Musculoskeletal Tissue Regeneration

ESR project


Title of project

Development of volumetric bioprinting processes for the rapid biofabrication of tissue engineered constructs

We offer

A 4-year PhD student position in the interdisciplinary area of biomaterials, biofabrication and regenerative medicine. Your project will focus on the generation of advanced biomaterials using 3D-(bio)printing technologies.

You will be offered a full-time PhD position at the UMCU, initially for one year. Upon successful evaluation of the first year your employment will be extended for three more years (total: 4 years). Your gross salary will be in line with the collective labour agreement of your employer. The full-time gross monthly salary ranges at the UMCU from € 2357 to start with in the first year, to € 3020 after 3 years.The exact net salary will depend on your eligibility to receiving the 30% tax benefit. The 30% tax benefit cannot be guaranteed. The HR department will request for this benefit for you, after which the tax office will make a decision. Without the 30% tax benefit, the minimum net salary is approximately € 1,850 per month. The salary is supplemented by a guaranteed end-of-year bonus of 8.3% and a holiday allowance of 8% of your yearly salary. We offer a pension scheme (partly paid by employer), collective insurance schemes, parental leave, travel allowance (home to work and for work purposes), and a flexible system of benefits (multiple choice model at UU/ a la carte model at UMCU). Facilities for sports and childcare are available. Check the UMCU website for more information about working at the UMCU.The mobility allowance is already included in the ESRs living allowance (salary). There is an internal individual training budget to attend external courses, conferences or workshops. Travel to the Partner Organisation and visa costs are financed by the project.

We ask

You hold a MSc degree in biofabrication, biomaterials, regenerative medicine, biomedical engineering or a related area, with proven expertise in biofabrication, biomedical sciences, engineering and physics, and affinity for biology and biomaterials.


The Department of Orthopaedics at the UMC Utrecht is a global leader in the development of novel regenerative technologies, such as 3D (bio)printing, the application of biomaterials and controlled release systems, and novel imaging modalities. Within this theme, we focus on several areas of the musculoskeletal system including regeneration of cartilaginous tissues and joint and tissue homeostasis. The department of Orthopaedics initiated the Utrecht Biofabrication Facility, a leading European knowledge center that aims at expediting emerging biofabrication technologies in areas of regenerative medicine, 3D in vitro cell culture models and therapeutic treatments. In this research line, the Biofabrication facility has pioneered several technologies to process living cells into spatially organized 3D constructs, and is investigating their applications in regenerative medicine and for the fabrication of advanced in vitro models.


The fabrication of tissue engineered, regenerative constructs holds the promise to tackle donor tissue shortages and counter currently untreatable degenerative diseases. For instance, due to the aging population, the number of joint replacement surgeries is expected to increase within the next 10 years by about 30%. The metal joint prosthesis is a successful treatment, however, only have a limited life span requiring costly revision surgery. This increasing societal and economical burden asks for an alternative for these metal implants.

Bioprinting technologies open new avenues for addressing such medical and societal challenges. You will perform research in the area of biofabrication, to develop novel technologies to generate personalized 3D multi-cellular structures that can be scale up to clinically relevant size, and be applied for regeneration and patient specific implants. As a PhD student, you will work at the Utrecht Regenerative Medicine Center in a multidisciplinary team focusing on integrating knowledge of engineereing, biomaterials chemistry, cartilage and bone biology with (bio)fabrication technologies. You are responsible for the development and of novel photonics-based bioprinting technologies, and smart biomaterials to be used as (bio)inks. Various biofabrication technologies will be used to prepare constructs that are able to not only withstand the challenging mechanical loads experienced in native tissues in vivo but also steer (stem) cell fate to guide tissue regeneration.


  • Master degree in biofabrication, biomedical engineering, biomaterials or in a related area
  • Proven expertise in biofabrication, 3D printing and bioengineering
  • Experiences in photonics, programming, 3D modelling, cell and tissue culture will be positively evaluated
  • Ability to thrive in a multidisciplinary research environment, learn quick and to contribute to team efforts and projects
  • Ability to communicate effectively scientific ideas, foster collaboration and independent thinking.
  • Proven proficiency in written and spoken English.
  • Willing to temporarily work at collaborating research facilities in the Netherlands and overseas

We are looking for an excellent, talented, enthusiastic, highly motivated and goal-oriented Early Stage Researcher (ESR), with a no-nonsense mentality. The ideal candidate is interested in regenerative medicine and stem cell biology, is highly motivated to perform research in an excellent, exciting and international working environment, and is committed to a 4 year PhD track. You are excited about moving to Utrecht and to perform two secondments at one of the RESCUE Partner Organisations in NL, EU or globally.

This research project is one of the 30 PhD project within the RESCUE project, which is co-funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020's Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND doctorate programme scheme. Specific and strict eligibility requirements with regards to mobility, career stage and the English language apply.

Mandatory and strict requirements: you are in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of your research career (no doctoral degree) prior to the appointment date; you did not reside or carry out your main activity (e.g. reside, work, studies) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months during the 3 years immediately prior to the application deadline; and you hold a MSc degree (or will graduate before the appointment date) in the above mentioned field(s). A summary of the other requirements: excellent communication skills and excellent proficiency of the English language (both oral and written) are absolutely required. You are accurate, cooperative, flexible and mobile. An inquisitive mind-set and self-reliance are very important.

Contact person & more information

Dr Riccardo Levato / Prof. Jos Malda


This project is part of RESCUE, a multidisciplinary, intersectoral and interdisciplinary PhD training programme in Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells organised by UMC Utrecht (coordinator) and Utrecht University. RESCUE is partly funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020's Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND scheme. There are specific requirements with regards to English language and mobility for candidates who would like to take part in this programme. More information