • Knowledge of Dutch (or the capability to learn on short notice) is a plus.
  • Flexibility and team spirit in an international research environment.
  • It’s a plus if you hold a driver’s license (valid in Belgium) or are willing to obtain one in the beginning of the project
  • It’s a plus if you you hold a FELASA C certificate or are willing to obtain one during the project

What we offer

  • We offer a doctoral scholarship for a period of two years. Following a positive evaluation, the scholarship can be renewed for another two years.
  • The planned start date is 1 September 2024.
  • Your monthly scholarship amount is calculated according to the scholarship amounts for doctoral scholarship holders on the pay scales for Contract Research Staff (Dutch: Bijzonder Academisch Personeel, BAP).
  • You will receive ecocheques, Internet-connectivity allowance, and a bicycle allowance or a full reimbursement of public transport costs for commuting.
  • You will do most of your work at Campus Groenenborger in a dynamic and stimulating working environment.
  • Find out more about working at the University of Antwerp here.

Want to apply?

  • You can apply for this vacancy through the University of Antwerp’s online job application platform up to and including July 1 2024 (by midnight Brussels time). Click on the 'Apply' button, complete the online application form and be sure to include the following attachments: a strong motivation letter, a detailed academic CV, and two recommendation letters or contact information of two scientific references.
  • The selection committee will review all of the applications as soon as possible after the application deadline. As soon as a decision has been made, we will inform you about the next steps in the selection procedure. Interviews of the candidates, after a preselection by the selection committee, will take place  end of August, beginning of September 2024.
  • If you have any questions about the online application form, please check the frequently asked questions or send an email to If you have any questions about the job itself, please contact Prof. Dr. Lieven Bervoets (  and Dr. Thimo Groffen ( ) with as email subject “LIFE-PFASTER vacancy”

The University of Antwerp received the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award for its HR policy. We are a sustainable, family-friendly organisation which invests in its employees’ growth. We encourage diversity and attach great importance to an inclusive working environment and equal opportunities, regardless of gender identity, disability, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. We encourage people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse characteristics to apply.


Doctoral scholarship holder ecotoxicology PFAS systemic regional approach to assess spatial distribution, transfer, exposure and remediation of widespread pollution in Willebroek, Flanders
Prinsstraat 13 Antwerpen, Belgien
2024-07-01 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2024-07-01 23:59 (CET)
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