PhD Position in Chemical Engineering

University of Antwerp


Department: Construction
Regime Full-time

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.  

The Department of Civil Engineering Technology in the Faculty of Applied Engineering is looking for a full-time (100%) doctoral scholarship holder in the field of pavement engineering – asphalt characterization.


  • You will work actively on the preparation and defence of a Ph.D. thesis in the field of polymer-modified asphalt mixtures as part of the WEAVE project titled ‘Fate of Polymers in Recycled Asphalt: A Multiscale Approach’. In this project, three universities are conducting research on the impact of aged polymer-modified binder (PMB) and RAP clusters on the performance of premium asphalt mixtures. The project will advance the fundamental understanding of ways to recycle asphalt mixture with PMB into new PMB mixtures in three main ways. We will determine to what extent the polymer remains active in the recovered asphalt and what measures must be implemented to ensure comparable performance to new polymer-modified mixtures. We will determine the main factors affecting the mixing of aged and virgin PMB binders and the effect that mixing has on the long-term performance of asphalt. This can provide the scientific basis needed to design mixtures with RAP containing PMB. We will establish relationships between the different scales of materials using theory-driven machine-learning techniques. SuPAR is the coordinator of the project and is responsible for the effect of RAP clusters on bitumen distribution, mixing, interface adhesion and mechanical response. This includes rheological, physicochemical, microscopic and mechanical performance testing on bitumen, mortar and asphalt mixture, combined with digital image correlation.
  • You will be supported by SuPAR staff and laboratory technicians. You will actively cooperate with researchers at EMPA and TU Vienna.
  • You will publish the results of your research in high-ranked academic journals.
  • You will collaborate in the preparation of national and international research proposals.
  • You will contribute to the organization of conferences and symposiums hosted by SuPAR.
  • You will carry out a limited number of teaching and research support tasks for SuPAR.


  • You hold a master’s degree in the fields of civil engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, or material science or you will have obtained it by the time you start work.
  • You are familiar with the basics of rheology and ideally, have experience with microscopy. Knowledge in the field of bitumen and/or polymers is a plus.
  • Experimental experience in the laboratory is an added value.
  • Knowledge of programming and image processing is an extra asset.
  • You have excellent communication and presentation skills in English. You can speak and write fluently in English, preferably proven by an IELTS or TOEFL test.
  • You feel comfortable presenting your work in front of an international audience.
  • Your teaching competencies 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 can conduct your work with a high degree of independence while being a team player.
  • You have a passion for research.

What we offer

  • We offer a doctoral scholarship for a period of two years. Following a positive evaluation, the scholarship can be renewed once for another two-year period.
  • The planned start date is February 1, 2024 or as soon as possible after that date.
  • 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. Daily attendance is expected.
  • This position includes a secondment at TU Vienna (Austria) and another one at EMPA (Switzerland).
  • 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 November 23, 2023, at 23:59 (by midnight Brussels time). Click on the 'Apply' button and complete the online application form. Be sure to include the following attachments:
    • a motivation letter
    • your academic CV
    • proof of your English proficiency (IELTS/TOEFL/etc.) (if available).
  • The selection committee will review all applications as soon as possible after the application deadline. As soon as a decision is made, we will notify you. If you are still eligible after the pre-selection, you will be informed about the possible next step(s) in the selection procedure. Please note the following date for an interview: December 11, 2023.
  • 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 David Hernando (

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

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