PhD candidate in homogeneous, bio-inspired supramolecular catalysis

Faculty of Science – Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences

Publication date
31 January 2017
Level of education
Master's degree
Salary indication
€2,191 to €2,801 gross per month
Closing date
1 December 2017
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) is one of eight institutes of the University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science. HIMS performs internationally recognized chemistry and molecular research, curiosity driven as well as application driven. This is done in close cooperation with the chemical, flavour & food, medical and high-tech industries. Research is organised into four themes: Sustainable Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Computational Chemistry and Molecular Photonics.

The group Homogeneous, Supramolecular and Bio-Inspired Catalysis ‘HomKat is headed by prof. Joost Reek and Prof. Bas de Bruin is part of the Sustainable Chemistry theme. The general aim of the group is the development of new catalysts for known and new important conversions, a challenge that we like to approach in a multidisciplinary fashion. Important issues that are involved in these catalytic conversions comprise of the atom-efficiency, the chemo-, regio-, and stereo-selectivity, and of course the activity and the stability of the catalyst. In addition to these aspects, we also investigate new solutions to the problem of homogeneous catalyst separation and recycling.

We have several PhD and postdoc positions available to explore research at the fore front of catalysis. We aim to explore new strategies on the border of supramolecular chemistry, biology and catalysis. Next to this, we have several positions available for project with industry that have a more applied character.

Job description

We are currently exploring various new concepts in catalysis, and in the next 5 years we would like to investigate catalytic processes in complex systems, aiming at emerging properties of the system, control over the catalytic process by inclusion of switchable catalysts and performing cascade reactions that cannot be carried out in sequential single step reactions.

In addition, we want to explore new catalytic concepts on the borders with biology. How can we perform catalytic reaction in living cells, aiming at new products by synergy between Cells and artificial systems. Can we identify new 'biocatalyst' by growing life under extreme conditions.

The PhD candidates should be creative thinkers that like challenging projects. Candidates preferable have a background in synthesis and catalysis, with affinity for biology and/or physical chemical methods (e.g. NMR, ITC, UV-Vis, Fluorescence, GC, HPLC, kinetics) to evaluate the properties of novel catalyst systems.

Next to these fundamental topics we also start some collaborative projects with industry. These projects are more goal oriented, and suited for candidates with strong catalysis and organic chemistry back grounds.

We will recruit the candidates in several rounds until all positions are filled. The selection process commences immediately, but will close when suitable candidates have been found. 


A MSc. degree in chemistry with a substantial organic chemistry component is required. Applicants with experience/affinity in coordination chemistry and biochemistry have a clear advantage. The ability to collaborate and adapt in an international team is required and candidates must possess good communication skills in oral and written English. Due to limitations in recruitment budget we will preferably consider candidates that are currently in Europe.

Further information

For further information, please contact:



Positions are available starting from 1 March 2017, and we will recruit until all positions have been filled.
The candidate will be appointed full-time at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) on a temporary base for a maximum period of four years (18 months plus a further 30 months after a positive evaluation) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,191 in the first year to €2,801 in the final year, according to the Dutch salary scales for PhD candidates. This is excl. 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end of year bonus. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable.

Job application

Applications for the position at the University of Amsterdam may only be submitted by sending your application to To process your application immediately, please quote vacancy number 17-035 and the position you are applying for in the subject-line.

Applications must include a curriculum vitae, a list of publications, a motivation letter (why did you choose to apply for this position), and the name(s) and contact details of one or two academic referees. All these should be grouped in one PDF attachment.

The selection process commences immediately, but will close when suitable candidates have been found. Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam