Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

15 PhD positions in biotechnology — ITN „CC-TOP“

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    CC-TOP project — H2020 MSCA ITN (lead by the Technische Universität Darmstadt)
    Biological sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    31/05/2021 12:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Multiple locations, see work locations below.
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions


CC-TOP:    C-C Bond Formation by Top Performing Enzymes

Biocatalysis is the Key Enabling Technology for developing sustainable processes in the chemical industry – remember the Nobel Prize 2018 awarded  for the laboratory evolution of protein catalysts! Are you interested in pursuing a career in biocatalysis research? Are you keen to join an international consortium that comprises some of the leading academic and industrial organisations in this field in Europe? Apply for one of the positions available in the CC-TOP network and build your future as a top researcher in biotechnology!

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network CC-TOP invites applications for 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs). CC-TOP will train its ESR’s in a wide spectrum of fields, including the discovery, characterization, engineering and application of novel biocatalysts for C-C bond formation (carboligation) for the synthesis of valuable chiral targets of industrial interest.

All our ESR’s will obtain a PhD from an internationally respected university, build experience in communicating and disseminating their work, applying their research skills in a non-academic context and receive in-depth training in transferable skills such as commercialization, collaboration and entrepreneurship. The CC-TOP cross-disciplinary approach includes 12 beneficiaries and 6 partner organizations (10 academic and 11 non-academic) from across Europe. An in-detail description of each of the 15 ESR projects is provided in the general call for applications on our website.

The 15 positions are full-time and funded for 36 months from September 2021. The CC-TOP project aims to build a new generation of researchers with adequate skills to explore the multi-facetted aspects of bioprocess development for carboligation. The positions will be hosted at top universities and research centres across Europe. All projects include intersectoral secondments, local and network-wide transferable, theoretical as well as methodological skills training. Each project will actively assist PhD candidates in achieving a doctoral degree within the scheduled time of three years. All fellows will have the unique opportunity to work in interdisciplinary and multinational teams with excellent links to national and international research networks. By working across disciplines and sectors, CC-TOP will foster the 15 ESRs to be creative, critical, autonomous intellectual risk takers at the frontiers of scientific research with a mind-set necessary for thriving careers.

Please see a list of the 15 ESR positions available below. To apply for a specific position please find further information on the positions and instructions on how to apply on the CC-TOP recruiting website.

  • ESR1 (Prozomix Ltd, UK): Rapid exploration and exploitation of uncharted PEP lyase sequence space
  • ESR2 (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, ES): Microfluidic high-throughput screening of C-C bond forming enzymes
  • ESR3 (TU Darmstadt, DE): Discovery of new PEP lyases
  • ESR4 (University of Zagreb, HR): Development and optimization of biotransformations catalyzed by carboligation enzymes
  • ESR5 (University College London, UK): Metagenomics to discover new 'split' transketolases
  • ESR6 (University of Göttingen, DE): Structural origin for novel selectivities of evolved transketolase variants
  • ESR7 (TU Darmstadt, DE): Engineering transketolase for novel reactivities
  • ESR8 (University of Freiburg, DE): Novel TDP dependent enzymes for the synthesis of tertiary alcohols
  • ESR9 (Université Clermont-Auvergne, FR): TDP dependent transketolases and glyoxylate carboligases for synthesis of chiral polyols
  • ESR10 (Johnson Matthey, UK): Screening of C-C bond forming enzymes and reaction intensification for synthesis of chiral intermediates
  • ESR11 (BASF SE, DE): Development of solvent- and aldehyde-tolerant TDP-dependent enzymes
  • ESR12 (University of Göttingen, DE): Structure-guided design of novel thermophilic aldolases
  • ESR13 (University of Groningen, NL): Exploiting enzyme promiscuity to develop novel aldolases
  • ESR14 (University of Groningen, NL): Engineering of enantioselective Michaelases
  • ESR15 (Catalonia Institute for Advanced Chemistry, ES): Construction of artificial enzyme catalysts for C-C bond forming reactions

