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Early Stage Researcher 12 (PhD Candidate) for the Ocuther European Training Network within the Marie Sklodowska Curie Programme (1.0 FTE)

Job description

The core activity of the Pharmaceutics groups is the design and pre-clinical testing of tailor-made drug delivery systems for site-specific, time- and/or rate-controlled delivery of small molecular weight drugs, therapeutic proteins, and nucleic acids (including DNA and siRNA). The major strength of the department is the multidisciplinary nature. As such it can cover the development of drug delivery systems from the design and synthesis up to preclinical testing. It has a good infrastructure for synthesis and characterization of nanoparticles in addition to a dedicated cell culture facility. In addition, it has access to one of the biggest laboratory animal facilities in Europe providing support in animal testing and in vivo imaging. The Departement Pharmaceutics is a member of the Faculty of Science, but is also part of the Utrecht Life Science Cluster with the aim to advance therapies into the clinic. In addition, the Departement Pharmaceutics has many collaborations with academic groups and biopharmaceutical companies worldwide.

The OCUTHER project will provide training across a wide range of disciplines including biology, pharmaceutics, chemistry and material sciences, ensuring interdisciplinary and intersectoral experience. You will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Life Sciences of Utrecht University and will defend your PhD at the end of the project.

Early Stage Researcher 12: Development of sustained release formulations

The formulations that will be developed for ocular delivery in this project need to fulfil several requirements including:  a) They should facilitate administration in the vitreous cavity through small needles and b) the injected volume contains sufficient amounts of drug to achieve a (prolonged) therapeutic concentration in the eye and c) the formulations need to ensure stability of the loaded drugs and provide sustained release and/or intracellular delivery for an aimed duration of time. The task of the ESR is to develop an ocular formulation that can be easily injected using a small needle and forms a gel at the site of administration from which entrapped bioactives (small drugs or therapeutic proteins) are slowly released. Drug release will be studied in vitro and the most promising formulations will be tested in terms of manufacturing (particularly sterilization methods, freeze drying and maintenance of properties after reconstitution).


Work environment

You will perform your PhD research in a multidisciplinary Initial Training Network (ITN) project called OCUTHER.



Msc degree in an appropriate field of science (e.g. chemistry, pharmacy, molecular life sciences). Experience with polymer chemistry and hydrogels is highly advantageous. At the time of recruitment you must be in the first four years of your research career and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree; You have excellent communication skills and are able to work efficiently in a team. Specific technical requirements are mentioned separately for the individual ESR descriptions. Recruitment is open to all nationalities, but because of mobility rules defined by the EU, at the time of recruitment, candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the three years immediately prior to the starting date (compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account).


The candidate is offered a full-time position (1,0 fte) for four years. The gross salary varies, depending on education and experience, between €2,191 per month, and will increase to €2,801 in the fourth year. You will be classified as a PhD candidate in the Dutch university job-ranking system (UFO). Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 % per year. We offer a pension scheme, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). The research group will provide the candidate with necessary support on all aspects of the project. For more information: working at Utrecht University.

About the organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old center and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht city has been consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the Netherlands.

The Faculty of Science consists of six departments: Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Information and Computing Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry and Mathematics. The faculty is home to 5600 students and nearly 1500 staff and is internationally renowned for the quality of its research. The faculty's academic programmes reflect developments in today's society.

The Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS) is the research institute of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Utrecht University. UIPS focuses on processes around discovery, development, and use of drugs and medical nutrition using molecular and technological principles from the Natural and Life Sciences. This research is ideally positioned in the Faculty of Science to work on basic scientific problems and to translate new findings into potential solutions to urgent societal medical needs, which are addressed in the Faculties of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. Every year around 400 peer-reviewed articles are published and around 30 PhD candidates defend their thesis. UIPS is partner in several open source innovation networks.

Additional information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Dr Tina Vermonden, e-mail:, +316 20291631


Your application should include (and be limited to) the following attachments:

  • letter of motivation;
  • curriculum vitae;
  • brief statement on how you will contribute to this project.

Application deadline is 5 February 2017.  
To apply, please click the application button below.

No commercial propositions please.

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