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PhD position – Portable spectroscopy solutions for in-field quality assessment of bioresources

Apply till 2021-06-15
Location: Izola, Slovenia

The InnoRenew CoE is seeking a well-qualified individual to work on a collaborative research project with the InnoRenew CoE, Izola, Slovenia and the University of Primorska, Koper, Slovenia. The primary objective of this position is to develop an integrated system appropriate for the early identification of biomass suitability for optimal downstream conversion.

Recent developments in the field of optics, sensor technologies and analytical software opened new opportunities for revolutionary and diverse approaches to the valorisation of natural resources. Detailed knowledge of the physical-chemical properties of biogenic resources at the early stage of the biorefinery conversion process may result in dramatic improvement of the overall value chain efficiency. It is especially relevant to identify the best utilization paths for diverse forest and agricultural residues and wastes. Portable near infrared spectroscopic solutions foreseen for development in this position are considered as the most promising research direction.

The successful candidate will be employed full-time at the InnoRenew CoE through October 2021. Beginning in October, employment may be split between the InnoRenew CoE and the University of Primorska depending on the candidate. Duties at the University of Primorska will include teaching in relevant study programs such as the Sustainable Built Environments Master’s programme and the Data Science Master’s programme.


Goals and Tasks

The overall goal of the PhD project is to develop and validate a prototype spectroscopic system capable of agricultural resides characterization. The low-cost and portability combined with high reliability and repeatability will allow broad application in the field and in laboratory applications. The candidate’s main tasks will be to:

  • prepare and execute a research plan,
  • review existing spectroscopic solutions applicable to assessing agricultural residues
  • develop chemometric models linking near infrared spectra with relevant materials properties
  • integrate best performing hardware and software solutions into a working prototype
  • develop a novel approach for the determination of the optimal biomass conversion paths based on spectral analysis

The successful candidate will be involved in the preparation of scientific publications and presentations at renowned conferences to extend the impact their research. Additionally, the candidate will prepare at least one research project proposal to further extend the scope of the studied topic.


Preferred qualifications

  • Master’s Degree in Natural Resources Process Engineering, Agriculture, Forestry, Data Science, Electronics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Wood Technology, or any other related area
  • Passion, high motivation for studies and working within interdisciplinary research projects
  • Excellent communication skills in written and spoken English
  • Ability to formulate and communicate new research ideas (research proposal preparation, scientific publications, prototype scientific instrumentations, software tools)
  • Basic programming skills (LabView, Matlab, R or similar), knowledge of chemometrics (PCA, PLS, NN), near infrared spectroscopy and/or elementary electronics (Arduino microcontrollers or similar) are considered as an advantage, but not indispensable


What we offer

The InnoRenew CoE was established based on a flagship project funded by the European Commission and the Republic of Slovenia.

  • 1-year contract with an option for renewal (recommended duration for doctoral studies is 4 years)
  • Competitive salary
  • Access to the top scientific instrumentation including spectroscopy and hyperspectral imaging laboratories
  • Opportunity to work on prestigious H2020 projects, such as InnoRenew CoE and OLEAF4VALUE


How to apply

Interested applicants should send:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Motivation letter for this doctoral position (maximum one A4 page)
  • Summary of their previous research experiences or implemented scientific projects/prototypes
  • Certified copy of master’s degree certificate and official transcript of records, including their translations if the originals are not in English or Slovene
  • Three recommendation letters

All materials should be in English and submitted in PDF format no later than 15 June 2021 via e-mail to

The candidate should clearly state if graduating in 2021.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. For further information about the research topic or position please contact dr. Jakub Sandak (


Employment opportunities, admissions policies, activities, services, and the facilities of the InnoRenew CoE do not exclude any person based on race, colour, age, sex, gender, religion, national origin, or disability. In processing your application, the GDPR will be respected and your information will not be shared outside of the relevant staff at the InnoRenew CoE and the University of Primorska. By submitting your application, you agree that the data you provide is reviewed by these organisations.


The InnoRenew CoE and the University of Primorska reserve the right for justified reasons to leave the position open, to extend the application period and to consider candidates who have not submitted applications during the application period.

Learn how to apply at

Learn more about the InnoRenew CoE at or by e-mailing:

Apply now

Working with us

Research at the InnoRenew CoE is focused on supporting restorative solutions for the built environment through renewable materials research and sustainable building research that creates positive impacts for the environment, building users, and society. While working with us, you will conduct cutting edge research with researchers from around the globe, collaborate with industry members, interact with the public, and support policy development for a sustainable future.

Working in Slovenia

Slovenia is a beautiful country to live and work in with easy access to the rest of Europe. The InnoRenew CoE is located on Slovenia’s welcoming coast that is dotted with historic cities, wineries, olive groves, and stunning vistas. The food is great, the people are open and welcoming, and the lifestyle is as active or relaxed as you want it to be, with many outdoor activities to take part in or cafés to relax in.