PhD Position in Mechanochemical Processing in Recycling

Catholic University of Leuven Department of Materials Engineering


The ChEMaRTS research team is based at Campus Group T Leuven and deals with the valorization of waste, residues and end-of-life streams. Currently, ChEMaRTS counts three professors and a number of highly competent and motivated PhD students, all active under the unit of Sustainable Materials Processing and Recycling (SeMPeR) of the Department of Materials Engineering (MTM) and/or under the Process Engineering for Sustainable Systems (ProcESS) division of the Department of Chemical Engineering (CIT).


The production of chemicals, bulk materials and metals through the direct use of renewable electricity will play a major role in the transition towards a low carbon energy supply.  This PhD fits in the framework of the FIREFLY project (HORIZON-CL4-2022-TWIN-TRANSITION-01), which aims to the development of novel fully electrifiable process routes to recycle spent catalysts and regenerate new ones downstream. The objective of this PhD research is the development of mechanochemical-hydrometallurgical methods to process spent solid catalysts for heterogeneous catalysis in the chemical industry. Principles of comminution, mechanochemistry, and extractive metallurgy will be applied to extract metal values from the catalysts and/or prepare them for further processing. This research involves an extensive laboratory activity based on experiments and analysis.

Expected results

  • Definition of the conditions required to maximize the extraction and recovery of the desired values;
  • Elucidation of the mechanisms behind mechanochemical activation and/or reactions;
  • Multiple(2-3) Scientific publications;
  • PhD dissertation.

The person in this position is also expected to carry out educational tasks for about 10-15% of his/her time.


The successful candidate:

  • holds a Master degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science or other comparable discipline;
  • has a solid knowledge of inorganic chemistry and statistical methods;
  • has a profound interest in circular economy policies and experimental work;
  • has a creative and problem-solving mindset and takes initiative to conduct cutting-edge research;
  • is an enthusiastic, enterprising team-player with resourceful ideas. He/she is always on the look-out for improvements and is capable to approach and solve problems in a creative and transparent way.
  • can assist in teaching chemistry and chemical engineering disciplines through project work, exercise and lab sessions.
  • is fluent in English (both spoken and written).

Any prior experience with experimental work based on mechanochemical processing, hydrometallurgy, and/or electrochemistry is considered as a plus. 


KU Leuven is among the top universities in Europe (ranked 45th in general and 48th in engineering according to Times Higher Education world university ranking). Campus Group T is located in Leuven, a historic, dynamic and lively city located in the heart of Belgium, within 20 minutes from Brussels, the capital of the European Union, and less than two hours from Paris, London and Amsterdam.

We offer:

  • a full-time employment as a doctoral student for a period of one year, agreement to be renewed every year, up to 4 years upon positive evaluation;
  • a research position in an enticing research environment across the fields of hydrometallurgy, process engineering and materials science;
  • an attractive salary package, complemented with multiple benefits (health insurance, access to university infrastructure and sports facilities, etc.);
  • the opportunity to participate in international conferences and the possibility to spend a research stay atone of our international contacts;
  • a thorough scientific education and the possibility to obtain a PhD degree from a highly-ranked university;
  • the tools required to start building an academic career (coaching, training, networking, etc.); 


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Giuseppe Granata, tel.: +32 1632 8662, email:

You can apply for this job no later than October 31, 2022 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: October 31, 2022
  • Tags: Materiaalkunde
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