Postgraduate and postdoctoral opportunities are listed below. Whilst most projects have bursaries attached to them, South African citizens and permanent residents, as well as candidates who have secured their own scholarships/bursaries will enjoy preference. Postgraduate applicants must refer to the postgraduate page for the detailed application procedure.

All research undertaken in the department falls within one of our research groups and as such, research opportunities are also grouped accordingly. Supervisors’ profiles and research interests can be viewed here.

Postdoctoral Fellow Positions

Postdoctoral Fellowship: South African Grape and Wine Research Institute and the Department of Chemical Engineering

Host: Prof Wessel du Toit

This post-doctoral research, which is a collaboration between the South African Grape and Wine Research Institute and the Department of Chemical Engineering, Stellenbosch University, aims to enhance understanding of mass transfer rates, transient phase compositions, and homogeneity in wine tanks during nitrogen gas sparging to lower wine dissolved oxygen levels. Utilizing principles from previous research, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) will provide insights into oxygen transfer rate variations across tank volumes. Factors such as wine composition, temperature, gas flow, tank geometry, and sparger design will be investigated to understand their impact on transfer rates. The study will develop a CFD model simulating multi-phase fluid flow and oxygen transfer in a commercial-size wine tank. This model will expand current knowledge of how physical and chemical factors influence mass transfer during oxygen desorption in wine. Additionally, it will provide insight into tank geometry’s effect on transfer rates. Using the CFD model, novel sparger configurations will be rapidly designed and tested to control dissolved oxygen concentration. Iterative in silico testing will identify promising designs for fabrication and experimental validation. Collaborating with commercial wineries, experimental work will assess dissolved oxygen levels during fermentation and oxygen removal. This research will advance wine industry practices in oxygen management during production, enhancing product quality and stability.

Requirements: We are seeking an individual with a Ph.D. (obtained within the last 5 years) in engineering, food science, oenology or related field, with a sound background in computational modelling would be ideal.

Commencement of duties: June 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter

Appointment period: The fellowship is initially for one year, with the possibility of extension to a second-year contingent upon satisfactory progress.

How to apply: Send a one-page letter of motivation, accompanied by a comprehensive curriculum vitae, including a list of publications and the names and contact details of two referees, to wdutoit@sun.ac.za.

Application closing date: 22 May 2024

Annual stipend: R400 000 per annum.
Postdoctoral fellows are not appointed as employees and as their fellowships are awarded tax-free, they are not eligible for employee benefits.
The University reserves the right NOT to make an appointment if suitable candidates do not apply.

Techno-economics and sustainability of biorefineries

Host: Prof Johann Görgens

An opportunity for a postdoctoral researcher focused on the techno-economics, life cycle and sustainability assessments of biomass, green hydrogen and CO2 conversion to energy, chemicals and materials is currently available. The position will focus on various types of (thermo)chemical and biochemical processes for the recovery of valuable products from various types of plant biomass, together with green hydrogen and CO2, in research programs at the Department of Chemical Engineering and its collaborators.

This research group is currently collaborating with industrial and academic partners on the assessment of alternative process options for the conversion of plant biomass into energy, chemicals and materials via these processing methods. Such technology developments require techno-economic, environmental impact and sustainability assessments, to identify preferred process and product options as well as the required improvements in technological processes for industrial implementation.

Requirements

  • A Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, obtained within the past five years, with a strong background in process simulations, techno-economics and LCA or GHG assessments, as described above.
  • Candidates with a proven track record in chemical process design, process simulations such as AspenPlus®, SimaPro®, techno-economic assessments of process technologies and GHG or life cycle assessments of environmental impacts, are particularly encouraged to apply.

Duties and responsibilities

The postdoctoral researcher will be expected to contribute significantly to:

  • Independently working on AspenPlus® process simulations, greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, life cycle environmental assessments with SimaPro® and techno-economics for a range of process technologies for biomass valourisation.
  • Provide technical support to other researchers in the group working on similar projects.
  • Critical evaluation of existing technologies, and proposals for technical development to improve these.
  • The publication of research outputs from current and previous projects.
  • Development of new areas of research within the research group.
  • Writing new funding proposals to sustain research activities.

Commencement of duties: The successful candidate will be expected to assume duties on 1 August 2024, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Appointment period: The fellowship is available for a minimum period of 12 (twelve) months and is renewable thereafter based on performance and funding availability. A competitive scholarship has been granted for the position and, provided that the necessary procedures are put in place, this will be awarded tax free. Please note that postdoctoral fellows are not appointed as employees and are therefore not eligible for employee benefits.

How to apply: Interested candidates should provide a cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least three academic references. All documents should preferably be merged into a single PDF and attached to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be sent to Prof Johann Görgens.

Application closing date: 31 May 2024.

Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Microbial Bioprocess Development for Production and Purification of High-value Enzymes

One postdoctoral researcher position is presently available, focused on the experimental optimization of upstream microbial bioprocesses and downstream product purification for the production of high-value enzymes, through recombinant expression. The postdoctoral researcher will have considerable responsibility to coordinate research efforts in such microbial bioprocess optimization, including the optimization of fed-batch bioprocesses and enzyme purification steps for the production of these valuable enzymes proteins by yeasts and bacteria.

