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Call for applicants


1 PhD position in the EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Project C-PlaNeT

ESR15: Recycling of polymers from collected ocean/beach plastics (prof. Buettner, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg)

Applications are invited for 1 PhD positions (“Early Stage Researcher”) to be funded by the Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network “C-PlaNeT – Circular Plastics Network for Training” within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission in collaboration with Fraunhofer IVV in Reising. C-PlaNeT is a consortium of high-profile universities, research institutions and companies located in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Denmark and Greece.

Europe needs this training network. Bringing plastics into the circular economy is one of the great challenges of our age. C-PlaNeT lays the foundations for a New Plastics Economy through a European Joint Doctoral Programme that trains 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to become part of a new generation of scientists, engineers and policy makers for the EU’s circular economy, including the design, processing, use and reuse of plastics. Each ESR, developing his/her research skills together with a supervisor and co-promoter, represents a piece of the jigsaw, at the same time benefiting from being part of a project team with 14 other ESRs and their supervisors covering other parts of the life cycle, challenging each other in terms of lifecycle thinking and a much more sustainable future for plastics.

The position is part of the EU ITN program C-PlaNeT, and is a double degree PhD in collaboration with Ghent University.

ESR 15 - Recycling of polymers from collected ocean/beach plastics

Start date: 01.10.2022; duration: 36 months

Marine/beach plastics will be characterized with regard to their overall chemical composition. Current recycling technologies will be tested and adapted to recover selected target polymers. These will be tested for their purity, physical/mechanical properties and presence of contaminants and volatiles using a range of physical/chemical methods including gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.

The objective is to recover high-quality polymers from marine and/or beach plastics. Therefore, the candidate will identify current and suitable collection systems for beach and/or marine plastics and organize samples. In a next step these materials will be characterized in depth. Using innovative recycling technologies, these infeed materials will be cleaned and used as a source of secondary polymers. These are extracted from the bulk inputs and cleaned thoroughly using - amongst other processes - solvent-based purification and enrichment processes. Additionally chemical recycling will be evaluated, in particular because mechanical recycling might prove to be infeasible. The work will be conducted in close collaboration with Fraunhofer IVV for the use of Creasolv Technology and the evaluation of novel recycling approaches.


Candidates should have a Master of Science or Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering, Master of Science in Chemistry preferably in Chemical Technology or related topic

We expect the candidate to have:

  • Knowledge or prior experience in analytical chemistry, organic chemical synthesis, and/or chemical engineering

  • Excellent communication and organization skills

  • Fluent in written and spoken English

  • Strong team player skills and enthusiasm about working self-dependently in interdisciplinary environments

Key dates

Application deadline: 30.06.2022

 When you apply for this position, your application may be circulated within the consortium members as part of the hiring process.


Please submit your online application no later than 30 June 2022 (23:59 local time) via e-mail to and including:

  • A detailed CV listing education, work experience, publications, relevant other activities, …(Europass format obliged,

  • Motivation: a) why you want to do a Ph.D.?; b) why are you applying for this specific topic (ESR 15)?

  • A language certificate (IELTS min. 7, TOEFL internet-based min. 90 or similar level as proven by other tests), if available

  • At least one recommendation letters (academic reference)

  • Transcript(s) of previous academic records


This is a re-advertisement. As the ITN program have already started, availability for immediate hire will be considered positively.

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

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.


Applicants need to fully respect three eligibility criteria (to be demonstrated in the CV):

  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.

Secondment and internship


Each ESR must participate in:

  • An academic secondment (min. 6 months) to one of the partner universities, wherein they will acquire complimentary skills such as a specific scientific expertise, the use of unique equipment or the exploration of a different scientific discipline entirely.

  • At least one training internship (min. 2 months) at one of the non-academic partners, wherein they will be able to taste the industrial perspective, consider upscaling of technology or frame their research against existing business models.

Selection procedure

The selection and recruitment processes of the ESRs will be in accordance with the European Charter and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. The recruitment process will be open, transparent, impartial, equitable, and merit-based. There will be no discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or belief, disability or age. The applications will be analyzed after the application deadline for the basic eligibility criteria. Afterwards, a Selection Panel composed of 2 members of the Selection Committee will evaluate the eligible applicants (the weighted average of scores given to individual aspects, such as academic background, previous study results, motivation, etc.). Subsequently, the applicants are ranked based on their scores and the upper 5 positions per Selection Panel member are grouped into a new subgroup. All of the applicants in this group are evaluated by all the Selection Panel members, leading to an average score per applicant and a new ranking of the applicants. The applicants ranked in the upper 5 positions will be invited to give an oral presentation, an online interview. All the members of the Selection Panel will be involved in the final selection, taking into account the preferences of the candidate and balancing them with the requirements of the project (in terms of, e.g., excellence, required expertise and gender) and the priorities of the supervisors. All the candidates will be ranked on a list that will be forwarded to the Supervisory Board for final approval. In the event that applicants decide not to take up the offer after selection, the option will pass to the next applicant on the reserve list using the same selection procedure.

When you apply for this position, your application may be circulated within the consortium members as part of the hiring process.



Benefits and salary

The successful candidates will receive an attractive salary in accordance with the Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Action regulations for Early Stage Researchers. The exact (net) salary will be confirmed upon appointment and is dependent on local tax regulations and 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 married). The guaranteed PhD funding is for 36 months (i.e. EC funding). In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences.

For further information, please contact the central secretariat (

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