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Use of Porous Architecture Oxides to Prepare Controlled Bimetallic Aqueous Phase Reforming Catalysts

Project Description

An EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early-Stage Researcher (ESR) position is available for study towards a PhD in the area of novel synthesis methods for bimetallic aqueous phase reforming catalysts in the Chemistry Department of Durham University, Durham, UK.
This is a full-time position (35 hours per week), fixed-term for 36 months, with a start date of 1st November 2019 (or as soon as possible thereafter).

The successful applicant will carry out European Union-funded research within the “BIKE: BImetallic catalysts Knowledge-based development for Energy applications” Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (lTN) project (see:, which offers unique doctoral training and research opportunities, leading to the award of a PhD. The BIKE project will develop the next generation of catalysts for “green” and “blue” hydrogen production (from water electrolysis and via steam-methane reforming coupled with carbon capture and storage {CCS}, respectively). BIKE will use a holistic bimetallic catalyst design approach, which combines complementary multidisciplinary expertise in predictive computational modelling; operando characterization of working catalysts; the design, synthesis, and preparation of tuneable bimetallic nanoparticle catalysts; reactor and process design; and testing and demonstration in industrial facilities. The BIKE network comprises 10 member institutions and partner organisations, spanning both academia and industry, located in Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In total, 14 ESRs will be recruited across the BIKE network and each will conduct research on a specific, but closely related research area. The ESRs will work in areas spanning heterogeneous catalysis, green chemistry, hydrogen economy, and materials and chemical sciences within a framework of highly specialized research groups from leading European academic and industrial laboratories. The network will provide outstanding inter-disciplinary training opportunities through hands-on research projects, international lab exchanges, industrial secondments, and specialist workshops and conferences. ESRs are generously funded with many opportunities for travel and networking.

This full-time, fixed-term ESR position will involve study for a PhD degree and will be based in Durham University’s Chemistry Department (Durham, UK) under the supervision of Drs Simon Beaumont and Phil Dyer and will involve research and study in the area of heterogeneous catalysis, specifically the synthesis of bimetallic catalysts using tuned and hierarchical porous oxide supports – this will be achieved using both the immobilisation of well-defined organometallic precursors and solution phase nanoparticle syntheses; characterization using a range of techniques and determination of structure-activity relationships in bimetallic catalysts through lab-scale catalyst testing and kinetic analysis for energy applications such as hydrogen generation. See recent publications from the Beaumont and Dyer groups: Nat. Mater. 2016, 15, 178; Top. Catal. 2018, 61, 977; ACS Catal. 2019, 9, 4919; Catal. Today 2019, 10.1016/j.cattod.2019.03.017 (in press); Top. Catal. 2018, 61, 213. The ESR will collaborate in research, attend joint training events, and contribute to workshops and conferences across the BIKE network. The post-holder will be expected to register to study for a PhD (3 years) as an integral part of this ESR position. The ESR will be provided with a generous stipend to cover their living costs and travel for the duration of the 3 years; tuition fees will be paid for this period. They will also receive funds to support their participation in the BIKE-ITN European-wide research and training events. The network ESR/PhD students will receive training primarily through their host institute with additional training provided by visits to other host institutes and industrial partners in the network.

Applications are welcomed from students with a Master’s degree (MSc) or equivalent such as MChem or MSci (but not BSc) in a predominantly chemistry-orientated discipline or a related field (e.g. chemical engineering or materials’ chemistry - both with significant chemistry components), together with a good first degree in chemistry or a related field (e.g. chemical engineering or materials’ chemistry). The applicant must have undertaken a project involving preparative inorganic synthesis as a part of their prior studies.

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Philip Dyer () or Dr Simon Beaumont (). All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Formal applications are made through the Durham University Vacancies Site:

Funding Notes

Eligibility and residency requirements:
Applicants must be either European citizens (from EU Member States or Associated Countries, but not residents of UK), or from Other Third Countries.
Applicants must meet:
· Have less than 4 years research experience.
· Not have a PhD.
· Be a national of any country other than the UK (unless they have legally resided outside UK for at least 3 out of last 4 years).
· Not have resided in UK for more than 12 months in 3 years immediately before recruitment date – unless as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status.

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