PhD in Chemistry on Homogeneous Catalysis
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven M2S - De Vos Group

Title of the PhD project:
Catalytic reactions for innovative processing of end-of-life plastic materials

Content of the PhD project:
Against the background of the plastic pollution crisis, there is a strongly increasing demand to design catalytic reactions that can convert used polymers to fresh building blocks for the chemical industry. This is far more societally acceptable than landfilling or incineration. While a few such reactions are known, they often proceed at too high temperatures, making industrial adoption unrealistic. In this industrially inspired project, we will explore a new concept: by performing several catalytic reactions simultaneously, in a multifunctional catalytic system, we expect to decrease reaction temperatures significantly, to exert better control over the products formed, and we will increase the overall mass yield of recovered building blocks. We aim especially at specific types of condensation polymers (e.g., polycarbonates) and at recalcitrant, e.g. halogenated polyolefins. In several of the projects, there is a strong industrial involvement, excellently preparing you for a job in the chemical industry later on. For confidentiality reasons, no more details are given here, but more specific information can be obtained from Dirk De Vos, Leuven Chem & Tech 02.345, Celestijnenlaan 200F (


Besides an excellent remuneration, you'll enjoy other benefits (e.g. free bike; access to excellent sports facilities etc).


Eligibility criteria

Master in a field related to Chemistry.


Selection process

After an evaluation of your written application, you might be invited for an interview, either in Leuven or via Skype.


Required Research Experiences

    1 - 4

Offer Requirements

    Chemistry: Master Degree or equivalent
    Environmental science: Master Degree or equivalent
    Engineering: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent


We are looking for a Master in Bio-engineering, specialisations Environmental Technology or Catalytic Technology, or any other profile with an interest in applied chemistry; Master in Chemistry, Master in Chemical Technology. Master level absolutely required; very good study record expected. We also expect a keen interest in applied, industrial organic chemistry (if you are not yet an expert, we expect you to acquire gradually insight in this field).

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