Assistant Professor Heterogeneous Catalysis for Sustainable Chemistry (V37.2975)

Assistant Professor Heterogeneous Catalysis for Sustainable Chemistry

Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry
Date off
Reference number

Job description

An assistant professor position is vacant in the Inorganic Materials Chemistry group of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology. The scientific staff of the group consists of prof. Emiel Hensen (professor, head of group), prof. Thomas Weber (part-time professor), dr. Jan-Philipp Hofmann (assistant professor), dr. Ivo Filot (assistant professor) and the present vacant position. 

The Inorganic Materials Chemistry group
The research of the Inorganic Materials Chemistry group is focused on catalysis, materials and sustainable energy. The objective is a complete understanding of the reactive chemistry at catalytic surfaces, often gained through experimental and theoretical studies of inorganic model systems. Advanced catalyst characterization, increasingly obtained under in situ or operando conditions, is employed in close coordination with theory involving electronic structure calculations to compute reaction dynamics and statistical approaches to predict macroscopic performance. The molecular-level understanding guides development of new catalytic materials that are designed at the nanoscale to function optimally at different length scales. A wide range of applications is studied relevant to the development of clean and sustainable processes for production of fuels and chemicals. The working atmosphere is informal emphasizing collaboration in advancing the field of catalysis. With these contributions, the group aims to contribute to the much-desired transition to a sustainable, carbon-neutral society based on clean and renewable energy sources. 

Our research
A new activity in heterogeneous catalysis is proposed that emphasizes the design and fabrication of novel heterogeneous catalysts for efficient chemical conversion relevant to the transition of a sustainable, low-carbon chemical industry. Key research questions relate to the search for novel catalysts that enable the development of energy conversion processes with a main focus on processes involving C1 compounds as feedstock. Catalytic C1 chemistry is of increasing importance in the chemical industry as a key enabling technology to a wider and more efficient use of fossil resources as well as the integration of renewable energy sources in the production of fuels and chemicals.
A key aspect of the new position lies in the development of techniques to interrogate the complex mechanisms underlying C1 chemistry. For instance, high catalyst stability under unusual conditions (high-temperature catalysis) and during unsteady operation (due to the intermittency of the renewable energy supply) as well as the involvement of organocatalytic surface intermediates the catalytic cycles are important novel aspects in this regard. Approaches to further our understanding in this respect may involve advanced operando characterization methods and/or kinetic investigations making use of isotopes, thereby linking experimental kinetics to first-principles based kinetics simulations, which are also developed in the group.

The importance of these research lines in the group Inorganic Materials Chemistry has strongly grown in recent years (with running projects on methane, methanol, syngas and carbon dioxide) and the research capacity of the group needs to be expanded accordingly. Modern catalysis research requires combination of proper model systems with in situ characterization, kinetics and theory. The envisioned working approach starts from nanoscopically organized and well-defined chemically functionalized catalytic solid materials. Materials explored include primarily highly structured porous materials containing reactive centers such as protons, metal ions and metal, metal oxide and metal sulfides clusters. Single-atom catalysis is an example of a frontier direction in heterogeneous catalysis with great promise of ultimate efficiency in metal utilization and tailored active site design.

Your tasks in Education
You are expected to contribute to theoretical and practical courses for undergraduate and graduate students in the education programs of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, including an introductory course on catalysis and an advanced course on mechanism in catalysis. You will participate in running courses, but are also encouraged to adapt existing courses or set up a new course in your specific field of interest.

Your tasks in Research
The ideal candidate for this assistant professor position has a solid background in catalysis, inorganic chemistry and physical chemistry, and strong affinity with reaction kinetics and is interested in energy conversion processes as a key approach to arrive at a sustainable society. In this way, the faculty of the group will have the broad composition and the complementary expertise that is needed to continue to play a leading role on the national and international level in this innovative area with its many industrial applications.

You should be an excellent scientist, with independent ideas, capable of working across disciplines and connecting to and collaborating with other key players in the field. You should have the ambition to lead a research group in experimental heterogeneous catalysis in the future. You should establish a high-profile research line with which high international exposure and reputation is reached after a term of five years. Guidance of MSc, PhD students and postdocs is highly relevant in this respect.

Collaborations and research funding
The discipline of catalysis is intrinsically multidisciplinary and provides a natural fit with other groups in the department (reaction engineering/Prof. Jaap Schouten, process intensification/Prof. Martin van Sint Annaland, multiphase flow/Prof. Hans Kuipers, flow chemistry/Prof. Volker Hessel, separation/Prof. Kitty Nijmeijer). The areas of application provide also good opportunities for research funding in national and EU programs. The candidate is expected to pursue personal grants in the existing Vernieuwingsimpuls and ERC schemes.

Job requirements

You should have a distinguished academic record, including a PhD degree in chemical engineering or chemistry. You have a deep and broad knowledge of, and experience in the fields of inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry and catalysis. You should have a proven track record in original and innovative research as should be clear from a list of relevant scientific publications, reports, and/or congress contributions. You have the motivation to excel in scientific research, and a commitment to both undergraduate and graduate teaching in the highly interdisciplinary department.
You dispose of excellent communicative skills and ability to work in a team of highly complementary professionals in chemical engineering and chemistry. You are assumed to contribute to the acquisition of research projects from government and industry supported programs, and in setting-up and maintaining strong cooperation with academic and industrial contacts. You are expected to contribute to the development of PhD students, post-doc’s, and graduate students. 
Candidates having both suitable experience and qualifications have the possibility of being appointed to a temporary, tenure-track position. A positive evaluation at the end of the temporary tenure-track appointment will lead to a permanent appointment.

Conditions of employment

We offer you:

  • a challenging job in a dynamic and ambitious university and a stimulating research environment in which people matter;
  • an excellent technical infrastructure;
  • a full-time tenure appointment for a period of 5 years; when receiving a positive evaluation after 4 years, a permanent position will be available.
  • a gross monthly salary between € 3,475.= and € 5,405.=, based on a full-time appointment and based on background and experience; plus yearly 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year allowance;
  • enrolment into a program to acquire an official teaching certification from Dutch Universities (Basic Qualification Teaching);
  • We offer an attractive package of fringe benefits such as moving expenses, flexible employment conditions as adequate work life balance, parental / care leave, pension scheme and collective insurance schemes.
  • assistance in finding accommodation (for international employees).

Information and application

For information concerning the faculty position, please contact: Prof. Emiel Hensen, email:
Information about terms of employment can be obtained from Arianne Boekema, HR advisor, email:
Further information about Eindhoven University of Technology can be found at

Please send your application via the apply-now button and up load a detailed curriculum vitae, a list of publications, a description of research and teaching experience, a short outline of planned research and teaching interests, and names of at least three references.

Please send your application before 31 July 2017.
Review of applications will start as soon as applications are received and will continue until the position has been filled.