Industrial biotechnology innovation associate

Braga, Distrito de Braga, Portugal Full-time

SilicoLife is seeking a highly motivated person with a strong expertise on industrial biotechnology to work as Innovation Associate in the development of an innovation strategy towards the integrated rational design of cell factories for high value compounds combining in silico rational design with the latest advances in molecular biology.

SilicoLife builds computational models of microbial cells and develops proprietary state-of-the-art algorithms to find the most efficient pathways between raw-materials and end-products, enabling our clients to streamline the strain design process and explore non-intuitive pathway modifications, dramatically cutting costs in their development programs and reducing laboratory experimentation.

This position is part of the H2020 SME Innovation Associate program, a new pilot action under the EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme 'Horizon 2020' supporting European SMEs and Start-ups to recruit highly qualified associates from other countries to explore an innovation business idea. The action aims at overcoming barriers for EU SMEs and Start-ups to the recruitment of highly qualified specialists (PhD or equivalent) that are not available on the national job market, but whose knowledge would be crucial to open up opportunities for innovation and significant growth for the enterprise.

Responsibilities and tasks

The selected candidate should have a strong knowledge of the industrial biotechnology sector and of its potential applications (e.g. cosmetics, fragrances and flavors, chemical building blocks or biopharma).

Knowledge in biochemical pathways and metabolic engineering will also be valorized to ensure that the candidate can understand the core technology of the company. The successful candidate should have a PhD in biology, biochemistry, biological engineering or a related discipline and will be integrated in a multi-disciplinary team working in an innovation strategy exploiting the company capabilities in the design of cell factories and novel pathways.

The candidate will work in a 12-month project and will be integrated in a multi-disciplinary team at SilicoLife. In this period the selected candidate should work to meet the following aims:

  • Definition of a portfolio of target molecules using industrial know-how combined with a rational approach supported in scientific and market data to choose the most suitable hosts and compounds;
  • Definition of an integrated rational development pipeline supported in the in silico technology framework of the company combined with the latest advances in molecular biology;
  • Proposal of an innovation strategy plan exploiting the company’s technology and considering novel market approaches for the industrial biotechnology market.

The person will need to be comfortable resolving complex technical problems, often with multiple calls on their time, while maintaining rigorous attention to detail and a methodical, self-documenting approach. Good communication, excellent organization, analytical and troubleshooting skills are therefore essential. 


At least Recognised Researcher (R2) - PhD holder or equivalent. The successful candidate should have a PhD in biology, biochemistry, biological engineering or a related discipline, industrial experience will be strongly valorised.

Further qualifications:

  • Candidates may not have resided in Portugal for more than 12 months in the last 3 years
  • Excellent achievement track record (publications, awards, conference presentations, etc.)
  • Strong work ethics and motivation to succeed within a competitive research field
  • Team spirit and excellent collaboration skills
  • Previous experience in the design of cell factories will be appreciated.


  • Gross salary: 3785 Euro/month (before taxes)*
  • 2 extra days of vacations plus the 22 defined by the Portuguese law.
  • Relocation costs: 2.500 Euro in the beggining of the contract and 2.500 Euro in the end as defined in the call rules.
  • Executive education program in Blue Ocean Strategy at INSEAD, plus 4 other training actions organized by the EC
  • Contract Duration under the H2020 Innovation Associate Grant: 12 months (September 2017 - August 2018)

 *Following the Portuguese labor code the monthly gross salary is paid by the 12 months plus holidays and christmas wages, 14 times in total. Plus food wage.

Start date for the position: 1 September 2017.


About H2020 SME Innovation Associate program

For more information about the program and the reruitment process please visit:


About SilicoLife

SilicoLife designs optimized microorganisms and novel pathways for industrial biotechnology applications, based on metabolic engineering and synthetic biology approaches, shortening the development time and costs of new highly effective processes for the production of specific target compounds such as chemicals, food ingredients or biopolymers. Leading chemical, materials and synthetic biology companies have chosen Silicolife as development partner to maintain their market edge in increasingly competitive markets. SilicoLife is considered a highly innovative company, including as one of the 40 Hottest Emerging Companies in the Advanced Bioeconomy by BiofuelsDigest and Startup of the week by Wired UK.