PhD position in Materials Chemistry and Photonic Materials (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 21 days ago
Deadline: 16 Sep 2022


The University of Groningen is a research university, currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists. The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is the largest faculty within the University, offering first-rate education and research in a wide range of science and engineering disciplines.

The mission of the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry is to perform excellent research and teaching in molecular and supramolecular chemistry. Core activities in the chemical sciences such as bioorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, molecular inorganic chemistry and molecular materials chemistry are embedded in the institute. The research program is focused on synthesis, catalysis, functional materials, bio-organic chemistry/chemical biology and systems chemistry/complex molecular systems.

Research in the Lerch group focuses on developing novel chemical solutions for smart polymeric coatings, taking inspiration from nature. The University of Groningen and the Lerch Research Group strive to create an equitable, inclusive, and respectful environment, where researchers of different backgrounds and disciplines can work at the forefront of science.

Applications by female scientists and candidates from underrepresented minorities are especially encouraged.

Job description

“Scalable and Sustainable Fabrication of Photonic Balls”

The chemical dyes and pigments used for coloration in conventional paints and polymeric coatings can be environmentally toxic, expensive, and/or degrade over time. In contrast, pigments based on structural color promise environmental compatibility, exhibit better hiding power, and last longer. Yet, the fabrication of such pigments on industrial scale remains a challenge, particularly within the context of waterborne, sustainable coatings. As part of the ARC CBBC flagship program ´smart coatings´, this PhD project will focus on the development of new bio-based chemical building blocks and their integration into the self-assembly processes for creating structurally colored pigments. Together with industrial partners, new strategies for fabricating such photonic balls (pigments) on large scale will be developed.

The prospective Ph.D. student will work in an international and interdisciplinary team in a fast-paced, creative, and collaborative research environment as part of the Lerch group (, based at the renowned Stratingh Institute. Embedded in the Advanced Research Center Chemical Building Blocks Consortium (ARC CBBC, ) and in close collaboration with the industrial partners (AkzoNobel, BASF, and Shell), the student will be exposed to both academic and industrial settings, addressing key-challenges to create together a more sustainable future.


We are looking for candidates who meet the following requirements:

  • M.Sc. degree in nanoscience, chemistry, physics, materials sciences, or equivalent.
  • demonstrable research experience in nanoscience, polymer chemistry, organic synthesis, heterogeneous catalysis, and/or optical properties, as the applicant will design and study the self-assembly of photonic structures and their scale-up with sustainable building blocks.
  • an affinity for industry-relevant research questions, a strong team player, and well-developed communication and collaboration skills.
  • excellent command of written and spoken English.
  • willingness to acquire a variety of additional skills ranging from basic programming and 3D modelling, to device prototyping.

Ph.D. students are expected to develop scientific independence and complete research projects. Enthusiastic Ph.D. students stay abreast of developments in the field, proactively communicate research results, supervise B.Sc. and M.Sc. students, and work effectively in a team and collaborate across disciplines. As this project forms one part of a larger multilateral program on smart coatings, the student will be in active exchange with industrial partners and PhD colleagues within the consortium.

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of competency in English, please see University of Groningen’s English Language Requirements for details.

Conditions of employment

We offer, following the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

  • a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,247 gross per month in the fourth year for a full-time working week
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% year-end bonus
  • a full-time position (1.0 FTE) of four years; the successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected
  • a PhD training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

The starting date is flexible but would ideally be in late 2022/Early 2023.


For information you can contact:

Dr. Michael Lerch,

(please do not use the email addresses above for applications)

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