The unit Separation- and Conversion Technology (SCT) develops technologies for the sustainability of production processes in the (bio)chemical sector, replacement of fossil resources by renewable resources as feedstock for the chemical industry, and the treatment of waste streams into high value chemicals.

The synthesis of (semi)aromatic polymers derived from renewable resources is currently attracting tremendous interest from both academia and industry, as aromatic compounds are key intermediates in the manufacture of polymers and chemicals.

VITO is co-initiator of Biorizon, an industry driven Shared Research Center, focusing on technology development for the production of functionalized biobased aromatics for performance materials, chemicals & coatings. As the leading institute, VITO coordinates the development of lignin derived bioaromatics by its own technology and by collaboration with different technology providers. Lignin is the main source of aromatic bio-based molecules. Various phenols derivatives with a variety of chemical structures can be obtained from lignin deconstruction combined with advanced membrane separation techniques.

Up to now, VITO has developed a strong expertise in the valorization of biomass through conversion of lignocellulose into value-added lignin fragments and bio-aromatic derivatives. Our next goal is to develop IP and demonstrate how these new building blocks could be polymerized into value-added products. Depending on the phenol substrates obtained from the lignin separation processes, different chemical modifications and polymerization pathways will be envisaged and developed, leading to (semi)aromatic polymers covering a wide range of industrial applications.

We are looking to recruit a PhD graduate for a postdoc position in (bio)polymer chemistry to work in our lignin-derived polymers program.

The main tasks of the candidate will be to:
• Synthesize polymerizable synthons derived from lignin fragments;
• Design co-polymers from these functionalized lignin monomers;
• Contribute to the structure-properties characterization of the obtained materials.


  • Applicants must have obtained a PhD in polymer chemistry or a related field (organic chemistry, biomaterials…) or proven track record;
  • The candidate must be able to demonstrate an excellent track record in polymer synthesis supported by scientific publications;
  • An experience in the synthesis of value-added molecules derived from biomass is an advantage;
  • Basic knowledge/understanding of polymer physical characterization techniques (DMA, rheology…) is a strong advantage;
  • Highly self-motivated individuals who have demonstrated the ability to conduct scientific research successfully and work independently are desirable;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills are required;
  • The candidates are expected to stay abreast of the recent literature (publications and patents) in the field of lignin-derived polymers, develop research ideas and valorized their research in the form of patents and research papers. 


  • A competitive salary

  • A range of benefits 

  • Flexible working hours and workplace

  • Innovation is our core asset, therefore it goes without saying that we give our employees the opportunity to undertake additional training and keep up to date in their field of expertise

  • The chance to be part of an organisation with an international reputation, known for its advanced technological research and scientific consultancy

  • The possibility to actively contribute towards sustainable developments at local, national and global level