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Network activities are strengthened by 6 industrial partners and their innovation in the biotechnology area.

The industrial partners will contribute to training with engineering-driven approaches towards the applied goals of SynCrop to produce food additives. To enhance the integration and the inter-sectoral aspect of every individual research project, each ESR has both an academic and industrial supervisor reinforced through long-term secondments in both industry and academia.

Synthetic Circuits for Robust Orthogonal Production

The academic and industrial partners of SynCrop will work synergistically to generate a cohort of well-trained young scientists with inter-disciplinary skills in quantitative biology, cell biophysics, cell engineering and microbial physiology. Researchers with such a broad spectrum of training are lacking due to the fragmentation of the emerging field of synthetic biology across Europe and because the need, nature and magnitude of these new skills are only now emerging. The SynCrop Network will equip our Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) with unique combination of skills essential to become future research leaders or entrepreneurs in the emerging field of synthetic biology. They will drive this research field forward and accelerate the development of novel production platforms for exopolysaccharides (EPS), vitamins and carotenoids at reduced R&D costs.

ITN Marie-Curie Network

15 Phd positions available

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Applications are invited for 15 PhD positions (early-stage researchers (ESRs)) to be funded by Marie-Sklodowska-Curie ETN SynCrop - Synthetic Circuits for Robust Orthogonal Production. SynCrop team brings together ten academic partners and six industrial partners located in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands and UK. The main objective of SynCrop is to investigate modular and tunable synthetic circuits and foster the development of novel production platforms for food additives (e.g. vitamins, carotenoids and exopolysaccharides), and further develop the field of synthetic biology. The ESRs will be trained in one or more areas of quantitative (single-cell) biology, biophysics, biological chemistry, cell engineering, mathematical modelling and microbial physiology, and they will be able to use state-of-the-art methodologies within an intersectorial and multidisciplinary network.

The available 15 positions:

ESR1 (Technical University Berlin, DE): Mapping metabolic traits in adapted strains producing synthetic circuits

ESR2 (DSM, NL): Metabolic pathway control through sensing and mitigation of circuit expression

ESR3 (Christian Hansen, DK): Designer extracellular polysaccharides from bacteria

ESR4 (University of Groningen, NL): The inside of E. coli and improving microbial productivity

ESR5 (Biosyntia, DK): Rewiring of the E. coli as an optimal vitamin production platform

ESR6 (University Hamburg, DE): Transcription and translation burden in circuit production in E. coli and S. cerevisiae

ESR7 (University Edinburgh, UK): A whole-cell model to predict the energetic costs imposed by synthetic constructs

ESR8 (University Edinburgh, UK): A whole-cell model to predict changes in translation and growth during cellular stress

ESR9 (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NL): Whole cell models with robust and adaptive controllers

ESR10 (University of Groningen, NL): Physicochemical conditions of the cytoplasm and organelles of yeast

ESR11 (University of York, UK): Characterizing gene circuits with multi-dimensional optical microscopy

ESR12 (Chalmers University of Technology, SE): Sensing of and adaptation to osmotic stress and metabolic imbalance in yeast

ESR13 (ETH Zurich, Switzerland): Monitoring and improving membrane integrity

ESR14 (Uni Aberdeen, UK): Quantification of the contribution of mechanosensitive channels to metabolic flexibility

ESR15 (ETH Zurich, Switzerland): Development of a mechanistic model of the bacterial central metabolism

Candidates apply electronically for one to maximum three positions and indicate their preference in the application letter. The application package includes a detailed CV, academic certificates and contact details of three persons willing to provide references and should be preferably submitted as a single PDF document to Selected candidates will need to prove that they are eligible for the position in respect to the ESR definition (mobility criteria, English language proficiency, see below). The deadline for application is November 15th, 2017.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants need to fully respect three eligibility criteria:

  1. Early-stage researchers (ESR) are those who are, at the time of recruitment by the host, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers. This is measured from the date when they obtained the degree which formally entitles them to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate was envisaged.
  2. Conditions of international mobility of researchers: Researchers are required to undertake trans-national mobility (i.e., move from one country to another) when taking up the appointment. At the time of selection by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.
  3. English language: Network fellows (ESRs) must demonstrate that their ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English is sufficiently high for them to derive the full benefit from the network training

Benefits and salary

The successful candidates will receive an attractive salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for Early Stage Researchers

The exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment and is dependent on the country correction factor (to allow for the difference in cost of living in different EU Member States). The salary includes a living allowance, a mobility allowance and a family allowance (if already married). The guaranteed PhD funding is for 36 months, but some countries offer a 48 months PhD position. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences. Project start is January 1st, 2018 and hiring will be between January and June 2018.


Participating Institutes

  • Biofaction KG

  • Biosyntia APS

  • Chalmers University of Technology

  • Chr Hansen A/S

  • DSM

  • ETH Zurich

  • Free University of Amsterdam

  • Insilico Biotechnology AG

  • LanthioPep B.V.

  • Technical University of Berlin

  • University of Aberdeen

  • University of Bristol

  • University of Edinburgh

  • University of Groningen

  • University of Hamburg

  • University of York

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