This position will also require contributions in the assaying of cells and supernatants to quantify protein/enzyme production levels and purification of the high value proteins with appropriate precipitation, chromatographic and membrane separation methods. Purified enzymes will be produced at scales from 1 to 150L bioreactors, including components of the scale-up from bench- to pilot-scale facilities. The postdoc will work closely with existing researchers in synthetic and molecular biology in the development, screening and selection of production strains for the enzymes of interest, as well as development and optimization of assaying and purification methods, together with industrial partners in these projects.

Host: Prof Johann Görgens

The postdoctoral position will be integrated into a research program within the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Microbiology, and will involve both own experimental work and the collaboration with other researchers in the same group. The postdoctoral researcher will be expected to contribute significantly to:

A. Effective completion of assigned experimental tasks, with rapid progress and high quality of outputs.

B. Technical advisory to other researchers in the group, where appropriate and required

C. Coordination of research activities between partners in the project

D. Writing new funding proposals to sustain research activities

E. Publication of research outputs from current and previous projects in high quality international journals

F. Management of laboratory equipment and space

The fellowship is available for a minimum period of one year, starting 1 January 2024, or shortly thereafter, and is renewable for a maximum duration of 3 years, depending on performance. A scholarship per annum has been granted for the position and, provided that the necessary procedures are put in place, the postdoctoral fellowships are awarded tax free. Please note that postdoctoral fellows are not appointed as employees and are therefore not eligible for employee benefits.

Requirements:

A PhD in Chemical Engineering, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology or a related field, obtained within the past five years, with extensive research experience in the fields of specialization as indicated above.

Candidates with experience in experimental optimization and scale-up of microbial bioprocesses, protein/enzyme assays and protein purification are particularly encouraged to apply.

A cover letter, CV including all research outputs, complete academic transcripts, degree certificates and the contact details of at least 3 academic references. Merge all documents into a single PDF and attach it to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

How to apply: Interested candidates should provide a cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least three academic references. All documents should preferably be merged into a single PDF and attached to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be sent to Prof Johann Görgens.

Closing date: 31 August 2023.

Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Green Hydrogen Engineering Research

The Green Hydrogen Engineering Research Platform at Stellenbosch University seeks applications for the appointment of up to four Postdoctoral Research Fellows in various departments, including within the department of Chemical Engineering. The successful candidates will focus on conducting scientific research in fields related to green hydrogen engineering.

Host: Prof André Burger

The environment for the hydrogen economy has shifted significantly:

  • The role of green hydrogen in decarbonising the energy system has become widely recognised internationally in several hard to abate sectors
  • Geographic regions that are short of renewable energy resources will need to supplement their energy needs by importing green hydrogen
  • Geographic regions that are rich in both solar and wind energy resources will need to produce and export hydrogen to renewable lean geographies
  • Significant research is needed for the technologies to produce, store, integrate, transport and use green hydrogen. The candidates will be expected to publish the results of the research at local and international conferences, and in high-impact journals.

Limited mentoring and supervision of postgraduate students within the Green Hydrogen Engineering Platform will also be required. The successful candidates will play an active role in shaping the Green Hydrogen Engineering Platform research agenda, including the writing of research and grant proposals, and will collaborate with industry experts to ensure continued alignment with industry needs. The fellowship is initially available for one year, renewable for up to three years, subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funding.

Requirements:

  • PhD in relevant field (must have graduated within the last five years)
  • Excellent communication skills in English (both written and verbal)
  • A proven publication record in high -impact journals and a demonstrated capacity to conduct independent research (minimum one relevant published article in a Scimago Q1 or Q2 journal)
  • A good understanding of the production or logistics or utilisation of green hydrogen or ammonia

Areas of potential research include:

  • Systems-level engineering of production, logistics and/or utilisation of green hydrogen and ammonia (technoeconomic assessment)
  • Mechanical hydrogen storage design and prototyping
  • Novel (electrochemical) routes to ammonia synthesis and decomposition
  • Solid oxide cells or photochemical reactors
  • Mass manufacturing of fuel and/or electrolytic cells
  • Green hydrogen uses in biomass upgrading, green steel production, or hydrogen derivatives

Integration of water production, water waste and brine upcycling technologies within water electrolysis plants

Please note that postdoctoral fellows are not appointed as employees and their fellowships are awarded tax free. They are therefore not eligible for employee benefits.

Commencement of duties: January 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.

How to apply: Send a letter of application, accompanied by a comprehensive CV, including a list of publications, link to the candidate’s PhD thesis, and the names and contact details of two referees, to Prof Craig McGregor.

Closing date: 9 December 2022 at 17h00

Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Postdoctoral research fellow opportunity: Extractive metallurgical process development and modelling

Location: Department of Chemical Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Host: Prof Christie Dorfling

Research group: Extractive Metallurgy

Commencement of position: April 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter

There is currently an opportunity for a postdoctoral researcher focusing on the techno-economics and sustainability assessment of metal production from primary and secondary resources available in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stellenbosch University. The position will focus on various types of extractive metallurgical processes for the recovery of metals from feed materials such as mine tailings, industrial waste, and end-of-life electronic consumer goods.

The research group is currently collaborating with academic partners on the assessment of alternative extractive metallurgical process options for metal recovery from secondary resources. Such process developments require techno-economic, environmental impact and sustainability assessments in order to identify preferred technology options as well as the required improvements in processes for industrial implementation.

The postdoctoral fellow will be expected to contribute significantly to:

  • independently work on process simulations, techno-economic assessments and life cycle assessments (or related process efficiency indicators) for a range of extractive metallurgical processes for waste valorisation and metal recycling;
  • provide technical support to other researchers in the group working on similar projects;
  • critically evaluate existing technologies, and prepare proposals for technical development to improve these;
  • prepare and publish research outputs from current and previous research projects; and
  • identify new research opportunities, and prepare new funding proposals to sustain research activities.

