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PhD scholarship “accessible”

June 11, 2014

Topic

We are looking for PhD candidates for research projects in the field of heterogeneous catalysis and biocatalysis. The focus can be

– on the development of new inorganic catalyst preparation methods (including non-conventional sol-gel methods, see here and here),

– on enzyme immobilization

– on kinetics studies and cascade reactions.

The context is always on the development of more sustainable (bio)-catalytic processes (activation of CO2, valorization of biomass, green synthetic routes). Details can still be chosen with the candidate.

 

Looking for candidates

I am looking for 1 or 2 candidates that are highly enthusiastic, have good academic records (see below) and hold a master in chemistry, chemical engineering, bioengineering, or equivalent. Multidisciplinary skills are needed. Motivation also.

 

Funding

Aside from already funded projects, I want to launch these PhD using a dedicated funding tool: the FRIA (Fonds pour la Formation à la Recherche dans l’Industrie et l’Agriculture). This funding tool is specific to Belgium. The selection process is quite demanding and may appear unfair to some poeple. Please read the sections below before applying!

 

Timing

– Project to be filed in by the end of August 2014 (I’ll write it when I come to an agreement with a promising candidate and we decide on a precise topic/objective)

– Interviews in October. This is a competition! Success rate is 25-30% each year. A good preparation is needed. The candidate will have to present his/her master thesis research and defend it. He/she will have to present the PhD project and defend it (strategy, relevance, techniques to be used, etc.). It’s really like an exam. It’s tough.

– Official decision in January (but usually, people know right away if it was OK or not)

– If the decision is positive, the candidate receives right away 3 months salary (because the FRIA considers that the candidate has been working during the autumn). And a contract for 4 years (actually there is also a mid-term exam to pass). If the decision is negative, the candidate receives nothing…FRIA is awfully cruel.

 

Warning

Now you understand why I wrote “accessible” and not “available” in the title of this post. The funding is not secured yet! It is a possibility that we work on the project from August to January, to finally get to know we won’t have the 4-year funding.

Success will depend on you (and me, and the quality of the project, and the other candidates, and the jury, etc.). High motivation is a must. Good academic profile is needed (if your relevant research experience during your master already yielded some publication, that’s excellent). You must be ready to prepare the interview in a professional way.

 

I want that! What do I do?

First, analyze the warning above and decide if this is for you or not. Then contact me by email (Damien.debecker@uclouvain.be). Send me your CV along with all the relevant info you might think of. You can also see our group website. Check out the website of our research institute. Check out the website of our university. Check this blog to know more about me. Feel free to ask questions.

 

DD

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