Postdoctoral Researcher / Research Fellow, Anaerobic Bioprocess and Biogas Engineering, Microbiology, School of Natural Sciences, NUI Galway: Ireland

Expressions of interest are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a full-time, fixed term position as a Postdoctoral Researcher or Research Fellow with the discipline of Microbiology at the National University of Ireland, Galway. This position is funded by the Science Foundation Ireland and is available from 1/5/2018 to initial contract end date of 30/4/2020. There is opportunity for extension subject to project success and funding acquisition.

The project is funded by the SFI Research ProfessorshipInnovative Energy Technologies for Biofuels, Bioenergy and a Sustainable Irish Bioeconomy (IETSBIO3), which aims to carry out an ambitious research program on fundamental and applied research and development for new energy production processes from organic wastes in support of providing a self-sufficient Irish energy sector. The successful candidate(s) will work within an academic team to elucidate and optimise the microbiological pathways involved in the anaerobic biodegradation of organic materials (organic solid waste, agro-industrial waste, dairy-processing wastewaters) with the aim to maximise the yield of bioenergy vectors embedded in these waste materials. The successful candidate(s) will be expected to take responsibility for meeting appropriate milestones, timelines and deliverables as part of the overall SFI Research Professorship. In addition, they have a vision and the ambition to build up their own research line. 

Job Description:

The successful candidate will be responsible for the evaluation and optimisation of the capacity of anaerobic wastewater treatment systems to convert organic waste to energy, and will work with academic, industry and government partners at the NUI Galway laboratory facilities. They will be expected to take responsibility for meeting appropriate milestones, timelines and deliverables as part of the overall work programme of the SFI Research Professorship.


  • Develop anaerobic biological treatment systems for biofuel (methane, hydrogen, alcohols and bioelectricity) production from organic waste materials as well as bioprocesses for biofuel clean-up, with a focus on resolving microbial biodegration, community development and process control of bioreactor systems;
  • Support academic, industry and governmental partners on integration of biofuel production from waste in the national energy supply system;
  • Contribute to development of prototype development and system integration of the biofuel production and biofuel clean-up systems;
  • Actively participate in international conferences and meetings as required;
  • Publish in high-impact journals as appropriate;
  • Participate in progress meetings and workshops as appropriate, including travel to other countries within Europe;
  • Provide support and mentoring to post-graduate research students in the host research group;
  • Engage in appropriate continuing professional development activities to support their own career development plans.

Qualifications/Skills required:  

Essential Requirements:

  • An honours BE degree (or equivalent) in Biological Engineering, Microbiology or Biomedical Engineering with a strong microbiology background.
  • A PhD, or equivalent experience in a relevant research environment.
  • Evidence of significant experience in and clear affinity with anaerobic microbiology, physiology or process development, ideally in waste to energy or related applications.
  • Recognition in the international community of energy systems studies as, for example, evidenced by involvement in professional societies, policy or programme committees or editorial boards of relevant journals
  • Demonstrable knowledge of Matlab or other statistical tools for interpretation of microbial biodegradation data.
  • Evidence of enthusiasm for interdisciplinary research in areas relevant for energy and environmental studies and sustainable development
  • Evidence of primary/senior authorship of peer-reviewed publications in relevant areas, or other equivalent output e.g. patents.
  • Excellent written and spoken English communication skills.

Desirable Requirements:

  • Knowledge or experience of anaerobic wastewater treatment systems and/or waste gas cleaning systems at experimental and technical scale.
  • Experience in anaerobic bioreactor operation, biogas cleaning reactors and/or process control
  • Proven capabilities to lead a research group
  • A strong list of publications
  • The ability to acquire external funding
  • Expertise in organisation of scientific events.

Further information about this post is available from Professor Piet Lens 

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