 

Requirements to apply:

Applicants must have a PhD in Chemical Engineering or Extractive Metallurgy, obtained within the past five years, with a strong background in process simulations, techno-economics and life cycle assessments, as described above. Candidates with a strong academic record and a proven track record in extractive metallurgical process design, process simulations using software such as HSC Chemistry®, techno-economic assessments of process technologies and life cycle assessments are particularly encouraged to apply. Experience with environmental economics, sustainability assessments and environmental LCA software, such as GaBi would be an advantage.

 

Application procedure:

The fellowship is available for a minimum period of 12 (twelve) months, with a starting date of 1 April 2024, or shortly thereafter and renewable thereafter based on performance and funding availability. Enquiries about the position can be directed to Prof Christie Dorfling. Applications should be emailed to dorfling@sun.ac.za; the closing date for applications is 4 March 2024.

Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Geometallurgy - Three postdoctoral researcher positions linked to the new African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) Chair in Geometallurgy at SU

Three postdoctoral researcher positions linked to the new African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) Chair in Geometallurgy at SU

Hosts: Dr Margreth Tadie & Dr Bjorn von der Heyden

The African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) Chair in Geometallurgy, housed at the Department of Earth Sciences and the Department of Chemical Engineering (Stellenbosch University), invites applications for the position of Postdoctoral Researcher in this exciting and interdisciplinary research field. The Research Chair, sponsored by the minerals industry, represents a new research unit at Stellenbosch University that focusses on understanding and modelling ore deposits from their discovery, through mining, to ultimately their beneficiation response. This collaborative research partnership couples geological and minerals processing skillsets with world-class analytical facilities, all housed at Stellenbosch University. With support from postdoctoral researcher appointees, the Research Chair seeks to unlock significant value in the mine-value chain and to become renowned and competitive within both the national- and international research arenas.

Success of the Chair is planned to hinge on three pillars viz. 1. Geology and geological modelling; 2. Process Engineering and flowsheet modelling; and 3. Big Data/Engineering. As such, three postdoctoral researcher positions are currently being offered with each beginning in January 2023. Research contracts will be for one year (12 months), with an option for annual renewal up to a maximum of five years (subject to performance and to the year in which Ph.D. was obtained). The fellowship is a tax-free award, and postdoctoral researchers will not be eligible for employee benefits.

Requirements: Applicants should hold a PhD degree (obtained within the last five years) in one of the following fields: Geology, Earth Sciences, Chemical Engineering, Extractive Metallurgy, Mining Engineering, Mathematics, Data Science, or a related field. Applicants must be fluent in English and possess excellent written communication skills.

Advantageous attributes include:

  1. Experience in using modelling software;
  2. A publication track record of scholarly articles relevant to this position;
  3. Previous postdoctoral experience or work experience in the minerals sector.

Duties: Postdoctoral researchers will be directly involved in developing optimized geometallurgical models and workflows for the minerals sector. Research foci include both theoretical and applied components of this field, and there will be strong emphasis on data management protocols and integration of emerging technologies. Postdoctoral researchers will also be expected to assist with post-graduate student management, teaching of geometallurgy-, geology- and chemical engineering-related subject matter, and preparation of funding proposals (for which the postdoctoral researcher may be the PI). Postdoctoral researchers are expected to produce at least two journal articles per year.

How to apply: Applicants must submit a single PDF document, comprising a cover/motivation letter, a comprehensive CV (including publication list) and the names and contact details of three contactable professional references. Applications should be emailed to both Dr Bjorn von der Heyden and Dr Margreth Tadie by 15 November 2022. For more information related to the positions, please contact either Dr von der Heyden or Dr Tadie via email.

Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Unlocking sustainability in chemical- and minerals processing through digital twins

Unlocking sustainability in chemical- and minerals processing through digital twins 

Host: Prof Tobi Louw 

Despite the promise of the 4th industrial revolution, the adoption of data-driven technologies in the chemical- and minerals-processing industry has been limited. The slow uptake can be attributed in part to the complexity of the highly integrated industrial processes and the nature of the process data, which remains sparse due to persistent challenges in online measurement of relevant process variables (e.g., chemical composition). Industry practitioners also remain sceptical of purely data-driven models given the importance of fundamental understanding in the development, design, and safe operation of large industrial processes. 

On the other hand, the chemical- and minerals processing industry is uniquely positioned to impact global sustainability through responsible engineering practices and process optimisation. Digital twins, developed through a combination of process data and fundamental understanding, can provide new insights into current process operation as well as opportunities for optimisation, thereby lowering environmental impact and enhancing process sustainability. The development of such digital twins will require an understanding of the industrial processes as well as the supporting data driven approaches, coupled with intentional facilitated interactions with industry practitioners. 

The machine learning research group at the Department of Chemical Engineering, Stellenbosch University, has established itself as an important contributor to the field of data science in the context of chemical- and minerals processing. We are uniquely positioned to engage with the industry to identify opportunities for digital twinning. A postdoctoral research fellow in the field of chemical engineering, with experience in data-driven modelling and supported by our established research group, can contribute to the development and implementation of digital twins in the processing industry, providing actionable insights to enhance process sustainability. 

