PhD position: Machine Learning for iterative metabolic engineering

Metabolic engineering enables the development of microbial production strains that efficiently produce bioproducts by re-routing cellular fluxes. The increasing availability of biological data provides unique opportunities to speed-up the engineering process through machine learning approaches. A key challenge is to predict which genetic changes will have the desired metabolic outcome in an industrial setting. You will investigate how AI methods can support efficient exploration of a large solution space, for metabolic flux optimization, genetic engineering, and ultra-high-throughput screening. You will apply your developed methods to iterative rounds of strain improvement for producing a food, feed or nutritional ingredient at DSM.

This project is part of the Artificial Intelligence Lab for Biosciences, the Lab (, that TU Delft and Royal DSM recently established. It is the first of its kind in Europe to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to full-scale biomanufacturing, from microbial strain development to process optimization and scheduling. The Lab is part of the Dutch National Innovation Center for AI (ICAI) and starts with five synergistic research projects. You will contribute to DSM’s challenges regarding developing bio-based products and optimizing industrial-scale biobased processes. You will have access to real industrial R&D and/or factory data, work in an industrial as well as an academic environment, and have the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills as the Lab collaborates with the Biotech Campus Delft and Planet; an excellent learning and research environment

You hold an MSc degree or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree in either Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Bioinformatics, Mathematics, or a similar area and have an interest in Synthetic Biology. Candidates should possess a strong background in data analytics and be familiar with scripting languages such as R or Python. You enjoy gaining, combining, and translating knowledge from multiple fields. You can demonstrate that you have an entrepreneurial mindset

contract: 4 jaar.

TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2395 per month in the first year to € 3061 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

Faculty Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) brings together three disciplines - electrical engineering, mathematics and computer science. Combined, they reinforce each other and are the driving force behind the technology we use in our daily lives. Technology such as the electricity grid, which our faculty is helping to make future-proof. We are also working on a world in which humans and computers reinforce each other. We are mapping out disease processes using single cell data, and using mathematics to simulate gigantic ash plumes after a volcanic eruption. There is plenty of room here for ground-breaking research. We educate innovative engineers and have excellent labs and facilities that underline our strong international position. In total, more than 1,100 employees and 4,000 students work and study in this innovative environment.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.

Information about department/faculty

TU Delft has a strong foundation in Biotechnology already starting a century ago with the famous Delft School of microbiology. With the established Lab the TUD adds another element to its huge ambitions in both AI and Biotechnology, connecting with an ecosystem of more than 24 AI labs being established in 2020-21. The Lab is closely tied with the TU Delft Bioengineering Institute and is well positioned to contribute significantly to solving major societal challenges, such as climate change, healthy nutrition for the world’s rapidly growing population. TU Delft is a leading international university that combines science, engineering, and design. TU Delft being the largest technical university in the Netherlands, provides world-class education, research, and innovation. Generations of its engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem solvers in business and social contexts. TU Delft’s eight faculties offer 16 bachelor’s and more than 32 master’s programs. More than 25,000 of its students and 6,000 of its employees share a fascination with science, design, and technology. Their shared mission: impact for a better society.

DSM – Bright Science. Brighter Living.™

Royal DSM is a global, purpose-led, science-based company active in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living. DSM’s purpose is to create brighter lives for all. DSM addresses with its products and solutions some of the world’s biggest challenges while simultaneously creating economic, environmental and societal value for all its stakeholders – customers, employees, shareholders, and society at large. DSM delivers innovative solutions for human nutrition, animal nutrition, personal care and aroma, medical devices, green products and applications, and new mobility and connectivity. DSM and its associated companies deliver annual net sales of about €10 billion with approximately 23,000 employees. The company was founded in 1902 and is listed on Euronext Amsterdam. More information can be found at

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Thomas Abeel, Ph.D. ( or Joep Schmitz, Ph.D. (


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