University of Twente

Postdoc position: Development of Amphiphobic Coatings of Catalysts for Advanced Recycling of Plastic Waste

2022-10-31
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Job description

Plastics are an essential part of modern society. Unfortunately, only a small fraction of these materials is recycled (9%) the rest is incinerated (12%) and released to the environment (79%). While conventional recycling can be increased, the inferior properties of the recycled materials, relative to virgin plastics, hinders economic profitability. In this project we will tackle this issue by developing new materials and processes that can chemically “upcycle” plastics into added value products in foams stabilized by catalysts.

In this project funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) as part of the Talent Scheme VIDI, you will apply surface chemical functionalization to solid heterogeneous catalysts to generate amphiphobic catalysts that can stabilize gas-liquid interfaces. These solids should act as foam stabilizers to produce high-surface area gas-liquid-solid contacting reactors. We expect the candidate to achieve excellent control over the functionalization of the solid catalysts and develop a library of materials that can stabilize air-oil and hydrogen-oil foams. Detailed characterization of the chemistry of these materials and the properties of the resulting foams in terms of foamability, bubble size, and stability as well as their catalytic performance will be used to generate chemistry-structure-activity relationships. We expect the candidate to have an entrepreneurial and science-based spirit, so that we can bring the benefits of this technology quickly to the end-users collaborating in the project in the form of licenses and/or a start-up.

The work will be carried out in the University of Twente (The Netherlands) in the Multiphasic Catalysis and Reactions (MCR) group of Dr. ir. J.A. Faria within the Catalytic Process and Materials department in the Faculty of Science and Technology.

Your profile

  • We seek highly motivated early-career researchers with a PhD in chemistry and/or materials science.
  • The candidate should have excellent knowledge on material synthesis, post-synthetic functionalization techniques, and physical chemistry.
  • Hands-on experience on physico-chemical characterization using Raman, FTIR, UV-vis, XPS, SEM, and TEM is highly advantageous.
  • Our ideal candidate must enjoy working in an internationally and multi-disciplinary team contributing to the research of team-members.
  • We welcome candidates with strong interpersonal and entrepreneurial skills and interest in sharing knowledge at conferences and meetings.
  • Proficiency in English is required, both spoken and written.

Our offer

This position plays a key role in this ambitious project, and you will be embedded in a dynamic research group with colleagues working on similar topics.

  •  Full-time 18-months PD position.
  •  Full status as an employee, including pension and health care benefits. Salary and conditions are in accordance with the collective labor agreement for Dutch universities.
  • We provide a stimulating, modern research environment with world-class research facilities, including access to the NanoLab in the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology.
  •  A personal development program within the Twente Graduate School, combined with excellent mentorship.
  • Gross monthly salary of € 3557,-  in the first year, increasing each year up to € 4670,- .
  •  A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.
  •  Between 29 and 41 leave days in case of full-time employment.
  •  Researchers from outside the Netherlands may qualify for a tax-free allowance equal to 30% of their taxable salary (the 30% tax regulation).
  •  Support for attendance to national and international conferences and seminars

Information and application

Please submit your application to Jimmy A. Faria (j.a.fariaalbanese@utwente.nl) before October 31, including:

  • A cover letter outlining your specific interest, qualifications, and motivation to apply for this position.
  • A detailed CV including your list of publications, patents, and conferences.
  • Transcripts from your Bachelor and Master degrees.
  • Contact information of two scientific staff members (one should be the supervisor of your PhD thesis project and any other relevant scientific advisor) who are willing to provide a recommendation letter at our request.
  • An interview and a scientific presentation will be part of the selection procedure.

About the department

The project will be developed within the Catalytic Processes and Material Chair in the group led by Dr. Ir. J. A. Faria on Multiphasic Catalysis and Reactions (MCR). The MCR group leverages fundamental knowledge on physical-chemistry and engineering to study complex multi-phasic reaction systems and create novel synthetic catalytic materials for the sustainable production of renewable energies and chemicals. By Integrating molecular -sensing and -actuation mechanisms directly on conventional catalysts the MCR group is paving the way for autonomous catalytic reaction processes, allowing us to develop the next generation of process-intensive, modular, and robust reactors for chemicals production, energy conversion, and environmental remediation

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our university. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.

About the organization

The Faculty of Science & Technology (Technische Natuurwetenschappen, TNW) engages some 700 staff members and 2000 students in education and research on the cutting edge of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Our fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. As part of a people-first tech university that aims to shape society, individuals and connections, our faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad, and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. Our research has a high profile both in the Netherlands and internationally and is strengthened by the many young researchers working on innovative projects with as doctoral candidates and post-docs. It has been accommodated in three multidisciplinary UT research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centre and Digital Society Institute.

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