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PhD position on Structurally colored waterborne and biobased coatings

PhD position on Structurally colored waterborne and biobased coatings

Chemical Engineering and Chemistry
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Job description

This project is to be carried out at TU/e – Eindhoven University of Technology and is funded by the Advanced Research Center - Chemical Building Blocks Consortium (ARC CBBC).

Coatings are intuitively associated with color which can be used for decoration, branding or to give a certain emotional impression, like the cold/warm sensation in a painted room. Color in coatings is typically achieved with particles (pigments) of inorganic or organic nature. Many of these pigments are, however, toxic, non-degradable, heat-sensitive, reactive or very expensive. It is now crucial to replace it by more sustainable and biocompatible materials, as well as to develop new strategies to reach either multicolor(s) or plain white color.

While bio-inspiration may be taken from Nature, like the structural colors effect of the widely studied blue butterfly or white beetles, materials and methods that can be scaled up, maintain high performance and be commercialized in an economic/viable way need to be considered. Furthermore, future coating formulations should be biobased and/or use renewable raw materials to comply with the paints and coatings industry sustainability targets.

Details of the PhD-project (4-years)

This project aims to investigate how to incorporate structural colours on waterborne (WB) biobased coatings. Some of the activities involved will be synthesis of polymers and/or liquid crystals and cholesteric networks, polymerization in aqueous media, chemical/physical characterization of polymers and coatings, and interfacial studies of colloids and soft matter. This research is expected to lead to more sustainable, economic and safe coloured coatings, and also create opportunities to fundamentally understand and control several processes occurring during application and drying of WB and biobased coloured paints, such as self-stratification and phase-separation.

The research will be conducted in close collaboration between two TU/e research groups: Physical Chemistry (SPC) and Stimuli-Responsive Functional Materials & Devices (SFD) which are part of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the TU/e (The Netherlands). A description of the groups can be found here. Collaborations are expected with ARC CBBC members and industrial partners, such as AkzoNobel and BASF.

The TU/e offers academic education that is driven by fundamental and applied research. We combine scientific curiosity with a hands-on mentality. Our educational philosophy is based on personal attention and room for individual ambitions and talents. Our research meets the highest international standards of quality. We push the limits of science, which puts us at the forefront of rapidly emerging areas of research.

Job requirements

  • You are talented, motivated and an enthusiastic researcher.
  • Preferably, with a strong background and interest in both chemistry and polymer chemistry, with experience in synthetic chemistry, polymer chemistry and/or physical chemistry.
  • You should have a scientific attitude combined with a hands-on mentality and interest for application-oriented research.
  • Analytical skills, initiative and creativity are valued characteristics.
  • You are a naturally curious person, eager to learn more and with a strong interest in science and research.
  • You have excellent communication (oral and writing) skills in English (prerequisite).
  • You are a collaborative person, have a good team spirit, and like to work in an internationally oriented, social environment.

Interviews, a scientific presentation a small writing assignment will be part of the selection procedure.

Conditions of employment

  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Information and application

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. 


Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more?
Please contact dr. A.C.C. (Catarina) Esteves (a.c.c.esteves[at] or prof. A.P.H.J. (Albert) Schenning (a.p.h.j.schenning[at]

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact mr. Leo van Houten HR-advisor, l.v.houten[at]

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page.


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button. The application should include a:

  • a motivation letter,
  • a curriculum vitae (including contact details of at least two references),
  • a list of BSc and MSc courses and grades.

We look forward to receiving your application and will screen it as soon as possible. The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled.

You can upload a maximum of 5 documents of up to 2MB each. Only applications that are submitted in this way are taken into account.