Post-doc materials for metal recovery

Job description

As an internationally recognized research center, VITO has clear ambitions to further strengthen its research program on Materials in a Circular Economy. One of our core research activities is the development of innovative materials for metal recovery and extraction.

Metals are key for the introduction of green technologies required to combat climate change. However, increased problems are expected in the availability and price stability of many key metals. Therefore, research and investments are emerging to establish new and sustainable metal extraction and processing routes in primary mining and recycling. Selective adsorption or solid phase extraction is a promising technology due to its high energy efficiency and good recycle efficiency. It has the potential to extract metals selectively, starting from complex streams containing several metals at low concentrations. Key challenges for these materials are high selectivity, fast kinetics and improved stability with regard to the harsh conditions typically used during the metal extraction step (extreme pH and/or ionic strength). As a post-doctoral fellow you will take an important role in the development of this fast evolving research track.

In this 3 year post-doctoral research the focus is on developing a solid-phase extraction process using LDH-based sorbent materials for the selective extraction of vanadium from alkaline process streams. As post-doc fellow you will develop and execute testing protocols to determine the selectivity, capacity, kinetics and regenerability under relevant alkaline process conditions. Moreover, you will further optimize the sorbent (composition, shape, …) towards industrial applications. Finally, we aim at pilot scale testing and in close collaboration with industry as latest stage of the post-doc research period.

Job description for this equal opportunity position:

  • You will conduct practical work in the lab related to several projects related to the topic of material development for metal recovery and extraction
  • You will take responsibility for delivering high-quality and timely scientific results in order to achieve set performance targets, according to the planning of industrially-relevant European projects
  • You will have an active role in literature survey, keeping up to date with relevant articles and patents in the field
  • You prepare and organize working protocols in a timely and efficient manner after discussion with the experts involved
  • You prepare reports and presentations for project meetings
  • You publish research results in international, peer-reviewed journals in collaboration with other colleagues and you present your research results in relevant conferences
  • You will work in an international team and context
  • You will ensure compliance with VITO’s Health & Safety Policy, and take a proactive approach to ensure all experimental work is safe

Job requirements

  • You hold a PhD degree in Engineering or Applied Sciences (Chemistry, Materials).
  • You have a strong background in the field of inorganic chemistry.
  • Preferably, you are experienced in hydrometallurgy, material development (synthesis, shaping, characterization, testing) and metal speciation (e.g. vanadium) of complex process streams.
  • Experience measuring metal concentrations using ICP would be an asset.
  • You have a creative mind and are eager to turn new process concepts into practice and to demonstrate their technical and economic feasibility.
  • Excellent (academic) writing, presentation and communication skills.


  • A competitive salary
  • Various extra-legal benefits including allowances, insurances and modular holiday package
  • Flexibility in working hours and workplace
  • Innovation is our trump card, we give our employees the opportunity to educate themselves and keep up to date within their field of expertise, moreover, we expect this
  • The opportunity to be part of an internationally important player, known for its pioneering technological research and scientific consultancy
  • The chance to actively contribute to local, national and global sustainable developments