PhD position in Synthetic Organic Chemistry & Catalysis

PhD position in Synthetic Organic Chemistry & Catalysis

Published Deadline Location
14 Sep 31 Oct Amsterdam

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Do you want to understand how exactly reaction mechanisms of organic transformation work? Do you want to apply these insights to rationally design more efficient chemical processes? Then apply for this PhD position at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).

Job description

The project will focus on the development of organocatalytic transformations by using an elegant combination of synthetic organic chemistry and computational chemistry. Organocatalysis has rapidly evolved over the last few decades and has become indispensable for synthesizing many pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals. Notwithstanding these successes, designing new effective organocatalytic systems remains an exceptionally challenging task as there is no robust strategy to do so. This project will obtain new insights into the molecular mechanism of catalysis using innovative computational and experimental techniques. The obtained results will be used for the rational development of powerful organocatalytic reactions enabling the construction of ever more complex compounds.

Your duties
  • Planning and performing multistep synthesis.
  • Computing and interpreting complex reaction profiles.
  • Supervising BSc and MSc research projects.
  • Attending national and international conferences.
  • Writing scientific publications.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • Completed MSc in the field of synthetic organic chemistry (or closely related).
  • An interest in computational chemistry and multidisciplinary research is desired.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills (in English) are required.

Conditions of employment

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,770 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,539 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment;
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • solid pension scheme (ABP);
  • possibility to save holiday hours, for sabbatical leave;
  • child daycare facilities available on campus.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 31,000 students. We employ over 5,000 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
Working at the Faculty of Science means working together with students, PhD candidates and scientists who are focused on their discipline, yet also have a broad view of the world. We are proud of the collegial working environment within the faculty, which is characterised by an ambitious and pragmatic attitude with commitment to the bigger picture. At the Faculty of Science, scientists and students work on fundamental and complex social issues for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, from genetics to pharmaceuticals and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research cover the full breadth of the natural sciences. Scientific teaching and research is highly experimental, technical, computational and interdisciplinary in nature. This is why we collaborate extensively with leading research institutes and industry. The faculty has over 11,000 students studying across 40 educational programmes and employs over 1,600 staff spread over 10 scientific departments, making us the largest science faculty in the Netherlands.
About the department, institute, project
The Synthetic Organic Chemistry & Catalysis group develops flexible and robust methods for the efficient and selective synthesis of complex small molecules, ranging from arrays of drug-like heterocycles to natural products and complex pharmaceuticals. Our synthetic efforts are strongly mechanism-driven, enabling the rational design of novel organic transformations. We are an open, collaborative, and inclusive team inspired by a fascination for complex molecules and their reactivity.


  • PhD
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 16146


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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