Scientific researcher: Developing business plans to valorize organic waste streams into high value products (case of volatile fatty acids)

ILVO is looking for a candidate with a master's degree for
Function EV: scientific researcher volatile fatty acids
Vacancy number: EV/2019/043/L&M
Entity: Eigen Vermogen (EV) - Flanders Research Institute for agriculture, fisheries and food
Department: Social Sciences
Place of employment: Burg. Van Gansberghelaan 115 bus 2 - 9820 Merelbeke


You will work in the context of the European Horizon 2020 research project VOLATILE ( The projects contributes to the establishment of a circular economy through analyzing how organic waste streams, e.g. food waste, can be valorized into high value products, e.g. omega-3 fatty acids. While other project partners focus on the technical development of a Volatile Fatty Acid (VFA) platform that is able to extract VFA from an anaerobic digestion process, our task is to assess the potential of such a VFA platform and to acquire insights in the most important drivers and barriers to actually implement such a platform.

Your work will mainly consist of developing business plans for adopting a VFA platform for eight privately or publically owned companies for whom the platform might be an interesting innovation. Therefore, you will integrate the technical and socio-economic knowledge that is generated throughout the project. The research requires a holistic vision, because it deals with supply chain development and acceptance of new and innovative products and technologies by relevant stakeholders. Being part of a European project, intensive collaboration with diverse international stakeholders from different disciplines is required. Within the Social Sciences Unit of ILVO, you will work on the project in close collaboration with a post-doctoral researcher and a PhD student. Their task mainly consists of using qualitative (e.g. interview techniques) and quantitative (e.g. agent-based modelling) research methods in order to derive insights on the potential for implementation of a VFA platform. You will use these insights in order to develop business plans.

Your profile

  • You have a master’s degree in bioscience engineering, business administration, economics or equal.
  • Some relevant experience is a plus.
  • If you are in possession of a degree from outside of Belgium, you are required to have a equivalence recognition. This can be obtained at NARIC Vlaanderen.
  • You have knowledge of methods for business plan development. 
  • You have affinity with/are interested in qualitative (e.g. interview techniques) and quantitative (e.g. agent-based modelling) research methods. 
  • You are flexible to travel abroad for field research, meetings, workshops or conferences.
  • You have good social skills, for example to interact with project partners and lead group discussions.
  • You are a team player, but also able to work independently.
  • You have good writing skills and are fluent in English.

Starting date

As soon as possible, preferably 1 December 2019.

How to apply?

To apply please send a motivation letter, CV and a copy of your diploma by email to Jef Van Meensel - Deadline: 27 October 2019.
First selection will be based on the motivation letter and CV. Selected candidates will be invited for a job interview. Interviews via Skype are also possible.

More info?

About the position: Dr. ir. Jef Van Meensel, Senior Researcher Social Sciences Unit, Burg. Van Gansberghelaan 115, bus 2, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium - T: 09 272 23 59

About the working conditions and salary: Caroline Buyst, HR-specialist - T: 09 272 25 12

More info and requirements