Requirements: 

  • A Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering or relevant field, obtained within the past five years. 
  • Excellent communication skills in English (both written and verbal). 
  • Demonstratable experience in mathematical modelling and/or data science or related fields, including scientific computation using MATLAB, Python, or similar. 

The postdoctoral researcher will be required to:  

  • Develop contacts and engage with the process industry to understand opportunities and barriers to digital twinning. 
  • Identify new opportunities for the application of modelling and machine learning in the process industry. 
  • Provide technical support to other researchers in the group working on similar projects. 
  • Publish research outputs from current and previous projects. 
  • Develop new areas of research within the research group. 
  • Write funding proposals to sustain research activities. 

Commencement of duties: The successful candidate will be required to assume duties in May 2024. 

Appointment period: May 2024 – April 2025, with the possibility of continued appointment. Extension of funding beyond April 2025 is contingent upon the successful publication of a minimum of two articles in a recognised journal and demonstrated satisfactory progress on the assigned project. 

How to apply: Applicants must send a cover letter, comprehensive resume or curriculum vitae, including a list of publications, a link to the candidate’s Ph.D. thesis, a complete academic record, and the names and contact details of two referees to Prof Tobi Louw 

Application closing date: Monday, 22 April 2024. 

Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Data-driven process monitoring and control for the minerals industry

In the Machine Learning and Extractive Metallurgy research groups of the Department of Process Engineering at Stellenbosch University, a specific research focus is process monitoring and control for the mineral industry. Statistical and machine learning techniques are explored in the context of dynamic simulation and real-world case studies to investigate promising approaches for cost effective and sustainable operation of mineral processing circuits. The main role of the postdoctoral fellow will be to carry out research in data-driven process monitoring and control as applied to mineral processing case studies. This is achieved primarily through the identification of newly developed methods from various fields (e.g. neuroscience, robotics, etc.) through literature studies, followed by application and evaluation thereof in the minerals processing context by means of algorithm studies.

The full advert, detailing the position’s duties and responsibilities, and application requirements, can be downloaded here.

Queries and complete applications can be sent to Prof Tobi Louw

High-pressure thermodynamics and phase behaviour including both measurement and thermodynamic modelling

Host: Prof. Cara Schwarz

An opportunity for a postdoctoral research fellow in the field of thermal separations technology at the Department of Process Engineering at Stellenbosch University is currently available. The focus of the position would be on high-pressure thermodynamics and phase behaviour including both measurement and thermodynamic modelling. The position will be awarded initially for a period of one year but may be extended based on performance and availability of funds.

The postdoctoral researcher would be required to conduct research and provide significant assistance with the following:

  • Supervision of postgraduate student projects;
  • Assist with the management of the research group;
  • Performing experimental work when necessary;
  • Publication of research outputs from research generated;
  • Improving experimental facilities; and
  • Writing new funding proposals to sustain research activities.

 

Desired Skills and Experience

Essential: A PhD in Chemical Engineering, Chemical Technology or similar discipline obtained in the last five years, with a proven research record in the field of thermodynamics and/or phase behaviour measurement and/or modelling.  As the position requires significant communication tasks, good command of the English language, especially written English, is essential.

Desirable: A first degree in Chemical Engineering, allowing registration as a professional engineer, will be considered a significant benefit. Preference will be given to applicants with notable experience and skills and a good publication record. Strong leadership qualities, the ability to co-manage a group of students and experience in co-supervision of students will be an advantage.

 

Application

A covering letter and curriculum vitae, including all research outputs, as well as names and contact details of at least three references, should be sent to Prof. C.E. Schwarz preferably, via e-mail: cschwarz@sun.ac.za. Review of application will commence on the 26th of September but late applications may be considered.

Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Thermodynamics, phase behaviour, distillation and/or extraction principles

An opportunity for a post-doctoral researcher in the field of thermal separations technology at the Department of Process Engineering at Stellenbosch University is currently available. The focus of the position would be on thermodynamics, phase behaviour, distillation and/or extraction principles with particular focus on either high pressure/supercritical applications or low pressure thermodynamics and modelling thereof. The position will be awarded initially for a period of one year but may be extended based on performance and availability of funds.

The full advert, detailing the position’s duties and responsibilities, and application requirements, can be downloaded here.

Queries and complete applications can be sent to Prof Cara Schwarz

Doctoral Opportunities

Green Hydrogen Engineering Research

Location: Department of Chemical Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, 7600

Degree: Two doctoral positions available

Host: The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Prof Prathieka Naidoo

The transformation of the South African energy sector involves the realisation of a diversified energy eco-system. Hydrogen will play a key role in the green economy and will be part of this energy mix. Aligned with the Green Hydrogen Strategy and Just Energy Transition, research under the Green Hydrogen Chair and Engineering Research Platform at Stellenbosch University will cover three approaches, i.e., (i) SA being one of the low-cost exporters of green hydrogen derived products; (ii) decarbonatization of the local industry; and (iii) utilising endowments and green hydrogen production capacity to improve the country’s competitiveness of its economy and industry champions. Current and new project investigations will cover the harnessing of energy via renewable resources through hydrogen generation, its conversion, storage and distribution, and the application thereof.

Successful candidates will be required to start postgraduate studies in March 2023.

Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a four-year undergraduate BEng. or BSc. Eng. degree in Chemical Engineering from an accredited tertiary institute. Applicants must hold a relevant Meng or equivalent from an accredited tertiary institute. Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents who display academic excellence.

