Netherlands: Post-Doc Tailoring Metal-Support Cooperation in Heterogeneous Catalysis at Eindhoven University of Technology

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Job description


Catalytic hydrogenation of acids and their esters is an important reaction for the upgrading of fats to useful chemicals. In particular, alcohols derived from fatty acids find extensive application in surfactants, lubricants, plasticizers, cosmetics and biofuels. In contrast to hydrogenation of C=O double bonds in ketones and aldehydes, hydrogenation of carboxylic acids and their derivatives remains a significant challenge. The low reactivity of these compounds stems from the low electrophylicity of the polar carbonyl group. The most promising transition-metal based heterogeneous catalysts reported in recent literature contain two or more metals resulting in substantial enhancement of the reactivity and/or selectivity of the hydrogenation reaction. It is proposed that synergetic effect between the catalyst components is key to the high activity in hydrogenation of polar C=O groups in carboxylic acid derivative.

This project aims at investigation of the effect metal-support cooperation on catalytic activity in hydrogenation of biomass-derived carboxylic acids and their esters. The project will involve synthesis of new catalytic materials, their thorough characterization using a wide range of physicochemical methods, catalytic tests and in situ spectroscopic studies focusing on unravelling the mechanistic details of the catalytic reaction and the molecular origin of the metal-support interaction. Ultimately, the resulting fundamental insights will form a basis for a design of a novel heterogeneous catalytic system capable of efficient hydrogenation of esters under mild conditions. The research will be performed in a tight collaboration with industrial partners.



We seek highly talented, motivated and enthusiastic candidates who recently finished their PhD or will obtain their PhD degree soon in Catalysis, Chemical Engineering or Chemistry. Experience in the field of heterogeneous catalysis, materials synthesis and inorganic chemistry is highly appreciated. The abilities of the candidates should be evident from her/his publication list. Good practical and analytical skills, initiative and creativity are expected. A successful candidate should demonstrate good communication skills, fluency in English and the ability to work in a multidisciplinary and multinational team.

Conditions of employment

Employment conditions:

We offer a challenging job for 2 years in a dynamic and ambitious interdisciplinary team at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology within the national CatchBio program aiming at developing new processes for catalytic valorization of biomass.

The gross monthly salary of postdoctoral fellows is in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement of the Dutch Universities (CAO NU) and starts with € 2919,=. Besides this the TU/e has holiday- and end-of the year allowance, an excellent package of attractive benefits for employees, a child-care facility, and a modern sports complex. Assistance for finding accommodation can also be provided.

Additional information

Additional Information:

For more information about this vacancy please contact Dr. Evgeny Pidko (

For information concerning employment conditions you can contact Ms. A.D. Boekema (Arianne), HR-advisor +31 (0)40 247 4960,

Application procedure:

To be considered for this position please send your application online. Selection will start immediately and continue until the position has been filled. The application should include the following documents:
An application letter that outlines your qualification, ambitions, interests and motivation for this position
A detailed CV including information about education, employment, research experience and skills, publication list and contact information of at least two references.

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