PhD Position in Detection and Characterization of Micro- and Nanoplastics in Beverages and Food

Wageningen University


PhD position - Detection and characterization of micro- and nanoplastics in beverages and food

Published on
December 11, 2019

Location Wageningen

End date Thu 27 February 2020

We are looking for

The Initial Training Network MONPLAS concerns the training of early stage researchers (ESR) for the development of technologies to MONitor concentrations of micro and nanoPLAStics in water for their presence, uptake and threat to animal and human life. The ESR at WFSR will develop analytical methods to determine micro and nanoplastics in food products or additives. The aim of this proposal is to improve analytical sample preparation and detection techniques for both micro and nanoplastics, and gain insight into the oral exposure of humans to environmentally relevant micro and nanoplastics. For this, reliable analytical methods will be developed and validated to detect them in complex matrices, based upon our extensive experience with engineered nanoparticles. For more information you can go to

It is your job to make this project into a success. You will develop reliable analytical methods to determine micro and nanoplastics, at first in water, than in more complex samples such as food products, additives and biological tissues. Not only instrumental techniques but also sample preparation and quality control techniques are of major importance. For this you will stay in contact with the other ESRs in the MONPLAS project from whom you will learn and who will learn from you. With the analysis of typical food basket products you will gain insight into the oral exposure of humans to micro and nanoplastics. For this you will be in contact with organizations as the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, and the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority. You will present your results at international congresses and (project)meetings, and publish your results in international journals.

We ask


  • We are looking for the candidates with a strong academic background and exceptional grades, who have been awarded, or expect to get before the project start, a Master of Science degree in Electrical,Optical Engineering, Photonics, Physics, or equivalent.You have experience in modelling, designing and executing experiments and are familiar with data management.
  • You are acquainted with effective and creative visualisation of results.
  • You have excellent command of the English language, both in writing and orally.
  • You are an enthusiastic and result-driven person.
  • You communicate efficiently and excel in problem solving.
  • In addition, you are a team-player and are highly effective in time and project planning.
Prerequisites for application subject to the Innovative Training Network of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions:EU Marie Curie mobility criteria apply:
  • candidates should not have resided, worked or studied in The Netherlands for more than 12 months in the last 3 years.
  • EU Marie Curie ‘early stage researcher’ criteria apply: candidates should be in the first four years of their research career and not have a doctoral degree.
  • Be available and willing to travel.


We offer

We offer an interesting research job in a full-time position (36 hours), initially for 1 year after which a go/no go decision will be taken on extension with another two years. We offer a salary and an employment contract based on a position as early stage researcher (ESR) within the context of the EU Marie Curie program MONPLAS, in combination with excellent secondary employment conditions.
Depending on the progress and outlook for completion, a new contract covering (part of) year 4 may be granted to complete the PhD thesis.
The position is based in a state-of-the-art research environment and together with the MONPLAS consortium, holds ample opportunities for a future career either in research, applied science, education or in a spin-off from the project.
The gross salary is based on both the collective labour agreement of WR and the EU Marie Curie program requirements and comprises a Gross salary per month € 2375,- in the first year rising up to € 3036,- per month in the fourth year (salary scale for PhD fellows) per month based on the full time position, plus a monthly EU mobility allowance plus a monthly family allowance (the latter only when applicable).

  • Expected starting date: July 1st 2020
  • Various secondments to Queens University Belfast (2 months), Aalborg University ( 2 months) and Wessling (2 months)
  • 8% holiday allowance and structural end-of-year bonus of 3%
  • Excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions
  • Flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible
  • Excellent pension plan through ABP
  • 171 vacation hours, the possibility to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes
  • The possibility to work a maximum of 40 hours per week and in this way build up a maximum of 204 compensation hours per year
  • A flexible model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan
  • A lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented
  • Make use of the sports facilities on campus.


More information

For questions about this vacancy you can contact dr. Ruud Peters, Main Supervisor (mail:, tel: +31 317 – 48 06 71).
For questions about the recruitment procedure you can contact Anneke van Huët, HR-advisor (mail:, tel: +31 317 – 48 80 02).
General information about WFSR can be found at
You can apply until (and including) 28th February 2020. Please use the online tool (this is the only correct way to apply). Any applications reaching us, in any other way are not taken into considerationUpload the following documents:

  • letter of motivation
  • CV
  • list of grades (bachelor and master, or equivalent)
  • a letter of reference

Equal Opportunities Employer
We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their race, sex, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation or age. Furthermore, given our active policy to be as inclusive as possible as employer, we explicitly invite women and international candidates to apply. We believe that a diverse and inclusive workplace makes us a more relevant, more competitive, and more resilient organization.


We are

Wageningen Food Safety Research (WFSR) conducts high-quality independent research into safe and reliable food. We mainly work for the Dutch government and are an official control laboratory. We measure residues, toxins, contaminants and microbial and viral contamination in food and feed. Our task is to perform risk analyzes, follow trends in the food production chain, identify new risks, check food for authenticity and conduct forensic investigations. We advise governments and offer a wide range of training activities. In addition, WFSR is a national and European reference laboratory.
This PhD project is part of the H2020 project MSCA-INT-MONPLAS, an Innovative Training Network of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions.

In your application, please refer to