Postdoc Sustainable production of biobased aromatics by selective furan activation

Utrecht University


Postdoc Sustainable production of biobased aromatics by selective furan activation (1.0 FTE)


Job description

Aromatic building blocks can be found in a multitude of different products we need for daily life, ranging from plastics, coatings, lubricants, to consumer products. The fossil resource-based production routes for the enormous amounts of aromatic compounds produced are currently not sustainable and alternatives based on renewable resources are needed to enable the desired transition to a more sustainable chemical and polymer industry. Technology for the production of ‘drop-in’ replacements of the currently functionalized aromatic building blocks is not yet available.


In this project we aim to address this gap and will develop a new, catalytic route to renewable aromatics from biomass-derived furanics, in collaboration with our partners at TNO/Biorizon and Klüber Lubrication. A new Diels-Alder aromatization strategy will be pursued allowing for the direct aromatization of oxygenated furanics. The work will entail catalyst development, expanding the substrate scope to make the technology broadly applicable, as well as improving process technology options for this new method.



To achieve the above, we are looking for a Postdoctoral Researcher with a PhD degree in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering and a strong background in (heterogeneous or homogeneous) catalysis and organic chemistry. Preferably, the candidate has experience with the synthesis of (solid) acid catalysts and a proven affinity for (synthetic) organic chemistry.



We offer a position for one year in an international working environment, with the possibility of an extension with another year. The salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges from €3,255 to €4,274 (scale 10 according to the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities) gross per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end allowance of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). Here you'll find more information about working at Utrecht University.

About the organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old center and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht city has been consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the Netherlands.


The Faculty of Science consists of six Departments: Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Information and Computing Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry and Mathematics. The Faculty is home to 5,600 students and nearly 1,500 staff and is internationally renowned for the quality of its research. The Faculty's academic programmes reflect developments in today's society. Read the overall impression 2016 of the Faculty of Science.


The Postdoc will be appointed at the Organic Chemistry & Catalysis (OCC) group of the Chemistry Department, which is part of the Catalysis Centre Utrecht and the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science. The research done in the Bruijnincx group at OCC is aimed at the development of new catalyst materials and technology and new catalytic conversion routes for sustainable production of chemicals, fuels and materials from renewable resources, such as biomass and CO2 as well as well as from waste streams. The advertised project is part of the research line on catalyst development for renewable aromatics production.

Additional information

Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from Prof. Dr. Pieter Bruijnincx, via


To apply please attach a letter of motivation, curriculum vitae and (e-mail) addresses of two referees. As part of the selection procedure, the candidate is expected to give an oral presentation detailing her/his scientific background and match with the intended research project and approach.


To apply, please click the application button below.

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