PhD scholarship in sustainable production of microalgae proteins and other bioactive compounds

Thursday 09 Dec 21

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Apply no later than 31 January 2022
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Would you like to start your career working on our new project MASSPROVIT which aims at facilitating a sustainable local Danish production of microalgae as a new source of non-animal protein and healthy compounds such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins? MASSPROVIT will also provide a proof of concept for the production of a low footprint protein-rich microalgae biomass, which may substitute Danish import of emission intensive proteins. MASSPROVIT will focus on the microalga Nannochloropsis oceanica. Novel aspects are 1) the use of mutagenesis and selection to improve productivity and bioaccessibility of proteins and vitamins from microalgae and 2) new knowledge on the relationship between cultivation conditions and optimal nutritional composition and bioavailability of the genetically improved algal biomass.

This PhD position concerns microalgae cultivation, characterization of the biomass and optimization of bioavailability of the bioactive compounds.

You will be associated with the Research group for Bioactives – Analysis and Application at DTU Food. Research on sustainable production of microalgae ingredients is one of the focus areas of the group. 

Responsibilities and qualifications
During your PhD project you will investigate the effect of different cultivation conditions on the composition of the algae biomass with particular focus on proteins, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. You will together with a PhD student from Copenhagen University evaluate how UV induced mutations of microalgae will affect their growth rate and composition. Mutation experiments will take place at Copenhagen University.  You will study whether UVB light can induce production of vitamin D3 and you will be involved in the evaluation of the effect of different mechanical and enzyme treatments of the microalgae biomass on the bioavailability of the bioactive compounds. You will perform cultivation experiments in small scale and in pilot scale. You will also collaborate with a post doc at Aarhus University, who will perform life cycle analysis of the processes. The PhD study includes a research stay at University of Wageningen.

During the PhD work you will

  • be responsible for your own research, supervised by experienced and engaged supervisors in a collaborative environment,
  • perform research and contribute with new knowledge within the fields of microalgae cultivation, characterisation and downstream processing
  • engage in collaboration with the other PhD student and post doc in MASSPROVIT

 You must have a two-year master's degree in Food Technology, Aquatic Technology, Chemical Engineering, or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

Furthermore, the ideal candidate has:

  • Knowledge of and experience with microalgae cultivation
  • Knowledge of and experience with chemical analysis of algae (e.g. proteins, fatty acids, vitamins)
  • Good laboratory skills
  • Good collaboration and communication skills (written and oral English)
  • Structured and analytical working approach
  • Skills within statistical analyses of data and data management

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU's rules for the PhD education.

The assessment of the candidates will be made by Prof. Charlotte Jacobsen, Assoc. Prof. Susan L Holdt and Senior scientist Jette Jakobsen from the Bioactives research group. The assessment will be based on the qualification requirements listed above as well as the grades from MSc/BSc education.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

Expected starting date is 1st May 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from the principal supervisor, Prof. Charlotte Jacobsen, Tel. + 45 23 27 90 75, mail:

You can read more about DTU Food at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 31 January 2022 (Danish time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma including official description of grading scale
  • It is important that you document in your Curriculum vitae that you fulfil the eligibility requirements mentioned above

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

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DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.