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University of Twente
PhD position ‘Polyelectrolyte complexation for the next generation of waterborne coatings’
University of Twente
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Published: 9 days ago
Application deadline: Sep 01
Location: Enschede, Netherlands
Please mention that you found this job on Academic Positions when applying.

PhD position ‘Polyelectrolyte complexation for the next generation of waterborne coatings’

Job description

Within the Membrane Surface Science Group (MSuS), of the University of Twente (, and the Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter Group (, of Wageningen University we have a vacancy for a PhD student:

‘Polyelectrolyte complexation for the next generation of waterborne coatings’ 

Project Description
A PhD project is available regarding the production and characterization of new and sustainable water borne coatings. Current water-based coatings and paints have found their way to the customers and are appreciated in many markets. Still, they suffer from generally acknowledged drawbacks. One of the most challenging aspects in creating a successful waterborne coating, is to develop a coating that after drying is a sufficient barrier to water. The initial components of the waterborne coating must be hydrophilic enough to be dissolved or dispersed in water, but after drying the components must become hydrophobic and/or densely crosslinked to achieve suitable barrier properties. 

Recent work demonstrates that by carefully controlled complexation of oppositely charged polyelectrolytes it is possible to create completely new plastic like materials, so-called salo-plastics. In this project we will study the preparation of new waterborne coatings using a polyelectrolyte complexation strategy. Thin and optical transparent films will be produced on surfaces by carefully controlled complexation and drying kinetics. Then this strategy will be extended to contain filler materials and to allow crosslinking for enhanced stability. Finally, bio-based polyelectrolytes will be investigate to come to a truly sustainable coating approach. 

This project will take place in two complementary research groups, both with a strong collaborative atmosphere. You will become part of both research groups and will spread your research over these two locations. The project itself is part of the prestigious ARC-CBBC Flagship Program “Coatings and Functional Materials: Crosslinking in waterborne coatings with new building blocks”. Within this flagship program you will be expected to actively cooperate with PhD students in related projects, and with our industrial partners. As part of the PhD program, you would have the opportunity to receive further education within the Twente Graduate School and the VLAG graduate school. Furthermore, you may actively contribute in the teaching program, e.g. by supervision of BSc and MSc assignments and teaching assistance.

Your profile

You have a Master’s degree, preferably with distinction (or international equivalent), in Physical Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Material Science or a closely related discipline. You are motivated and enthusiastic about working on a more fundamental project within a more applied field of research. 

Preferably you have experience with complexation driven processes, phase separation, film formation, wetting and related phenomena. You have the ability to work independently and as a member of a research team, while demonstrating a collaborative attitude.

You are able to review and engage with interdisciplinary studies and are driven by curiosity. You have excellent analytical skills and an analytical mind-set, excellent communication skills, written as well as spoken. English language proficiency is a must and a written test, as well as a scientific presentation, will be part of the interview procedure.

Questions regarding these positions can be directed to Dr. Wiebe M. de Vos (, phone: +31 53 489 4495). 

Please send your application with c.v. (including contact information for at least two academic references), via the link below. If possible, please add a list of grades of both your BSc and MSc diploma.

Our offer

While a cooperation between two universities, the University of Twente (UT) will act as the official employer. When fulfilling a PhD position at the UT, you will get the status of junior scientist. You will have an employment contract for the duration of 4 years and can participate in all employee benefits the UT offers. The gross monthly salary starts with € 2.222,- in the first year and increases to € 2.840,- in the fourth year of your employment. Additionally, the University of Twente provides excellent facilities for professional and personal development, a holiday allowance (amount to 8%), an end of year bonus of 8.3%. A high-quality training programme is part of the agreement. The research has to result in a PhD thesis at the end of the employment period. The position is available from the 1st of September.

The organization

The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

Within the TNW Faculty (Faculty of Science & Technology) of the University of Twente some 700 staff members and 2000 students are involved in training and research on the interface of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. Research, which enjoys a high profile both at home and internationally, has been accommodated in the multidisciplinary research institutes MESA+ and MIRA. The faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders.

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