PhD Fellow in Materials Chemistry
University of Copenhagen Department of Chemistry

PhD fellow in Materials Chemistry, Department of Chemistry

Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering one or more PhD scholarships in materials chemistry commencing 01.09.2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment

The position(s) are in Center for High Entropy Alloy Catalysis (CHEAC, and the work will be done between the two groups led by Kirsten Marie Ørnsbjerg Jensen (University of Copenhagen) and Matthias Arenz (University of Bern). The Arenz group investigates and develops electrocatalysts and electrocatalytic processes. The Jensen group works in materials chemistry and focuses on applications of X-ray and neutron scattering for structure studies of nanomaterials.

Project description

Two projects may be available. In your cover letter, please indicate which project you are most interested in, and describe your motivation and background for applying for the specific project.

Project 1: Synthesis and structural analysis of high entropy alloy (HEA) catalysts with focus on structure analysis using synchrotron and X-ray and neutron scattering studies

The PhD project will focus on the synthesis/structure/property relations in high entropy alloys and related materials for electrocatalysis with a strong emphasis on structural analysis using x-ray and neutron scattering techniques. The candidate will be involved in the development of synthesis methods for HEA catalysts and will advance structural characterization of the materials using high-level synchrotron and neutron techniques. The candidate will be especially involved in understanding the structural changes taking place during synthesis and catalytic reactions, and in situ synchrotron experiments will be central for the work. A major part of the PhD project will be acquisition and high-level analysis of scattering and spectroscopy data, as well as development of methods for structural analysis.

Experience in material synthesis as well as in structural characterization using X-ray scattering using e.g. Rietveld refinement and/or Pair Distribution Function analysis is required. Experience and interest in programming using e.g. Python is an advantage.

The position includes a 3-6 month stay in the Arenz group at University of Bern.

Project 2: Synthesis and electrocatalytic testing of high entropy alloy (HEA) catalysts with focus on electrochemical operando synchrotron studies (absorption and scattering)

The PhD project will focus on the synthesis, characterization, and performance testing of high entropy alloy electrocatalysts. The candidate will be involved in the development of synthesis methods for HEA catalysts and will advance the characterization of the materials. The emphasis is on the synthesis and (operando) performance testing including degradation mechanisms of HEA electrocatalysts. The PhD project is experimental, however, a close collaboration between experimental and theoretical work as well as the co-PIs and other members at CHEAC is expected.

The candidates should have experience in at least two of the following areas: material synthesis, structural characterization (S/WAXS, XAS, XRD), and electrocatalysis.

The position includes a 3-6 month stay in the Arenz group at University of Bern.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor Kirsten Marie Ørnsbjerg Jensen, Department of Chemistry,  Direct Phone: +45 35 33 47 97. Professor Mathias Arenz (University of Bern) is co-advisor, and especially project 2 will take place under his supervision.

Job description

The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:

  • To manage and carry through your research project
  • Attend PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Teach and disseminate your research
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad
  • Work for the department

Formal requirements

Applicants should hold an MSc degree in Chemistry, Nanoscience or similar with good results and good English skills. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant experience.

Terms of employment

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 330,817 (approx. €44,108) including annual supplement (+ pension at a minimum DKK 53,811). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Integrated MSc and PhD Scheme

The position is also available for candidates who are (or are eligible to be) enrolled at one of the faculty’s master programmes in [her skrives navnet på kandidatuddannelsen]. The duration of the integrated programme depends on the amount of credits that you have passed on your MSc programme. For further information about the study programme please see:, “Study Structures”.

Scholarship and terms of employment for integrated MSc and PhD

PhD grant portions (Ph.D.SU klip)

In the period up to the completion of the MSc programme (up to three years), the student is entitled to so-called PhD grant portions. The grant portions are financed by the grant donor but not by the Danish State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme Agency (as is the case for the ordinary study grant portions on the BSc and MSc programmes). They are called PhD grant portions because this kind of remuneration is regulated and described in the Executive Order on the State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme in Denmark (SUbekendtgørelsen), and because the value of a PhD grant portion corresponds to the value of an ordinary Danish study grant portion. Students are awarded 48 PhD grant portions during the period of their MSc and PhD studies.

48 PhD grant portions at DKK 6,243 each, corresponding to DKK 299,664 (approx. €39,955).

'Duty work'

As a supplement to the PhD grant portions, the student may, in accordance with the collective agreement of the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC), be offered 'duty work'. In the period up to the completion of the MSc programme, students performing 'duty work' are paid by the hour. UCPH has decided to offer students on integrated MSc and PhD schemes 150 hours of 'duty work' per year during Part A of the programme (until two years of the combined programme of study remain). 'Duty work' during Part A if it has a duration of three years: 450 hours at a rate of DKK 219.58 (+ 12.5% holiday pay), corresponding to DKK 111,163 (approx. €14,821)

For further information about Part A please see:

Salary in accordance with the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional

Associations (AC)

In the period after the completion of the MSc programme, the student is employed as a PhD scholar and is remunerated in accordance with the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The scheme is arranged in such a way that students graduate from the MSc programme at a time when there are two years left of the integrated programme. For this reason, the salary must be paid for a period of two years in accordance with the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The amounts specified include a supplement locally agreed upon as well as pension contributions: Salary as a PhD scholar: 24 months at a rate of DKK 32,048 (including pension contributions and supplement), corresponding to DKK 769,158 (approx. €102,554).

Application Procedure

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Cover Letter, stating which PhD project you are applying for and detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project.
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • Acceptance Letter for the relevant MSc Programme at SCIENCE, if any
  • Other information for consideration, e.g., list of publications (if any)
  • 1-3 reference letters (if any)

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

The deadline for applications is 31st of May 2021, 23:59 +2.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science. You can read more about the recruitment process at   


For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor, Kirsten Marie Ørnsbjerg Jensen, Department of Chemistry,, Direct Phone: +45 35 33 47 97

General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available at


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Application deadline: 31-05-2021
Employment start: 01-09-2021
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Chemistry

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