Application documents: A cover letter, CV, copies of degree certificates and complete academic transcripts, and the contact details of at least three academic references must be provided. Merge all documents into a single PDF and attach it to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be submitted to Prof Prathieka Naidoo.

Commencement of studies: March 2023

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill this position.

Optimization of bioprocesses for the production of valuable chemicals and innovative food products from sugarcane

Location: Department of Chemical Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Degree level: Full-time research-based PhD degree in Chemical Engineering

Host: Prof Johann Görgens

An opportunity is available for postgraduate research at PhD level focused on the optimization of bioprocesses for the production of valuable chemicals and innovative food products from sugarcane. A number of postgrad positions are available, covering key technical areas such as microbial utilisation of sugar mixtures for conversion to chemicals and proteins, chemical conversion of sugar mixtures to furan derivatives and the application of chromatography for purification of chemicals, oligosaccharices and proteins.

The global sugarcane industry is under substantial pressure to diversify its product range from the conventional sugar, ethanol and electricity regime, to include a broader range of green chemicals, biomaterials and innovative food components. Such a diversification strategy holds potential for new revenue streams that will create a sustainable future for this socially-important agroprocessing industry. Sugarcane will in the future be considered as more of an industrial crop rather than just a source of sugar, with multiproduct facilities, referred as “biorefineries,” considered as a model for such expansion of the commercial footprint of the industry.

These postgraduate projects fall within the Research Chair in Sugarcane Biorefineries at the Department of Chemical Engineering, Stellenbosch University. The research chair has broad and in-depth collaborations within the local sugarcane industry, to ensure that the research approaches and outputs remain relevant to industrial practice. Successful postgraduate candidates will be exposed to a network of industry participants, which hold the promise of future career development. Successful candidates will be offered a minimum bursary of ZAR130 000 per year of study, and will be required to start postgraduate studies during January 2023.

Requirements to apply: Applicants for PhD studies must hold a Master’s of Engineering degree in Chemical Engineering from an accredited tertiary institution. Previous experience in bioprocess development and/or biomass processing will be a definite advantage but is not required. Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents who display academic excellence.

Application documents: Interested candidates should provide a cover letter, completed departmental application, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least two academic references. All documents should preferably be merged into a single PDF and attached to the application. Refer to the full application procedure here, where the departmental application document can be downloaded. Applications can be sent to Prof Johann Görgens. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Geometallurgy Research in Chemical Engineering

Location: Departments of Chemical Engineering and Earth Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Hosts: Dr Margreth Tadie & Dr Bjorn Von der Heyden

The African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) Chair in Geometallurgy, housed at Stellenbosch University’s (SU) Departments of Chemical Engineering and Earth Sciences, has two exciting fully funded PhD opportunities. `

Opportunity 1

South Africa is one of the largest producers of manganese globally. Sustainable resource management will yield lasting impacts to the country and global economy. The project involves optimising metallurgical performance in beneficiation of manganese ores using a geometallurgical approach. Focus areas for the project include machine learning and data science, sustainable resource utilisation and geometallurgy.

Opportunity 2

Industry has pledged to achieve targeted CO2 reduction by 2030. To contribute towards these efforts our research group is investigating CO2 removal technologies using tailings. The PhD will address CO2 emissions and global warming from a South African tailings valorisation perspective. The project will focus on areas including geometallurgy, circular economy and tailings management.

Requirements to apply:

Applicants should hold the relevant degree qualifications to meet SU’s entry requirements. Preference will be given to applicants from the fields of chemical engineering, extractive metallurgy, data science, or a related field. Applicants must possess excellent written communication skills.

Applications will be evaluated by both SU and African Rainbow Minerals. Students are expected to complete their degrees within the typical SU degree timeframe, i.e. two years for an MEng/MSc and three years for a PhD.

Only RSA citizens are eligible to apply.

Application documents:

Applicants must submit a single pdf document comprising a cover letter, comprehensive CV , academic transcript and including three references (one academic).

Applications and enquiries should be emailed to Dr Margreth Tadie by 10 February 2023.

Research in geometallurgy with SU and African Rainbow Minerals

Location: Departments of Process Engineering and Earth Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Hosts: Dr Margreth Tadie & Dr Bjorn Von der Heyden

The African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) Chair in Geometallurgy, housed at Stellenbosch University’s (SU) Departments of Process Engineering and Earth Sciences, invite candidates to apply for PhD research in this exciting and interdisciplinary field. This Research Chair, sponsored by the minerals industry, represents a new research unit at SU that focuses on understanding and modelling ore deposits from their discovery through mining, to ultimately their beneficiation response. This collaborative research partnership couples geological and minerals processing skillsets with world-class analytical facilities housed at SU. Student projects will cover a range of subtopics within the field of geometallurgy, including themes such as ore body characterization, a meta-analysis of existing datasets, ore body and geometallurgical modelling, process modelling and optimization. Student projects will involve a component of field/mining industry exposure. Supervision and project oversight will be provided by Drs Margreth Tadie and Bjorn von der Heyden, an assigned postdoctoral researcher, and an industry-based engineer. 

Requirements to apply:

Applicants should hold the relevant degree qualifications to meet SU’s entry requirements for admission to the PhD programme. Preference will be given to applicants from the fields of geology, earth sciences, chemical engineering, extractive metallurgy, mining engineering, mathematics, data science, or a related field. Applicants must be fluent in English and possess excellent written communication skills. 

Applications will be evaluated by both SU and African Rainbow Minerals. Students are expected to complete their degrees within the typical SU degree timeframe, i.e. three years for a PhD.

