PhD scholarship µFlow Cell
1 - Working at the VUB
For already 50 years, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel has stood for
freedom, equality and connectedness. These values are strongly present on our
campuses, in our students as well as our staff. At the VUB, you'll find a
diverse collection of personalities: pure innovators and especially people
who are 100% their authentic selves. With about 3.500 employees , we are
the largest Dutch-speaking employer in Brussels , an international city
with which we are all too happy to be connected, and around which our four
campuses are located.
Our education and research are grounded in the principles of free research
with an eye on human progress. We disapprove of every purely authoritative
argument and guarantee the free formation of judgement that is necessary for
this basic principle to be incorporated in the community.
The VUB is autonomous and managed democratically. As such, we guarantee
fundamental freedoms within our university, as well as the right of the
university community to be involved in making and checking university policy.
The mission of the university includes:
the development, the transfer and the application of high-standing
academic education and scientific research, free from any prejudice;
community integration of this in a spirit of social compassion;
critical development of everyone in light of the responsibilities borne in
2 - Position description
The Faculty of Engineering , Department Chemische ingenieurstechnieken
en industriële scheikunde , is looking for a PhD-student with a doctoral
More concretely your work package, for the preparation of a doctorate ,
µFlow Cell is a multidisciplinary research group of the VUB that works on the
upscaling of microfluidics for pharmaceutical, biotechnological or medical
µFlow Cell is recognized and supported by VUB as a Group of Excellence in
Advanced Research (GEAR). The group has a number of research lines that are
further developed with the financial support of the Brussels Government via
Innoviris, the Flemish Government via FWO and VLAIO, the European Union via
Horizon Europe, or through direct collaborations with interested companies.
To support the activities of µFlow Cell, VUB is also building a new cleanroom
(MICROLAB) for microfabrication in silicon and glass for microfluidics. The
cleanroom is under construction and will be operational in the first half of
2023. MICROLAB will have a floorspace of 550 m², of which 300 m² will be
equipped with the most advanced machines for every essential production step
µFlow Cell is now looking for a PhD student who will participate in the
project 'Vortex enhanced liquid chromatography for HbA1c monitoring based
diabetes management in a globalized setting (VortexLC)'. This research is
supported by the European Union as a prestigious Pathfinder project. The
project will be carried out in a multidisciplinary research team with groups
from VUB, UZ Brussel, Joanneum in Austria, NCSR Demokritos in Greece and the
French company Coating Plasma Innovation. The PhD student will work
specifically on the development of a unique technology called vortex
chromatography, in which electroosmotoc flows are used to induce lateral
vortices in a chromatographic column, enabling complex separations at reduced
pressure. It is a promising technique for the separation of blood and the
accurate measurement of all hemoglobin variants. Since the method can be
performed at low pressure, it also opens the door for implementation of the
instrument in a ponit-of-care setting. With the help of the project partners,
the aim is to manufacture these columns from a polymer, using nanoimprinting
and plasma technology, a process that could ultimately be applied roll-to-roll
on an industrial scale.
The doctoral student will at least be responsible for following tasks.
• Construction of new experimental setups, ensuring their good functioning
through proper maintenance.
• Interact with other researchers and potential suppliers to continuously
improve the setup.
• Independently conduct experiments on these setups.
• Design, analyse and report experiments.
• Interaction with other academic and industrial research groups.
• Prepare and possibly attend technical meetings with internal or external
• Maintain order, safety and quality in his/her workspace.
For this function, our Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering Campus
(Elsene) will serve as your home base.
3 - Profile
What do we expect from you?
The candidate has a degree of Master in Physics, Chemistry, Bioengineering,
Electronics, Electromechanics, Electricity, Materials Science,
Microfabrication, Masters in Engineering or Industrial Engineering, or
The candidate can present good study results.
The ideal candidate already has a first hands-on experience in research
and development in an industrial and/or academic environment. The
following additional technical/functional knowledge is appreciated.
• Knowledge of microfluidics is a plus.
• Familiarity with lab and/or cleanroom environment is a plus.
• Candidate must be adept at researching professional literature and patents.
• Excellent knowledge of spoken and written English is essential, knowledge of
Dutch and/or other languages is a plus.
• ICT: excellent knowledge of basic software packages Excel, Word, Outlook,
Powerpoint, use of machine software are essential. Knowledge of Solidworks or
similar CAD program, Matlab, Labview, PLC is a plus.
For this position we expect the following personality.
• Eager to learn: urge to quickly acquire and maintain in-depth knowledge in a
very specific field.
• Sense of initiative and flexibility.
• Strong in scientific analysis and reporting.
• Working with high self-imposed standards for quality and accuracy.
• Able to work both autonomously and in a team.
• Strong in multi-tasking.
• Hands-on mentality.
• Willing to occasionally work overtime to meet specific deadline.
Candidate will be supervised by Prof. Wim De Malsche.
At the start, the candidate will have one or two colleagues who can support
him/her technically. He/she will work in a group of 15-20 researchers.
You have not performed any works in the execution of a mandate as an
assistant, paid from operating resources, over a total (cumulated)
period of more than 12 months.
4 - Offer
Are you going to be our new colleague?
You'll be offered a full-time PhD-scholarship , for 12 months (with a
maximum total of 4 years) months (extendable up to max. 48 months, on
condition of the positive evaluation of the PhD activities), with planned
starting date 01/09/2022.
You'll receive a grant linked to one of the scales set by the government.
IMPORTANT: The effective result of the doctorate scholarship is subject to
the condition precedent of your enrolment as a doctorate student at the
At the VUB, you're guaranteed an open, involved and diverse workplace where
you are offered opportunities to (further) build on your career.
As well as this, you'll enjoy various benefits:
Full reimbursement for your home-work commute with public transport
according to VUB-policy, or compensation if you come by bike;
Cost-free hospitalisation insurance ;
The space to form your job content and continuously learn via VUB LRN;
Excellent facilities for sport and exercise ;
Delicious meals at attractive prices in our campus restaurants ;
An open, family-friendly work environment where attention is paid to work-
life balance, and exceptional holiday arrangements with 35 days of
leave (based on a fulltime contract).
5 - Interested?
Is this the job you've been dreaming of?
Send us ONLINE and at the latest on 15/08/2022 your CV, letter of
motivation and the highest degree you've attained (not applicable for VUB
Do you have questions about the job content? Contact Prof. Dr. ir. Wim De
Malsche at Wim.De.Malsche@vub.be or on +32 (0)2 629 3781.
Would you like to know what it's like to work at the VUB? Go to
www. vub.ac.be/vacatures and find all there is to know about our
campuses, benefits, strategic goals and your future colleagues.