(Senior) Fermentation scientist/engineer - Holiferm

Location: Manchester, UK
Posted: 1 month ago

To apply or for more information, please send your CV and a compelling covering letter to tom.pallett@holiferm.com.

Application process:

1.       Screening based on CV and cover letter:

2.       Technical written assessment

3.       On-line interview for competency and technical/thinking skills

4.       On-site visit to meet the team and technical lab assessment

Holiferm invites applications from inspired, innovative and team-oriented individuals for a full time research and development role. We are looking for people who believe in making a positive difference as we believe in change and want to make a meaningful impact towards a more sustainable chemistry sector. Holiferm is growing rapidly and has ambitious plans, thus, we are looking for those that wish to support and grow with the company. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to broaden their skillset by working with field leaders and have a range of career progression opportunities due to the scale-up nature of Holiferm. All this within a dynamic and friendly working environment.

Holiferm facilitates the manufacture of sustainable bioproducts at a value point at which they are affordable to everyone and therefore eliminate petrochemicals from the market. We gracefully merge fundamentals from microbiology, process engineering and phase behaviour to develop sustainable production processes. Our interdisciplinary research has resulted in creating and scaling up a patented, cheaper, and a more sustainable production method for sophorolipid biosurfactants. Biosurfactants are renewable, biodegradable, and mild alternatives to petrochemical derived surfactants used in household cleaning, laundry and personal care products.

By acquiring a wide range of funding and investments, we have built in only a few years a fully equipped lab and pilot-plant (bioreactors up to 600L). More recently, we started the build of a >1.1ktpa commercial demonstration plant to commence manufacturing of our sophorolipid products by end of 2022. Our success so far has been thanks to the efforts of a passionate and versatile team. Before this position will start, Holiferm is expanding its focus beyond sophorolipids and developing processes to produce additional biosurfactants in collaboration with external market facing partners. This role will be key in enabling us to continue developing a wider range of biosurfactants and optimise processes. We believe collaboration between companies, disciplines and individuals are the best ways to develop the biosurfactant industry and our company.

We offer a competitive and flexible pay package and benefits such as flexible working to attract the best to join our team based in Manchester, UK. We understand people have different circumstances and want to ensure that the Holiferm family presents a supportive, inclusive and team-focused environment.

Key Responsibilities

The successful candidate will be responsible for developing the new and next generation of biosurfactants as part of the lab team and in close collaboration with the pilot team and external collaborators. The role includes managing projects, setting up and interpreting fermentation experiments, applying Holiferm’s breakthrough integrated fermentation and gravity separation technology, and developing new ideas. This role will involve hands on work in the lab and desk-based research work. Once the process is complete at laboratory scale, the candidate will be a key part of the team translating the process to pilot and then commercial scale.

Candidate requirements

We are seeking highly motivated innovators who want to challenge themselves and others and fit well with our company philosophy, and first and foremost, get things done. The individual should have:


  • Enthusiasm and ability to think creatively and develop new technology
  • Willing to work in a fast-paced and quickly changing environment
  • Collaborative and constructive attitude
  • Experience of running daily laboratory operations such as preparing chemical solutions, using standard laboratory equipment, using bench-top fermentation reactors and aseptic techniques
  • Experience in fermentation process development (increasing titer/productivity), preferably with expertise of biosurfactants. This includes a strong skillset of processing and interpreting fermentation data
  • Familiar with scale up of fermentation processes
  • Mathematical skills and knowledge of calculations useful in the design, operation and scale up of fermentations and downstream processes, with the ability to be creative in finding new solutions to characterise processes
  • Strong troubleshooting skills in the context of fermentation and downstream processing
  • Able to provide feedback and communicate across the different teams
  • A strong combination of time management and organisational skills
  • Experience with analytical techniques for monitoring fermentations


  • Experience in calibrating and maintaining fermentation and analytical equipment, for example pumps and pH probes
  • Experience of working with biosurfactants, ranging from production, separation, characterisation and/or formulation – or more in general, a strong understanding of phase separation/surfactant behaviour.
  • Experience in writing grants and receiving and managing research funding for commercial applications
  • Experience in data management
  • Experience in project management
  • PhD or similar development experience in process development for bioproducts
  • Knowledge and experience of implementing process control systems
  • Experience and ability to coordinate a scale up project with a range of industrial and academic partners.


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