PhD in Scale-up of Photochemical Processes

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 22 Oct 2023 - 22:00 (UTC)

19 Sep 2023
Job Information

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
Research Field

Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

22 Oct 2023 - 22:00 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

For a recently awarded research grant by Netherlands Scientific Organisation (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijke Onderzoek, NWO) we are looking for two PhD candidates to conduct research in the field of photochemical process development. The PhD positions will be located either at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Chemical Reactor Engineering group of Professor John van der Schaaf or in the Photocatalysis and Flow Chemistry group at the University of Amsterdam under the supervision of Professor Timothy Noël. The project will be in collaboration with the companies Signify and Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

The Chemical Reactor Engineering group at TU/e focusses on development and characterization of reactors. In this project the work will target optimization of a photo rotor-stator spinning disc reactor for photochemistry to industrial needed quantities. The group has expertise in process intensification, particularly pertaining to chemical reactor technology as well as in-line process analytical tool (e.g. FTIR, NMR) to follow up reaction processes. Prof. dr. ir. John van der Schaaf is a Full Professor at Eindhoven University of Technology. He chairs the Intensified Chemical Reactors group within Sustainable Process Engineering partnership. He is the leading expert on process intensification by high gravity and high shear equipment, such as spinning disc reactors with application in photochemistry, electrochemistry, conventional chemistry, and separation processes. He received the IChemE Award for Core Chemical Reactor Engineering in 2013, Excellence Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering and Process Intensification in 2012 and 2011 (PhD projects) respectively.

The Flow Chemistry group at UvA has expertise in synthetic methodology development of photochemical processes using flow chemistry. They have experience with various flow reactors, varying in wavelength from UV to visible light, including commercial systems and home-made reactors. Prof. dr. ing. Timothy Noël is a Full Professor at the University of Amsterdam and chair of the Flow Chemistry group. He is considered to be one of the world-leading experts in continuous-flow photochemistry and electrochemistry. For his work in the flow chemistry field, Prof. Noël received several international recognitions, most notably, the DECHEMA award (2017), the Hoogewerff Jongerenprijs (2019), the IUPAC-ThalesNano prize for Flow Chemistry (2020, youngest recipient to date), the KNCV Gold Medal (2021) and the ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering Lectureship Award (2022).

Signify is a world leading company in light source development with over 75 years of experience and fundamental knowledge of light sources. In this project Signify is taking the lead on optimizing extremely powerful custom LED modules that are fitted for the photo spinning disc reactor that is employed in this research. The former Philips Lighting branch will aid with the matching of the light source emission maximum to the absorption characteristics of the photocatalyst. This will enable to optimize the energy efficiency of the light sources.

At Janssen Pharmaceuticals we focus on treating, curing and preventing some of the most devastating and complex diseases of our time. We discover and develop innovative medical solutions to address unmet medical needs in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The Technology & Engineering group (T&E), a subdivision within Small Molecule Pharmaceutical Development (SMPD), is involved in this research program. Within this group there is a focus on designing processes to supply large quantities of new chemical entities for R&D and commercial purposes. API SM develops practical, efficient, safe, and green chemical processes for drug candidates at all stages of development. Secondments within Janssen are possible within this PhD program.

Project description

Photocatalytic transformations have begun to transform the way pharmaceuticals are made, providing unprecedented levels of reactivity and selectivity. However, due to the high cost of photons and the attenuation of light, photocatalysis remains a daunting challenge to carry out on scale. Consequently, advancements in high throughput continuous-flow reactors are urgently needed to assist process chemists in the transition of photocatalytic transformations from laboratory settings into industrial production. In this project, novel rotor-stator spinning disk reactor technology in combination with high intensity and energy-efficient light sources will be designed, developed and applied for the scale up of key photocatalytic steps.

The central tenet of this research program is to develop a scalable, continuous-flow photochemical rotor-stator spinning disk reactor, which provide excellent mass, heat and photon transfer characteristics, and are combined with high intensity light sources. This new reactor design will facilitate the scaling of a diverse set of challenging, multiphase photocatalytic transformations to the reaction scales, required in the pharmaceutical industry.

We are looking for two PhD candidates: one focusing on chemical reactor development with an affinity to chemistry, while the other position is focusing on process chemistry with an affinity to reactor technology.

Specific Requirements

We are looking for two candidates with a MSc in chemical engineering or a MSc in chemistry with affinity to chemical technology/process technology. The candidate at TU/e will focus more on design and development of the photo rotor-stator spinning disc reactor, while the position at UvA will focus more on photochemical reaction development.

The ideal candidate for the chemical reactor development part at TU/e will have the follow skills, interest and expertise:

  • Experience in chemical reactor engineering, flow processes
  • An affinity with kinetic modelling is preferred
  • Experience in photochemistry, organic chemistry and chemical reactor design is regarded as plus
  • Knowledge about inline analytics (PAT) and analytics in general is appreciated
  • Has interest in API research and development

The ideal candidate for the photochemical reaction development part at UvA will have the follow skills, interest and expertise:

  • Experience in organic chemistry
  • An affinity with chemical engineering is preferred
  • Experience in photochemistry and/or flow chemistry is regarded as plus
  • Knowledge about inline analytics (PAT) and analytics in general is appreciated
  • Has interest in API research and development

The ideal candidate has good scientific skills as well as excellent soft skills related to verbal and written communication. The candidate should be able and interested to work in cross-functional teams.

Additional Information

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The gross monthly salary starts with € 2.770,- in the first year to € 3.539,- in the fourth year.
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Additional comments

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow.

The TU/e offers academic education that is driven by fundamental and applied research. We combine scientific curiosity with a hands-on mentality. Our educational philosophy is based on personal attention and room for individual ambitions and talents. Our research meets the highest international standards of quality. We push the limits of science, which puts us at the forefront of rapidly emerging areas of research.

The university is located near the central train station of Eindhoven and the Eindhoven city center. It is well connected to Eindhoven airport and Schiphol airport can be easily reached by train.


Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more?

Please contact dr. A. Chaudhuri email: a.chaudhuri[at] and/or Koen Kuijpers email: kkuijper[at]

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact Mrs. P.J. van de Weijer, HR Advisor, email: p.j.v.d.weijer[at]

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page .


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button. Candidates possessing both suitable experience and qualifications are invited to apply. The application should include a:

  • a motivation letter, including the topic of your MSc thesis project.
  • a curriculum vitae (including contact details of at least two references).
  • a list of BSc and MSc courses and grades.

Review of applications will start as soon as applications are received and will continue until the position has been filled.

Both national and international applications to this advertisement are appreciated. Promising candidates will be contacted by email.

You can upload a maximum of 5 documents of up to 2MB each. Only applications that are submitted in this way are taken into account.

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
Postal Code
5612 AP
De Rondom 70

Where to apply



De Rondom 70
Postal Code

5612 AP

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