PhD fellowship in Electrocatalysis

PhD Project in Solid Solution Catalysts for Water Electrolysis

Department of Chemistry
Faculty of SCIENCE

University of Copenhagen


Department of Chemistry invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in electrocatalysis.

Start date is August 1, 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.


The project

Hydrogen is certain to play a role on a terawatt scale, and most of the energy lost today is due to water oxidation on the anode by the oxygen evolution reaction, 2 H2O → O2 + 4 (H+ + e-). A materials bottleneck looms in the requirement of the rare element iridium to catalyze the oxygen evolution reaction at the anode of a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolyzer, the preferred technology today for coupling hydrogen production to renewable electricity. There is therefore, arguably, no reaction more urgent to focus on than the oxygen evolution reaction.

The project has the goals of (1) developing new oxygen evolution catalyst materials to replace iridium, (2) elucidating the mechanisms of water oxidation and catalyst degradation using in-situ characterization techniques, and (3) building a data infrastructure to enable analysis of electrocatalytic activity descriptors by machine learning.


Who are we looking for?

We are looking for candidates within the field(s) of experimental electrochemistry, physical chemistry and kinetics, and inorganic synthesis and characterization. Applicants can have a background from Chemical Engineering, Physics, Nanotechnology, Chemistry, or Renewable Energy. Applicants should have a solid grasp of thermodynamics, be comfortable thinking quantitatively, and work well in a group setting. Experience with data science using python and/or SQL is an advantage.


Our group and research- and what do we offer?

The group is a part of Department of Chemistry, Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. We are located in Copenhagen.

We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment.

The project is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation through a start package to asst. professor Soren B. Scott, and is the first PhD project in the Energy Conversion Interfaces Group. Our group is within the Nano Chemistry Research Section, and we collaborate closely with the other groups in the section, especially those of professor Jan Rossmeisl (Theoretical Catalysis), assc. Prof. Kirsten Jensen (Nanomaterial Structure), and asst. Prof. Rebecca Pittkowski (Nanoparticals in Electrocatalysis).

Our research facilities include modern laboratories housing potentiostats, fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction, gas chromatography – mass spectrometry, inductively coupled plasma - optical emission spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy among other equipment. Additional techniques are accessible through our collaboration partners.


Principal supervisor is Associate Professor Kirsten M.Ø. Jensen, Department of Chemistry. Daily supervisor is co-supervisor and Assistant Professor Soren B. Scott, Department of Chemistry,, Direct Phone: +45 51627117


The PhD programme

This position is a three year full-time study within the framework of the regular PhD programme (5+3 scheme). You should already have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master’s degree.

Getting into a position on the regular PhD programme

Qualifications needed for the regular programme
To be eligible for the regular PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Nanotechnology, or Renewable Energy. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.

Terms of employment in the regular programme
Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Responsibilities and tasks in the PhD programme

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project


We are looking for the following qualifications:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other relevant professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in electrocatalysis.
  • Good language skills



Application and Assessment Procedure

 Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page) including your motivation for applying for the specific PhD project
  2. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  3. Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science and Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  4. Publication list (if any)
  5. Reference letters (if available)

Application deadline:
The deadline for applications is 17 March 2024, 23:59 GMT +1.

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.


The further process
After deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment.

The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at

Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in weeks 16 or 17.


For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact co-supervisor Soren B. Scott,

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website:

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Søren Bertelsen Scott


Application deadline: 17-03-2024
Department/Location: Kemisk Institut
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