2 PhD candidates in Industrial Sustainable Chemistry

Faculty of Science – Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences

10 augustus 2017
Master's degree
€2,222 to €2,840 gross per month
15 september 2017
38 hours per week

The Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) is one of eight institutes of the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). HIMS performs internationally recognized chemistry and molecular research, curiosity driven as well as application driven. This is done in close cooperation with the chemical, flavour & food, medical and high-tech industries. Research is organised into four themes: Sustainable Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Computational Chemistry and Molecular Photonics.

The group Industrial Sustainable Chemistry is headed by prof. Gert-Jan Gruter and is part of the Sustainable Chemistry theme of HIMS. The general aim of the group is the development of synthetic strategies for new and existing building blocks for sustainable materials with a focus on those that have large scale (>100,000 tons) application potential. In addition the group develops novel sustainable plastics produced from bio-based and CO2-based building blocks, a challenge that we approach in a multidisciplinary fashion.

We have 2 PhD positions available to explore research in close collaboration with industry which has an applied character.

Job description

We are currently exploring various new concepts in the production and application of sustainable novel and existing (drop-in) building blocks from sugars and from CO2. In the next 5 years we want to develop scalable process options for a series of building blocks from sugars and from CO2. From CO2 we use electrochemistry/electrocatalysis in combination with conventional catalytic conversions:

  • formate (from electrochemical reduction of CO2) coupling to C2 products (oxalate/oxalic acid; glycolic acic; glyoxylic acid, glyoxal, ethylene glycol) – PhD1 - European H2020 Spire Project;
  • novel polyesters from the above building blocks or their derivatives in the polymer chain – PhD2 - European H2020 Spire Project.

Most of the PhD students have the possibility to work part-time (PhD1) or close to full-time (PhD2) in the Avantium lab’s located in MATRIX VI at the Amsterdam Science Park (next to HIMS location). All projects are in close collaboration with industry (Avantium and others).

The PhD candidates should be creative thinkers that like challenging projects. Candidates preferable have a background in synthesis and catalysis, with affinity for materials and applied research. Candidates should be interested to use analytical methods (e.g. NMR, GC/LC-MS, DSC, TGA, GPC, etc.) to evaluate the properties of novel building blocks or polymeric materials.


  • A MSc. degree in chemistry with a substantial (organic) chemistry/ polymer chemistry component is required (PhD2);
  • applicants with experience/affinity in catalysis (PhD1) have a clear advantage;
  • the ability to collaborate and adapt in an international team is required and candidates must possess good communication skills in oral and written English.

Due to limitations in recruitment budget we will preferably consider candidates that are currently in Europe.

Further information

For further information, please contact:


We will recruit the candidates in several rounds until all positions are filled. The selection process commences immediately, but will close when suitable candidates have been found. 

Positions are available starting from 1 October 2017.  The candidates will be appointed full-time at the UvA on a temporary basis for a maximum period of four years (18 months plus a further 30 months after a positive evaluation) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings.

Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,222 in the first year to €2,840 in the final year, according to the Dutch salary scales for PhD candidates. This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end of year bonus. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable.

Job application

Applications for the positions may only be submitted by email to application-science@uva.nl. To process your application immediately, please quote vacancy number 17-405 and the position you are applying for in the subject-line.

Applications must include a curriculum vitae, a motivation letter (why did you choose to apply for this position), and the name(s) and contact details of one or two academic referees. All these should be grouped in one PDF attachment.

The selection process commences immediately, but will close when suitable candidates have been found. Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Gepubliceerd door  Universiteit van Amsterdam