University assistant predoctoral

University assistant predoctoral

At the University of Vienna, over 10,000 people work together on the big questions of the future. Approximately 7,500 of them are academic staff members. These are individuals who, with their curiosity and their continuous pursuit of excellence, engage in international cutting-edge research and teaching. With us, you will also find space to unfold your potential. We are looking for a/an 

University assistant predoctoral 

91 Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science  

Job vacancy starting: 07/01/2024  | Working hours:  30,00  | Classification CBA: §48 VwGr. B1 Grundstufe (praedoc) 

Limited contract until: 

Job ID: 2467

Among the many good reasons to want to research and teach at the University of Vienna, there is one in particular, which has convinced around 7,500 academic staff members so far. They see themselves as personalities who need space for their continuous striving and curiosity in order to be able to be scientifically successful. Does that sound like something for you? Welcome to our team!

About this position:

The Centre of Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science is comprised of 15 groups that conduct internationally leading research in the field of microbial ecology and environmental systems science. The Centre's Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science assembles an international, ambitious and committed team and offers an interdisciplinary scientific environment, cutting-edge laboratories and a creative working atmosphere. The Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science is looking for a dedicated, enthusiastic PhD student in the field of polymer degradation analysis and environmental chemistry.

The employment duration is 3 years. Initially limited to 1.5 years, the employment relationship is automatically extended to 3 years if the employer does not terminate it within the first 12 months by submitting a non-extension declaration.

Project description:

Plastic waste and the global occurrence of plastic/polymer micro- and nanoparticles in the environment has been identified as a major concern regarding environmental health and safety. Most polymer types used in products nowadays are persistent and undergo only very slow degradation, if at all. Environmentally friendly alternatives do exist in bio-degradable polymers, especially PLA and PBAT. It could be shown that these polymers undergo fragmentation and biodgradation/-mineralization within relatively short timeframes. Being proposed as suitable materials for collecting household bio-waste, there is a scientific discussion about how and how fast the fragmentation and complete biodegradation occurs in composting facilities and how the degradation proceeds below the fragment particle sizes which still can be quantified by e.g. Raman microscopy, hence in the size range below 10 µm. The project is a university-industry collaboration and the objective of this PhD project is to implement a sampling, sample preparation and analytical strategy to then quantify the fragmentation and degradation kinetics of biodegradable polymers in different composting procedures which are conducted in the EU member states.

Position description:

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate to develop, coordinate, and carry out the project described above. The candidate will be supervised by Sarah Pati, Thilo Hofmann and Frank von der Kammer (Department of Environmental Geosciences, University of Vienna).

The candidate will be responsible for the development and optimization of the complete analytical workflow required to quantify degradation kinetics in compost and compost amended soil samples: ranging from sampling strategies for heterogeneous samples, homogenization, particle extraction and matrix-separation to the spectral-microscopic identification, counting and sizing of the polymer fragments found in real-world compost and soil samples. The candidate will coordinate the scientific work of the university and industry partners, plan and conduct interlaboratory comparisons and support the method standardization activities towards CEN/ISO. Comparisons of degradation efficiencies of different composting regimes in e.g. Austria, Germany and Italy will be a central part of the case-studies conducted within this project.

The ideal candidate should meet the following criteria: background in chemistry, environmental chemistry and analytics or related fields. Experiences in the analysis of micro-/nanoplastics and/or nanomaterials in complex environmental samples, working in a laboratory tailored for particle analysis and motivation to expand those. Excellent written and spoken English; excellent skills in project planning and independency in problem-solving; ability to work in a multidisciplinary, international team.

Practical experience in electron- and spectral-microscopic techniques (e.g. SEM, micro-FTIR, micro-RAMAN) is highly desired.

This is part of your personality:

  • Diploma or master’s degree in biology, molecular biology, or equivalent qualification with signed doctoral thesis agreement
  • Excellent academic and study records
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English
  • High ability to express yourself both orally and in writing
  • Excellent team-working ability

What we offer:

Work-life balance: Our employees enjoy flexible, family-friendly working hours, remote/hybrid and/or part-time work (upon agreement).

Inspiring working atmosphere: You are a part of an international academic team in a healthy and fair working environment.

Good public transport connections: Your workplace in the center of beautiful Vienna is easily accessible by public transport.

Internal further training & Coaching: Opportunity to deepen your skills on an ongoing basis. There are over 600 courses to choose from – free of charge.

Fair salary: The basic salary of EUR 3277,30 (on a full-time basis, 2023 salary) increases if we can credit professional experience.

Equal opportunities for everyone: We look forward to diverse personalities in the team!

How to apply:

Application documents should include:

  • letter of motivation including time plan for doctoral thesis milestones that will be achieved in the duration of the short-term contract
  • academic curriculum vitae including list of publications and conference attendances
  • a confirmation of admission for the current academic semester

Please apply directly via the University Jobcenter ("Apply now") - button!

If you have any questions, please contact:

Thomas Rattei  


We look forward to new personalities in our team! 
The University of Vienna has an anti-discriminatory employment policy and attaches great importance to equal opportunities, the advancement of women and diversity. We lay special emphasis on increasing the number of women in senior and in academic positions among the academic and general university staff and therefore expressly encourage qualified women to apply. Given equal qualifications, preference will be given to female candidates.

University of Vienna. Space for personalities. Since 1365.

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​Application deadline: 03/05/2024 

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