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PhD Position: Molecular Electrocatalysts for the Conversion of Small Molecules

The Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) invites applications from outstanding candidates for a PhD position within the field of molecular electrocatalyst design, synthesis, characterization and testing for accelerated discovery of new materials for Power2X. 

The position is one of the nine open PhD positions in the 2023 CAPeX PhD cohort call. CAPeX is a 13-year and 300 MDKK “Pioneer Center for Accelerating P2X Materials Discovery”, funded by Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, the Danish National Research Foundation, the Carlsberg Foundation, the Lundbeck Foundation, the Novo Nordisk Foundation, and the Villum Foundation. CAPeX is hosted by the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and co-hosted by Aalborg University (AAU), and unites leading experts from DTU, AAU, University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University, and the University of Southern Denmark with international partners from Stanford University, Utrecht University, and the University of Toronto to form a truly pioneering centre on P2X.

Project description
The successful candidate will design and synthesize new molecular electrocatalysts based on earth-abundant transition metal ions for application in Power-to-X systems and the electrochemical synthesis of high-value chemical feedstocks. Focus will be the conversion of abundant small molecules including CO2, O2, H2O and CH4 through their selective activation by Fe and Cu complexes. The goal is energy-efficient catalysis of anodic and cathodic fuel cell reactions and electrocatalysis of the production of important feedstock chemicals like formic acid and hydrogen. Mechanistic insight for improving the molecular design and reactions conditions will be sought through trapping and spectroscopically characterizing intermediates. The successful candidate will work closely with a postdoc developing methods for immobilizing promising molecular catalysts onto electrode materials.

The successful candidate will be closely associated with Associate Professor Oleksandr Voznyy, University of Toronto, (UofT) for using electrochemical and surface characterization methods (to be confirmed) and Professor Jan Rossmeisl, Copenhagen University (CU) for the application of theoretical methods for catalyst design optimization.

The successful candidate will have obtained excellent grades in his/her Bachelor and Master educations. A solid background in molecular inorganic synthesis, coordination chemistry, structural, electrochemical and spectroscopic methods for the characterization of metal-containing molecules will be preferred. Furthermore, the candidate should be highly motivated and willing to work in a team. Good communication skills in both spoken and written English are a requirement. 

Approval and Enrolment of PhD Students
The scholarship is subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled at the PhD school of the Faculty of Science, SDU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see PhD Education.

Shortlisting may be used in the assessment process. Incomplete applications and applications received after the deadline will neither be considered nor evaluated.

Salary and terms of employment
The appointments will be for three years and be based on the collective agreement with the Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed with the relevant union. The successful candidate is expected to spend three to six months at The University of Toronto (to be confirmed).

The employment is expected to start 1 September 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter. Application deadline: 13 June 2023.

Further information
If you need further information concerning the position, please contact Professor Christine McKenzie at Please do not send applications to this e-mail address, instead apply online as described below.

Application, salary etc.
Appointment as a PhD Research Fellow is for three years. Employment stops automatically at the end of the period. The holder of the scholarship is not allowed to have other paid employment during the three-year period.

The successful applicant will be employed in accordance with the agreement on salaried PhD scholars between the Ministry of Finance and AC (the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations). Please check links for more information on salary and taxation.

The successful candidate will be enrolled at this university in accordance with faculty regulations and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities (PhD order).

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Application must be in English and made in the form of a Declaration of Interest including the following:
• A research proposal/description of your approach to the above project (max one page excluding references)
• A letter stating your specific interest, motivation and qualifications for the project in question (max. two pages) (please attach this under box "Application form")
• Detailed CV, including personal contact information
• Copies of diplomas, Bachelor as well as Master’s degree, including transcript of notes/grades
• At least two signed reference letters. Should your referees wish to send their letters directly to us, please have them use e-mail: mentioning your name and the title of the position in the subject line. And please note that these also need to reach us before deadline.

Further information about the PhD-study can be found at the homepage of the University.

Applications must be submitted electronically using the link "Apply online". Attached files must be in Adobe PDF or Word format. Each box can only contain a single file of max. 10 Mb. We strongly recommend that you read How to apply before you apply.

Incomplete applications and applications received after the deadline will neither be considered nor evaluated. This also applies to reference letters.

Further information for international applicants about entering and working in Denmark.

Send application
Deadline 2023-June-13

You can apply for the job at Faculty of Science by completing the application form