PhD project: Development of a Virtual Educational Bioprocess Plant

DTU Chemical Eng.
Sunday 15 Apr 18

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A PhD position is available to develop a virtual educational bioprocess plant in the Department of DTU Chemical Engineering – Process and Systems Engineering Center (PROSYS). 

In practical disciplines, such as engineering, education is focused on providing hands-on experiences that help learners develop competencies that are necessary for a career in research or industry. Traditionally, students learn theoretical knowledge from lectures and textbooks, after which they apply this knowledge in laboratory experiments. However, the use of laboratory experiments to impart relevant practical knowledge is becoming more and more challenging, in both industry and academia, due to the staggering rate at which technology has advanced in recent years. Furthermore, a lack of space and resources often restricts the number of students that can be taught in this manner, as well as limits the time they have to fully grasp each concept. As such, new high-throughput educational tools are required to adapt to the ever-changing technological landscape.

In this project, it is intended to provide students with a thoughtful modelling and simulation tool. The bio-based production requires multi-disciplinary knowledge encompassing the areas of chemical engineering, biochemical engineering, systems biology, process modelling, etc. Due to the novelty of the processes, students lack advanced and well- organized educational contents. On the other hand, the tool will present a well-defined learning design with the display of the mathematical models, assumptions, and the possibility of trying fictional and non-fictional scenarios; characteristics that current simulators normally lack. Furthermore, a computer-aided framework will be developed for the development of pedagogical simulators, which provides a platform for the implementation and integration of different bioprocess and units in the same educational tool.

The objective of this project is to develop a computer-aided platform for the teaching of advanced bioprocess, providing the students with self-confidence, self-observation and self-planned for their learning. To this end, this project will explore the description of bioprocess by experimental and theoretical models and its implementation in an easy and attractive user interface integrating motivational factors. The final aim to engage students in the bioprocess understanding, as well as makes more approachable the complex multidisciplinary knowledge of bioprocesses. 

Qualifications
Candidates should have a master's degree in chemical and biochemical engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering. Besides a strong commitment to research and practical implementation, the PhD student should preferably have experience with running fermentation experiments, computer-aided modelling, and data analysis/programming (e.g. MATLAB, Python) and the principles of process systems engineering. Also previous knowledge in GUI creation and design of learning and user experience are an advantage.

Proficiency of spoken and written English is required as well as good communication and self-management skills. International collaboration is key to the project. Therefore, it is essential to possess (and/or develop) the skills to create and being inventive with possible international collaborators. Eventually, the ideal candidate for the position has preferably documented experience from the creation of computer tools and in teaching.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.  

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The position is available for a period of 3 years from September 1, 2018.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Assistant Professor Seyed Soheil Mansouri, e-mail: seso@kt.dtu.dk or Associate Professor Ulrich Krühne, e-mail ulkr@kt.dtu.dk.

You can read more about DTU Chemical Engineering here.  

Application
Please submit your online application no later than 29 April 2018 (local time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include: 

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

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

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,000 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.