PhD position: PFAS free membranes for proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell applications

PhD position: PFAS free membranes for proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell applications

Published Deadline Location
23 May 13 Jun Wageningen

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Job description

Are you a highly motivated and skilled PhD candidate with an MSc degree in polymer sciences, chemistry or related area? Do you have good communication skills, are you a result-driven team player and are you keen to develop yourself in a PhD project? And do you have experience in developing new polymers for proton exchange membrane applications? Then this could be the ideal PhD position for you!

Hydrogen is mainly used as a feedstock in industrial processes, such as refining and ammonia production. In addition, fuel cells allow you to use hydrogen to generate electricity, for example at times when solar and wind power are not sufficient. However, things are not that advanced yet. For example, the membranes used in PEM fuel cells are fluorine based polymers with large environmental impacts.

What will you do?
This project is embedded within the HyUSE – Hydrogen technology development and assessment for accelerated use project, which includes a consortium of partners from research organizations (universities and universities of applied sciences) and interested stakeholders (e.g. policy makers, industry). You will work on designing and synthesizing novel PFAs free membrane materials for use in PEM fuel cells. These membranes will enhance the efficiency, performance, and sustainability of fuel cell systems, contributing to the advancement of clean energy technologies.

Your duties and responsibilities include:
  • syntheses and characterize novel polymers;
  • thoroughly study the electrochemical performance of the membranes in PEM fuel cell;
  • teaching activities and supervision of MSc/BSc students;
  • publish research results in peer-reviewed journals and write a doctoral thesis.

You will work here
The research is embedded within the chair Biobased Chemistry and Technology, and member of the BCT team, which is led by Prof. Harry Bitter. You will be co-supervised by Dr. Akbar Asadi Tashvigh.


Wageningen University & Research


Specific requirements:
  • expertise and practical experience with PEM fuel cells;
  • strong background knowledge in polymer chemistry.

You also have:
  • a master’s degree in materials science, chemistry, chemical engineering, or a related field;
  • experience in laboratory research, with proficiency in experimental techniques and data analysis;
  • excellent communication skills and the ability to work effectively both independently and as part of a team;
  • enthusiasm for tackling complex challenges and driving sustainable solutions in energy technology.

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.770 - per month rising to € 3.539,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 19th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.

Because we expect you to work and live in the Netherlands our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. We can assist you with any additional advice and information about for example helping your partner to find a job, housing, or schooling.

Finally, certain categories of international staff may be eligible for a tax exemption on a part of their salary during the first five years in the Netherlands.


Wageningen University & Research

The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,600 employees (6,700 fte) and 13,100 students and over 150,000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.

Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch the video below to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • P1524645-1


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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