More Information


The ITN Marie Skłodowska-Curie Programme offers highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. The salary includes a living allowance, a mobility allowance and a family allowance (if married or with children). All researchers will be recruited under an employment contract that includes social security coverage. Each fellowship includes the following:
  • the opportunity to be part of a Marie Curie International Training Network
  • a thorough scientific education in an enticing research environment to meet multi-disciplinary challenges
  • opportunities to participate at international conferences and the possibility to spend a research stay at one of our international contacts
  • working towards obtaining a PhD degree from a highly-ranked university and become a well-trained, independent researcher
  • special measures to support work-family balance such as the possibility to get flexible working hours, university-organized child care (depending on availability) and working from home (upon agreement with the supervisor)
  • benefits from the designed training programme offered by the hosting organisations and the CC-TOP consortium
  • active participation in international secondments to other organisations within the CC-TOP network and in outreach activities targeted at a broad audience.

Eligibility criteria

  • To comply with the Early-Stage Researcher definition you must, at the time of recruitment, hold a Master’s degree and be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of your research career and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • You must not have resided or carried out your main activity (e.g., work or studies) in the country of your host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to your recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.
  • Your Master’s degree must be in a discipline that is relevant to the ESR project that you are applying for.
  • Proficiency in English is required, as well as good communication skills. You must demonstrate that your ability to understand and express yourself in both spoken and written English is sufficiently high to derive the full benefit from the network training.

Selection process

  • Applications have to be submitted through the ITN website
  • All applications are centrally collected and checked for eligibility
  • The supervisors of each position make a ranking to be communicated to the Recruitment Committee (RC)
  • The RC makes a shortlist with 2 candidates per ESR position
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview with the RC on a recruitment day for ESR selection
  • Successful candidates will be notified by email as soon as possible
  • Successful candidates will have to send a formal e-mail notifying acceptance or rejection
  • The final selected 15 ESRs will be listed in the CC-TOP website after the selection has been finalized.

Additional comments

CC-TOP will recruit prospective talented researchers of any nationality, gender, culture, religion, sexual orientation or age to undertake a PhD in biocatalysis research. All steps in the recruiment process are made to ensure a fully transparent, fair and centralized recruitment process that adheres to the European Charter and Code for Researchers.

These principles and requirements ensure that the selection procedures are open, transparent, impartial, internationally comparable, merit-based, and tailored to the type of positions advertised. In the selection process, the candidates are evaluated based on their scientific background and potential for research, and following gender equality and minority rights. The evaluation of the candidates complies with the Code of Conduct definition of merit. This means that merit is judged qualitatively and quantitatively, focusing not only on the researcher’s grades but also on a broader range of evaluation criteria, such as research background, knowledge transfer, interdisciplinary knowledge, soft skills, personality ethics, character, interests, and enthusiasm about working in a multidisciplinary and collaborative environment, ability to collaborate in a diverse environment, future scientific plans, project and institution fit.

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements


Candidates must fulfil the requirements to be able to enrol in a doctoral programme at the hosting institution/country and, if applicable, the specific eligibility requirements at the hosting institutions. Successful candidates should furthermore:

  • hold a Master Degree (or equivalent) in chemistry, biology, life sciences, chemical/bio engineering science or any other comparable background related to the position
  • have research experience (e.g. through Master thesis work or research internships) in a field relevant to the project
  • show dedication and enthusiasm for research, combined with scientific curiosity, reliability and the capacity to teamwork in an interdisciplinary environment
  • like to work in a multidisciplinary team of international researchers
  • have a creative and problem-solving mindset and take initiative to conduct cutting-edge research in close collaboration with industry
  • be fluent in English (both spoken and written) and have strong communication skills
  • be able to submit outstanding academic results.

Work location(s)
2 position(s) available at
Technische Universität Darmstadt
2 position(s) available at
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
2 position(s) available at
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
1 position(s) available at
University of Zagreb
1 position(s) available at
Prozomix Ltd
United Kingdom
1 position(s) available at
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
1 position(s) available at
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
1 position(s) available at
University College London
United Kingdom
1 position(s) available at
Université Clermont-Auvergne
1 position(s) available at
Johnson Matthey
United Kingdom
1 position(s) available at
1 position(s) available at
Catalonia Institute for Advanced Chemistry

Open, Transparent, Merit based Recruitment procedures of Researchers (OTM-R)

Know more about it at Technische Universität Darmstadt

Know more about OTM-R

EURAXESS offer ID: 616063


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