Be part of the transition towards a low-carbon chemical industry by assessing new sustainable technologies (LCA, LCC).

The research group “sustainability assessments of materials and circular economy” (SAM) brings together researchers who are motivated to strengthen Circular Economy strategies by well-founded scientific insights. We develop and perform assessments of the environmental, economic and social hurdles and opportunities of circular technologies. We do this from a systemic perspective, and apply our integrated methods to engineer material life cycles and optimize the effectiveness of circular economy strategies in general, including e.g. the introduction of renewable feedstock in the chemical industry.
Currently, we are looking for a new colleague (level postdoc) with experience in sustainability assessments (LCA, TEA) for sustainable organic materials management, bio-based materials and catalysis
You will be responsible for the KU Leuven input into several regional and European projects. One of these projects makes part of the Flemish Moonshot programme to reduce CO2 emissions in the chemical sector, more particularly the project “Novel Integrated Biorefinery Concepts for a Carbon Neutral Bio-Economy” (NIBCON). This highly interdisciplinary project aims at the successful introduction of unique biobased primary building blocks in future Flemish and European chemical industries, in order to promote the transition towards a carbon neutral circular bio-economy. It is built around inventive lignocellulose based RCF biorefining and downstream separation technology. The ambition of NIBCON is to further develop this technology, in an integrated way, towards environmental sustainability, technical scalability as well as economic feasibility.
You will also be involved in future projects on bio-based materials or on chemical processes, and in developing new projects and new education content based on your research experience. We work as a team, reflecting on and supporting each other’s work, guiding PhD and master students, and involved in the educational tasks assigned to SAM within KU Leuven.
  • You have a Master of Science in Engineering (Bioscience Engineering or Engineering Science) with  a PhD (or other relevant experience) in one of these fields. You have a good chemistry background.
  • Expertise in one or more of the following areas: LCA, TEA, sustainability assessments, catalysis
  • You have a scientific, critical attitude and you are interested in interdisciplinary research.
  • You can demonstrate your interest in sustainability issues.
  • You have good communication and presentation skills, proficient in English (Dutch is an asset, but not a requirement).
  • You have an independent working style, and at the same time also a good team player.
We offer a research position for 1 year in a very attractive international research environment, with an excellent track record in circular economy and sustainability assessments.
The position is promoted by Prof. Karel Van Acker (Faculty of Engineering Science, Department Materials Engineering and Faculty of Economics and Business, Centre for Economics and Corporate Sustainability). The research group “Sustainability Assessments of Materials and Circular Economy” (SAM) currently consists of 6 PhDs and 4 postdocs. Ongoing projects include a.o. assessment of cascading of wood, the development of new bio-based composite materials, new catalysts, the valorisation of industrial residues and enhanced landfill mining, and the development of new indicators for the circular economy. Typically, tools such as (C)LCA, LCSA, MFA, exergy analysis, CBA, partial equilibrium modelling, etc. are used and refined. We host the policy research centre “Circular Economy” for the Flemish Government and make part of the interdisciplinary KU Leuven Institute for Sustainable Metals and Minerals (SIM²).
This position will be funded by a granted regional project.
For more information please contact Prof. dr. Karel Van Acker, tel.: +32 16 32 12 71, mail:
You can apply for this job no later than March 10, 2020 via the online application tool

SIM² Education