PhD position in theoretical chemistry

PhD position in theoretical chemistry

Published Deadline Location
31 Oct 31 Dec Amsterdam
Do you want to understand the physics that drives and controls chemical bonding and reactivity on the interface of surfaces? Are you interested in developing powerful and robust models to analyze these chemical phenomena? Then apply for this PhD positi...

Job description

This project will focus on understanding the physical mechanisms governing chemical phenomena that take place on the interface of surfaces by using quantum chemical techniques. Theoretical studies devoted to surface chemistry are rapidly growing in the past decades due to the enormous advancement of computer technology. Nevertheless, the models used to study these chemical processes are, up to now, underdeveloped, hampering the ability to obtain the causality behind the observed chemical phenomena. This project aims to develop state-of-the-art models, rooted in Kohn-Sham density functional theory, to study chemical processes that take place at the interface of surfaces. These models will, in turn, be used to study a wide variety of chemistries occurring on surfaces, ranging from self-assembly of supramolecular polymers to heterogeneous catalysis.

Your duties
  • Performing (periodic) density functional theory calculations
  • Developing and coding new models
  • Analyzing chemical processes on surfaces
  • Assisting in computational chemistry courses
  • Supervising B.Sc. and M.Sc. research projects
  • Attending national and international conferences
  • Writing scientific publications


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


We are looking for an outstanding, highly motivated, and creative candidate with the following qualifications:
  • Successfully completed an M.Sc. program in theoretical chemistry or a related field.
  • Experience in performing periodic density functional theory calculations.
  • Having a strong understanding of surface chemistry and band theory is a valuable advantage.
  • The ability to code proficiently in Python.
  • You have good writing skills and excellent communication skills.

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 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.


You are part of the TheoCheM group within the Theoretical Chemistry (TC) division of the Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPS) department. The TheoCheM group offers a dynamic and interactional environment. Learn more about the dynamics of the TheoChem group here. Our research spans from the development of new methods for computation chemistry, via the development of physical models for understanding and predicting structures and reactivity, to application to intriguing chemical and biological problems. The subgroup Predictive Surface Chemistry of Complex Systems is a new part of the TC division, where we study chemical processes at the interface of surfaces.

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 31/12/2023.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Dr. Pascal Vermeeren
Position: Assistant Professor

Relocation support
If you have any questions regarding moving to Amsterdam and working at VU Amsterdam, you may contact:

Name: Sara Veldhorst
Position: Relocation Advisor
Telephone: +31 (20) 59 86212

No agencies


  • PhD
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 16459


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 31 Dec 2023 23:58 (Europe/Amsterdam).