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Position Available at Celignis
Celignis Team

Applicant Sought for PhD Grant Application



Celignis is a biomass analysis laboratory that characterises samples for properties relevant to the production of biofuels, energy, chemicals and biobased products. We are also involved in research, being a partner in two Horizon 2020 EU collaborative research projects related to the bioeconomy.

Celignis also has key IP based on our custom mathematical models that allow for the chemical composition of biomass to be predicted based on their near infrared (NIR) spectra.


We are recruiting for a person who will be an applicant in our application for funding for a 3 year PhD that will be associated with the University of Limerick but the student will be placed in the Celignis labs (also in Limerick) and employed by the company. The position will involve the following main tasks:

  • Expansion of our current NIR models so that they will be suitable for transfer/use with in-line process equipment at biomass processing facilities.
  • Undertaking detailed and selective protocols for the extraction of different chemicals from biomass, the analysis of these extracts, and the development of NIR models for the outputs of the process.
  • Performing detailed chemical analysis of liquid outputs from biomass treatment processes (for example for sugar degradation products and oligomer content/composition) and the development of NIR models for the composition of these liquids.
  • Developing NIR models for the anaerobic digestion (AD) sector.

We are a young ambitious start-up company with aspirations to expand our operations over the coming years. We are looking for someone who shares our ambition, motivation, and drive and will be comfortable working within a start-up and contributing the energies that would be required to facilitate its growth.

The position is for a 3 year PhD.

Requirements and Expectations

  • A high level (min 2.1) undergraduate degree in chemistry, analytical chemistry, chemical engineering, or another relevant discipline.
  • A good understanding of mathematics.
  • Highly computer literate and comfortable learning new software programs.
  • Be comfortable handling chemical data.
  • Strong command of spoken and written English.
  • Proven capability of working to deadlines.
  • Integrate with and positively contribute towards the working practices, drive, and ethos of an ambitious start-up.
  • Motivated, takes the initiative, and willingness to develop new skills.
  • An EU (including UK) citizen.


  • Undertaking a variety of existing analysis techniques in the Celignis labs.
  • Developing new biomass analysis procedures.
  • Utilisation of a wide array of analytical equipment, in particular GC-FID, GC-MS, ion chromatography, and near infrared spectroscopy.
  • Using a variety of solvents to extract various components from different types of biomass. This will involve the use of accelerated solvent extraction equipment.
  • Undertaking experiments related to the pre-treatment of biomass and then analysing the outputs from this process.
  • Analysing the composition of a variety of process liquids for carbohydrates, sugar degradation products and other constituents.
  • Developing a strong understanding of chemometric principles and the regression techniques used to link spectral (NIR) and chemical data.
  • Using chemometric software in order to develop NIR models for composition.
  • Producing reports according to specific requirements and deadlines.
  • Presenting outputs of the work at research project meetings and conferences.
  • Interacting positively with Celignis management, lab workers, and research collaborators.
  • Dealing honestly in all matters relating to the Employer’s business.


€17,000 per annum plus Celignis will cover university fees (~€8k per annum).

Start Date

June 2018.

Deadline for Application

We intend to apply for Irish funding to fund the position. The deadline for this application is April, meaning that we need to choose a suitable candidate by the end of March 2018.


If you have relevant experience and qualifications please contact Dan Hayes on 061 518 440 or email a cover letter, explaining how you fulfil the requirements, and an up-to-date CV to

Applications that do not include a cover letter will be rejected.

CVs that do not include the grade achieved at undergraduate/postgraduate level will also result in rejection of the application.

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