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Funded PhD student position available in the field of heterogeneous catalysis

August 26, 2016

(PhD position now taken – stay tuned for next opportunities)


My colleague, Prof. Eric Gaigneaux is hiring a PhD student. If interested apply ASAP!


Research topic:

Hybridization of polyoxometalates towards heterogeneous catalysts with tuned hydrophilic-hydrophobic balance

IMCN - Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences - UCLouvain


Eric Gaigneaux ; E-mail :

Context and domain of proposed research:

A Ph D fellowship with a maximum duration of 4 years is available in the frame of a large multidisciplinary research project (Concerted Research Project 2015-2020 – « PolarCat »)

  • with emphasis on fundamental aspects,
  • centered on a collaboration between several research teams of MOST (Molecules, Solids and Reactivity) division of UCL (E. Gaigneaux – coordinator, D. Debecker, M. Devillers) and the laboratory of nanomaterials chemistry of Namur University (C. Aprile)
  • dealing with the control of the hydrophilic-hydrophobic balance in the preparation of heterogeneous catalysts


Main steps of the PhD:

  • synthesis and characterization of a series of organic ligands with variable hydrophilic-hydrophobic balance, via the derivatization of commercial ligand platforms
  • hybridization of polyoxometalates with the prepared ligands, and physicochemical characterization of the hybrids
  • immobilization of the hybrids onto or into various supports, and physicochemical characterization
  • monitoring of the ligands-polyoxometalates and of the hybrids-supports interactions
  • catalytic applications in epoxidation of olefins, and/or dehydration of terminal alcohols, or other reactions of interest



This research will be essentially organized as a collaboration between E. Gaigneaux and M. Devillers and will take place mainly at UCL in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium). Starting date: immediately.



  • Master in chemistry or in chemical (bio-)engineering or equivalent – 5 years – obtained with honors (« distinction », mark of about 14/20) at least, including an experimental Master thesis
  • With expertise in the field of preparation and physico-chemical characterization of inorganic materials, and ideally also in the field of preparation and characterization of organic ligands
  • Very good knowledge of English is required; a good knowledge of French is a plus.


From → job offer

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