The Research Priority Area Sustainable Chemistry, which is part of the Van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) of the Faculty of Science, is looking for talented researchers to join six challenging projects, as detailed below. The working conditions and general demands for each position are identical. Applicants will be selected based on their suitability to the various projects. The successful candidates will be appointed as PhD candidates in a fixed-term contract.Catalysis in Confined Spaces is a joint project of the UvA and the RuG that is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research under the TOP-PUNT programme. The project will address theoretical and practical questions, trying to understand how catalysts work in a variety of nanometric “boxes”. We will design, synthesize and study various types of soluble and solid (supra)molecular cages, which will be large enough for accommodating and reacting several molecules simultaneously. By incorporating (molecular) catalysts in the interior of the cages and/or other reactive sites into the cage walls, we will create tailored reaction environments, controlling reactions via second-coordination sphere effects and make switchable caged catalysts for a variety of reactions. The combination of cage design, synthesis and modelling will yield active and highly selective catalysts and materials. Our ultimate goal is to explore how assembly and positioning of catalysts in confined space can be used to enhance catalytic function, allow catalysis to induce other functions and enable multistep conversions.

For this project, we’re looking for six motivated PhD candidates who will focus on the following subjects:

  1. Catalysis in soluble MOFs – Embedding catalysts in supramolecular cages (organic/organometallic synthesis, homogeneous catalysis)
  2. Catalysis inside switchable cages (organic/organometallic synthesis, homogeneous catalysis)
  3. Cyclizations of peptide aryl esters within Fujita-cages (organic/organometallic synthesis, homogeneous catalysis)
  4. Designing and synthesising supercage MOFs for enantioselective reactions (inorganic synthesis, organic synthesis, heterogeneous catalysis)
  5. Elucidating chiral adsorption mechanisms in MOFs by molecular simulation (computational chemistry, molecular simulation techniques)
  6. Porous graphene frameworks with tunable confined spaces (heterogeneous catalysis, materials science, organic/organometallic synthesis)


You must have an MSc degree in chemistry or chemical engineering, and excellent communication skills in English. Candidates with proven experience in the areas described above are preferred. Knowledge of Dutch is an advantage. Due to limitations in recruitment budget we will only consider candidates that are currently in Europe.

Further information

For more information on projects 1-3 contact:

For information on projects 4-6 contact:

Please do not send your application to these email addresses. If you wish to apply, please follow the instructions below.


Positions are available starting from 1 July 2015. A later starting date (up to 1 December 2015) is also possible.

The appointment will be 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 ranges from €2,125 in the first year to €2,717 in the final year, plus 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end of year bonus according to the Dutch salary scales for PhD candidates. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities applies.

To save paper, time, and the environment, applications and responses will be sent by email only. Applications must include a curriculum vita, a list of publications, a scan of your MSc certificate, a scan of your passport, and a motivation letter explaining why you chose to apply for this position. All these should be grouped in one PDF attachment. Please email your application to, quoting job reference number 15-203 in the subject line.

Please send one application only, specifying which project you are interested in. All applicants that meet the above requirements will be considered for all six positions.

Applications will be screened continuously until all six positions are filled. Candidates may be appointed before the closing date for applications.

Salary indication           €2,125 to €2,717 gross per month

Closing date                  1 August 2015

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