PhD in Fermentation and Food Safety

Research / Academic

We are looking for an ambitious PhD student with great interest in fermentation and food safety. The PROSAFE project, funded by NWO, aims to valorise vegetable side-streams into food products through fermentation to reduce food waste and achieve a more sustainable food system. You will design the fermentation strategy such that microorganisms convert side-streams of mushrooms and bean sprouts into a safe food product that is characterized by good palatability and digestibility. You will interact with another PhD student with a background in social sciences who focusses on the integration of new fermented food products in consumption practices (including buying, preparing, eating).

Your duties and responsibilities include:

  • develop prototypes of fermented food products made from processing left-overs of mushrooms and sprouts;
  • design the fermentation such that the products are healthy and safe;
  • interact with the stakeholders of the project who will supply the lefts-overs and who will upscale your prototype in their premises.

You will work here
The PhD position is available at the laboratory of Food Microbiology. Our mission is to generate and disseminate knowledge of food associated microbes to assure quality and safety of food.

In order to control food safety and quality from primary production to consumption, solid knowledge of Food Microbiology is necessary and both positive (fermentation) and negative aspects (spoilage, disease) of micro-organisms are studied. Quality and safety of food are relevant for public health, sustainability and also for enjoying life. This is what we teach and research. We do this in a dynamic, international group of people with state of the art infrastructure and many national and international cooperations.


As PhD candidate, of course you are an ambitious scientist and driven by curiosity. Besides that, you also:

  • have an excellent MSc record in (food) microbiology, food sciences, food technology, or biotechnology;
  • have affinity with functional chemical and genomic analyses and experience is considered an advantage;
  • are a creative researcher, being independent yet at the same time being a team player;
  • have excellent oral and written communication skills in English;
  • show willingness to be involved in teaching activities.

In our international working environment there is an increasing amount of communication in English. For this position we look for candidates at language level C1.
Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

Salary Benefits:

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.770 - per month rising to € 3.539,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. Additionally, a contract for 32 hours a week can be discussed. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 19th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.

Because we expect you to work and live in the Netherlands our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. We can assist you with any additional advice and information about for example helping your partner to find a job, housing, or schooling. Finally, certain categories of international staff may be eligible for a tax exemption on a part of their salary during the first five years in the Netherlands.

Work Hours:

38 hours per week