Application documents:

Applicants must submit a single pdf document comprising a cover letter, and comprehensive CV including three professional references. Applications should be addressed to Dr Margreth Tadie and Dr Brjorn Von der Heyden by 21 November 2022.

Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Data-driven process modelling of pyrometallurgical operations

Scope of Research: In the Extractive Metallurgy and Machine Learning research groups of the Department of Process Engineering at Stellenbosch University, a specific research focus is process monitoring and control for the minerals industry. Statistical and machine learning techniques are explored in the context of dynamic simulation and real-world case studies to investigate promising approaches for cost effective and sustainable operation of mineral processing circuits.

An industrially funded postgraduate opportunity at the PhD level is currently available within the research groups to work on data-driven process modelling of pyrometallurgical operations.

Host: The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Profs Tobi Louw, Guven Akdogan, and Steven Bradshaw.

Requirements and Recommendations: 

  • B.Eng in Chemical Engineering (or related field) with a very good academic record as well as an M.Eng in a relevant field.
  • Strong interest in mathematical modelling, statistics, and machine learning.
  • Experience in machine learning techniques such as multi-layer perceptron neural networks and deep learning.
  • Excellent programming skills (preferably in MATLAB and/or Python).
  • The ability to learn independently and take initiative.

Conditions of bursary: Please note that postgraduate students are not appointed as employees and their bursaries are awarded tax free. They are therefore not eligible for employee benefits.

Commencement of studies: Mid-February 2022

Application closing date: 10 January 2022

Enquiries: Please send your CV as well as a cover letter (briefly describing your interest in the project) to Prof Steven Bradshaw (smb@sun.ac.za).

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to make an appointment for this position.

Master’s Research Opportunities

Valourisation of fruit processing residues into high-value products

Location: Department of Chemical Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Host: Prof Johann Görgens

Degree level: Full-time, research-based master’s degree in chemical engineering (read more here about the programme and admission requirements)

An opportunity is available for scholarship-funded postgraduate research in chemical engineering at master’s level, focused on the assessment of processing methods for citrus fruit residues into valuable organic chemicals, biomaterials and/or bioenergy. Compositional analysis of the available residues will be combined with simulations of alternative process/product options to identify those that are technically and financially most attractive as investment opportunities.

These aforementioned postgraduate project falls within the bioresource engineering research group at the Department of Chemical Engineering, Stellenbosch University. This research group has broad and in-depth collaborations within the local agro-processing sector, based on meaningful expertise with a range of chemical, biochemical and microbial processing methods for plant biomass materials, to ensure that the research approaches and outputs remain relevant to industrial practice. 

Successful postgraduate candidates will be exposed to a network of industry participants, which hold the promise of future career development. Successful candidates will be offered a minimum bursary of ZAR150 000 per year of study, for two years of master’s studies.

Commencement: The successful candidate can start postgraduate work either July 2024 or January 2025.

Requirements to apply:

  • A bachelor’s degree (BEng/BScEng or similar) in Chemical Engineering from an accredited tertiary institution. Candidates with BTech, diploma or advanced diploma qualifications will not be considered for these positions.
  • Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%).
  • Previous experience in bioprocess development and/or biomass processing will be a definite advantage but is not required.
  • Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents who display academic excellence.

Application documents: Interested candidates should provide a cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least three academic references. All documents should be merged into a single PDF and attached to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be sent to jfgorgens@sun.ac.za. You should consider your application unsuccessful if you do not receive any feedback within 4 weeks of applying.

Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Bioresource Engineering

Location: Department of Chemical Engineering and Earth Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Host: Annie Chimphango

Degree level: Master’s degree, two positions available

Project: Smart and Sustainable Intelligent Fibre-Based Packaging for Reducing Food Wastage. (Developing and assessing the  performance and sustainability of smart intelligent fibre-based fruit packaging)

Duration: Two Years (subject to satisfactory performance)

Location: Department of Chemical Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

The Department of Chemical Engineering at Stellenbosch University has two exciting opportunities for research-based master’s degrees.

The research falls within the Bioresource Engineering theme of the Chemical Engineering Department. Successful candidates will be required to start postgraduate studies as soon as possible.

Requirements to apply: Applicants must have a good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a previous qualification in either of the following: Chemical Engineering, Industrial Engineering or Materials Science Engineering, specifically BEng, BScEng, HonsBScEng or HonsBSc degrees majoring in chemistry, polymer science, postharvest technology from an accredited tertiary institution. Preference will be given to South African citizens from diverse groups who display academic excellence.

Application documents: Interested candidates should provide a cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least three academic references. All documents should be merged into a single PDF and attached to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be sent to achimpha@sun.ac.za.

You should consider your application unsuccessful if you do not receive any feedback within 4 weeks. Applications close 28 February, 2023.

Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Green Hydrogen Engineering Research

Location: Department of Chemical Engineering and Earth Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Host: Prof Prathieka Naidoo

Degree level: Master’s degree, two positions available

The transformation of the South African energy sector involves the realisation of a diversified energy eco-system. Hydrogen will play a key role in the green economy and will be part of this energy mix. Aligned with the Green Hydrogen Strategy and Just Energy Transition, research under the Green Hydrogen Chair and Engineering Research Platform at Stellenbosch University will cover three approaches, i.e., (i) SA being one of the low-cost exporters of green hydrogen derived products; (ii) decarbonatization of the local industry; and (iii) utilising endowments and green hydrogen production capacity to improve the country’s competitiveness of its economy and industry champions. Current and new project investigations will cover the harnessing of energy via renewable resources through hydrogen generation, its conversion, storage and distribution, and the application thereof.

Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a four-year undergraduate BEng. or BSc. Eng. degree in Chemical Engineering from an accredited tertiary institute. Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents who display academic excellence

Application documents: A cover letter, CV, copies of degree certificates and complete academic transcripts, and the contact details of at least three academic references must be provided. Merge all documents into a single PDF and attach it to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be submitted to Prof Prathieka Naidoo.

Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Optimization of bioprocesses for the production of valuable chemicals and innovative food products from sugarcane

Location: Department of Chemical Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Degree level: Full-time research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering

Host: Prof Johann Görgens

An opportunity is available for postgraduate research at master’s level focused on the optimization of bioprocesses for the production of valuable chemicals and innovative food products from sugarcane. A number of postgrad positions are available, covering key technical areas such as microbial utilisation of sugar mixtures for conversion to chemicals and proteins, chemical conversion of sugar mixtures to furan derivatives and the application of chromatography for purification of chemicals, oligosaccharices and proteins.

The global sugarcane industry is under substantial pressure to diversify its product range from the conventional sugar, ethanol and electricity regime, to include a broader range of green chemicals, biomaterials and innovative food components. Such a diversification strategy holds potential for new revenue streams that will create a sustainable future for this socially-important agroprocessing industry. Sugarcane will in the future be considered as more of an industrial crop rather than just a source of sugar, with multiproduct facilities, referred as “biorefineries,” considered as a model for such expansion of the commercial footprint of the industry.

These postgraduate projects fall within the Research Chair in Sugarcane Biorefineries at the Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University. The research chair has broad and in-depth collaborations within the local sugarcane industry, to ensure that the research approaches and outputs remain relevant to industrial practice. Successful postgraduate candidates will be exposed to a network of industry participants, which hold the promise of future career development. Successful candidates will be offered a minimum bursary of ZAR130 000 per year of study, and will be required to start postgraduate studies during January 2023.

Requirements to apply: Applicants for the master’s degree must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from an accredited tertiary institution. Candidates with BTech, diploma or advanced diploma qualifications will not be considered for these positions. Previous experience in bioprocess development and/or biomass processing will be a definite advantage but is not required. Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents who display academic excellence.

Application documents: Interested candidates should provide a cover letter, completed departmental application, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least two academic references. All documents should preferably be merged into a single PDF and attached to the application. Refer to the full application procedure here, where the departmental application document can be downloaded. Applications can be sent to Prof Johann Görgens. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Research in geometallurgy with SU and African Rainbow Minerals

Location: Department of Chemical Engineering and Earth Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Hosts: Dr Margreth Tadie & Dr Bjorn Von der Heyden

The African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) Chair in Geometallurgy, housed at Stellenbosch University’s (SU) Departments of Process Engineering and Earth Sciences, invite candidates to apply for master’s research in this exciting and interdisciplinary field. This Research Chair, sponsored by the minerals industry, represents a new research unit at SU that focuses on understanding and modelling ore deposits from their discovery through mining, to ultimately their beneficiation response. This collaborative research partnership couples geological and minerals processing skillsets with world-class analytical facilities housed at SU. Student projects will cover a range of subtopics within the field of geometallurgy, including themes such as ore body characterization, a meta-analysis of existing datasets, ore body and geometallurgical modelling, process modelling and optimization. Student projects will involve a component of field/mining industry exposure. Supervision and project oversight will be provided by Drs Margreth Tadie and Bjorn von der Heyden, an assigned postdoctoral researcher, and an industry-based engineer. 

Requirements to apply:

Applicants should hold the relevant degree qualifications to meet SU’s entry requirements. Preference will be given to applicants from the fields of geology, earth sciences, chemical engineering, extractive metallurgy, mining engineering, mathematics, data science, or a related field. Applicants must be fluent in English and possess excellent written communication skills. 

Applications will be evaluated by both SU and African Rainbow Minerals. Students are expected to complete their degrees within the typical SU degree timeframe, i.e. two years for an MEng/MSc.

Application documents: Applicants must submit a single pdf document comprising a cover letter, and comprehensive CV including three professional references. Applications should be addressed to Dr Margreth Tadie and Dr Brjorn Von der Heyden by 21 November 2022.

Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Process simulation using modelling software and a technoeconomic assessment of processes

Location: Department of Chemical Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Degree level: Full-time research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering (one position available)

Host: Dr Margreth Tadie

A bursary-funded postgraduate opportunity is available for one master’s candidate in the area of Process Development with the Extractive Metallurgy Group at the Department of Process Engineering.

The project involves process simulation using modelling software and a technoeconomic assessment of processes. The project is industry led and the candidate will be expected to work in collaboration with industry. The candidate must have strong mathematical skills, experience with programming, an understanding of metallurgical processes and good communication and interpersonal skills. The successful candidate will be required to conduct process data from fieldwork, develop simulations and run them using geological data.

Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a 4-year bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from an accredited tertiary institution, or a BEng (Hons)/BSc (Hons) in either Chemical Engineering, or Extractive Metallurgy. Candidates with BTech, three-year BSc, HonsBSc or MSc qualifications will not be considered for these positions. The candidate must be a South African citizen.

