Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Photo-switchable phosphines for in situ modification of catalysts

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    Leipzig University
    ChemistryHeterogeneous catalysis
    ChemistryHomogeneous catalysis
    ChemistryInorganic chemistry
    ChemistryMolecular chemistry
    ChemistryStructural chemistry
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    31/03/2020 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Germany › Leipzig
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions


This offer is a 3 year, fully-funded double doctorate programme between the Institut für Anorganische Chemie of Leipzig University (ULEI, DE) and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB, SP). You will be co-supervised by Prof. Dr. Evamarie Hey-Hawkins in Leipzig and Dr. Rosa María Sebastián in Barcelona, during 15 months in each laboratory. In addition, two secondments, of 3 months each, are scheduled in Barcelona, Spain, with Agustí Lledós at UAB, and in St Fons Cedex, France, at Elkem Silicones. Furthermore, training events will take place at a number of sites around Europe, allowing the doctoral researcher to benefit from significant international mobility.

Photo-switchable phosphines for in situ modification of catalysts: New families of light-responsive phosphine ligands containing photoisomerizable dithienylethene, azobenzene or stilbene groups with different coordinating behavior and/or electronic communication upon photoisomerization will be developed by the German Group at Leipzig University and their photochemistry will then be studied at the Spanish group in Barcelona. The photoinduced severe geometric and/or electronic changes will affect the coordinating ability and/or electronic communication with metals, thus resulting in light-controlled modification of the catalytic activity. Full reversibility of the photoswitching for several cycles is targeted. Both groups are experts in their respective fields. The photoinduced effects will be rationalized using theoretical calculations (collaboration with Agustí Lledós, UAB) and will facilitate further rational design of improved light-responsive catalysts. Scaling up of catalyst synthesis and activity testing in industrial reactions and industrial valorization will be conducted with Elkem Silicones, France. More information can be found at: http://www.ccimc.eu/esr7-project/

More Information


The CCIMC ITN addresses the current lack of coordinated doctoral training at the European level on molecular catalysis. It aims to push the frontiers of knowledge in ligand design, coordination chemistry, pre-catalyst development, catalyst recovery and catalytic process implementation, while also offering full scale training in professional and personal transferable skills, to prepare a new generation of junior scientists to meet the economic and societal challenges of the chemical industry in the 21st century.

Leipzig University, which was founded in 1409, today has about 30,000 students. There are 14 faculties, covering topics from medicine to natural sciences, from mathematics to theology and from social sciences to sports. This variety enables each scientist to make use of the knowledge of more than 400 professors and hence to work in interdisciplinary projects. The group has ca. 600 m2 laboratory space and benches fully equipped with separate fume cupboards for at least 34 co-workers and 4 specially equipped labs with a wealth of instrumentation for characterisation. Thus, all equipment necessary for state-of-the-art synthesis, including high-vacuum lines and Schlenk techniques (also an MBRAUN Solvent Purification System MB SPS- 800), as well as equipment for purification of compounds (column chromatography, HPLC, two Isolera 4) etc. is available. Advanced characterisation techniques, including GC-MS (QP-2010, Shimadzu), 2 NMR machines (also heteronuclear NMR; Bruker AVANCE DRX 400 spectrometer) equipped with VT devices, UV-Vis, IR (ATR), Raman, DTA/TG/DSC and single-crystal X-ray diffraction (Gemini diffractometer (Agilent Technologies)) are also available. Further equipment is provided by the department, such as service for elemental analysis and mass spectrometry.

The UAB, located in Barcelona, Spain, is a new University founded in 1968, today has more than 41.000 students (> 6.000 foreign students) and 3.900 researchers and teaching staff. It offers 105 Degrees in different disciplines, 141 Official Masters, 133 Own Master, and 297 other postgraduate Diplomas and courses. It offers 68 Doctorate Programs (27 of excellence recognised by the government). 541 PhD Thesis were presented in 2017-2018. In the 2020 edition of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the UAB is the second Spanish university, occupying position 157 in the world ranking. In Europe, the UAB ranks among the Top 100 (69th position). The group of the UAB has four full equipped laboratories for 16 researchers to perform synthetic work (high vacuum lines, Schlenk techniques, MBRAUN globe box, high pressure reactors, hydrogenation lines), photochemical (lasers and irradiation lamps, photochemical reactors, a UV-vis absorption spectrophotometer, a spectrofluorometer, a transient absorption spectrophotometer, a fluorescence microscope) and electrochemical studies (potentiostats, electrodes, electrochemical cells, Faraday cage) and polymer characterization (gel permeation chromatography, differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis). The group benefits from the regional (CSUC) and national (BSC-RES) supercomputing facilities. UAB offers services covering analysis, microscopy and NMR techniques (http://www.uab.cat/serveis-cientifico-tecnics/), International Welcome Point, International office and finance department; seven Libraries and free digital access to most scientific journals.

Eligibility criteria

Please pay attention that to be eligible, on 1st October 2020, the candidate must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of her/his research career and has not been awarded a doctoral degree. On 1st October 2020, she/he must not have resided or carried out her/his main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Germany for more than 12 months in the preceding 3 years.

Selection process

See information on website: www.ccimc.eu.


Additional comments

This thesis is part of an Innovative Training Network (ITN) and more specifically a European Joint Doctorate (EJD), funded by the European Commission through the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (MSCA), entitled "Coordination Chemistry Inspires Molecular Catalysis" (CCIMC). This programme involves 15 joint doctoral theses. You are encouraged to consider all 15 thesis projects; information is available on the ITN-EJD website at www.ccimc.eu.

Offer Requirements

    Chemistry: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent


The candidate should have a strong background in synthetic chemistry. Knowledge in photochemistry would be considered. The candidate must be enthusiastic about, and willing to, travel as part of the project and must accept the terms of the award of the double degree, including the requirement to attend international training events and fulfil the double degree examination process. There will be extensive opportunities to engage with other groups in the consortium, who represent many of the European leaders in the area of coordination chemistry and catalysis.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Leipzig University/Institute of Inorganic Chemistry
Johannisallee 29

EURAXESS offer ID: 496941


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