Application documents: Interested candidates should provide a cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least two academic references. All documents should preferrably be merged into a single PDF and attached to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be sent to Dr Margreth Tadie at mtadie@sun.ac.za by Tuesday, 29 April 2022.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Geological characterisation and process simulation using modelling software

Location: Department of Chemical Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Degree level: Full-time research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering (one position available)

Host: Dr Margreth Tadie

A bursary-funded postgraduate opportunity is available for one master’s candidate in the area of Geometallurgy with the Extractive Metallurgy Group at the Department of Process Engineering.

The project involves geological characterisation and process simulation using modelling software. The project is industry led and the candidate will be expected to work in collaboration with industry. The candidate must have strong mathematical skills, experience with programming, an understanding of metallurgical processes and good communication and interpersonal skills. The successful candidate will be required to conduct process data from fieldwork, develop simulations and run them using geological data.

Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a 4-year bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from an accredited tertiary institution, or a BEng (Hons)/BSc (Hons) in either Chemical Engineering, or Extractive Metallurgy. Candidates with BTech, three-year BSc, HonsBSc or MSc qualifications will not be considered for these positions. The candidate must be a South African citizen.

Application documents: Interested candidates should provide a cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least two academic references. All documents should preferrably be merged into a single PDF and attached to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be sent to Dr Margreth Tadie at mtadie@sun.ac.za by Tuesday, 29 April 2022.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

High pressure phase behaviour of CO2 + n-alkane + acid systems

Location: Department of Chemical Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Degree level: Full-time research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering (one position available)

An opportunity is available for postgraduate research at master’s level to investigate the high-pressure phase behaviour of CO2 + n-alkane + acid systems.
Previous studies have shown that for the CO2 + n-alkane + 1-alcohol systems molecular interactions between the n-alkane and 1-alcohol are significant and influence the phase behaviour. However, while this particular series has been well studied, series with other solutes and the molecular interactions present therein are lesser well studied and understood, hindering the implementation of supercritical CO2 processes. The aim of this project is to study the molecular interactions present CO2 + n-alkane + acid systems via experimental measurements and thermodynamic modelling.

The research work falls within the Separations Technology Research Group of the Department of Process Engineering. Successful candidates will be required to start postgraduate studies in January 2022.

  • Requirements to apply:Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from an accredited tertiary institution. Candidates with BTech, BSc or MSc qualifications will not be considered for these positions. Previous experience in experimental measurement of thermodynamic data will be a definite advantage but is not required. Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents who display academic excellence.
  • Application documents: Interested candidates should provide a cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least three academic references. All documents should be merged into a single PDF and attached to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be sent to Prof. C.E. Schwarz at cschwarz@sun.ac.za.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Spectroscopic measurement of monomer fractions in multicomponent solvating mixtures towards thermodynamic model improvement

Location: Department of Chemical Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Degree level: Research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering (one position available)

Thermodynamic model development has been traditionally geared towards the prediction and correlation of phase equilibrium behaviour. The exponential growth in desktop computing power and the popularisation of fundamental thermodynamic models has facilitated a shift in this focus towards the broader thermodynamic web. The monomer fraction, measurable using Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is hailed in the literature as being singularly representative of the extent of hydrogen bonding in the liquid phase of associating and solvating systems – mixtures common to a wide range of applications including biochemical, pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries. The lack of extensive data, even for binary mixtures, limits the testing of thermodynamic model performance and prevents the systematic improvement of these models.

The proposed project will consider the systematic measurement of monomer fractions in solvating systems containing one or more alcohols, ketones and other oxygenated organic species. The candidate will then be expected to assess the predictions of these properties by state of the art thermodynamic models, and determine whether predictive capabilities of the models can be improved by such inclusion. Depending on results and motivation of the candidate and supervisor, the project is also readily scoped for an upgrade to a PhD.

  • Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a previous qualification in Chemical Engineering or Analytical Chemistry, specifically BEng, BScEng, HonsBScEng or HonsBSc degrees from an accredited tertiary institution. Candidates with BTech, MTech, MEng or MSc qualifications will not be considered for these positions. Previous experience in spectroscopy and/or thermodynamic modelling will be a definite advantage. Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents who display academic excellence.
  • Application documents: Interested candidates should provide a cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts, and contact details of at least three academic references. All documents should be merged into a single PDF and attached to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be sent to Dr Jamie Cripwell at cripwell@sun.ac.za.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.

Cold Thermal Energy Storage using renewable solar energy

Location: Department of Chemical Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch

Degree level: Research-based master’s degree in Chemical Engineering (one position available)

Cold thermal energy storage can alleviate energy supply intermittency as well as increase renewable energy utilization. This project will investigate the use of hydrate based cold storage of energy generated by solar for community-based applications, such as refrigeration and air conditioning. The assessment of the technology will be performed via simulations, based on available experimental data. The work will involve the determination of energy requirements for a selected application, selection of cold storage materials (two), inclusion of the renewable energy source followed by an economic analysis of the technology.

Successful candidates will be required to start postgraduate studies in January 2022.

  • Requirements to apply: Applicants must have good academic record (preferably with a course aggregate of >65%) and hold a four-year undergraduate BEng. or BSc. Eng. degree in Chemical Engineering from an accredited tertiary institution. Preference will be given to South African citizens and permanent residents who display academic excellence.
  • Application documents: Cover letter, CV, complete academic transcripts and the contact details of at least three academic references. Merge all documents into a single PDF and attach it to the application. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications can be submitted to Prof Prathieka Naidoo at prathiekan@sun.ac.za.

*Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to fill the position.