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PhD offer in chemistry H/F - Reactivity and catalytic chemistry of Ge-H bonds at metal centres

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

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General information

Reference : UPR8241-MARGRE-001
Workplace : TOULOUSE
Date of publication : Monday, March 09, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : Mary GRELLIER
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2020
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

Coordination chemistry of silicon compounds and their applications in catalysis and materials science have been widely explored, but much less is known for the heavier germanium analogue. We will develop new organometallic germanium-based chemistry with a special focus on germane, germyl and germylene species involved in catalyzed hydrogermanation reactions. We will also explore novel methods for Ge-H bond activation in the outer-coordination sphere of metal complexes using highly electrophilic carbene and vinylidene ligands. Such routes will provide access to complimentary pathways for the synthesis of organogermanium compounds. In collaboration with the University of York the candidate will synthesize GeH4-nRn compounds (n = 0-3, R = alkyl, aryl, vinyl). The reactivity of these germanium compounds will be studied towards M(L)2H2 (M = Fe, Ru and L = diphosphines) and Ru(H)2(H2)2(PR3)2 to form new σ-germane, germyl and germylene complexes. Demonstration of an outer ligand sphere route for Ge-H bond activation, based on electrophilic carbenes ligands will be tested. Catalytic hydrogermination reactions of substituted germanes with alkenes and ketones designed to form new functionalised germanes with a high selectivity will be preferentially performed. Mechanistic studies will be also performed for these catalytic reactions.

Work Context

The Laboratory for Coordination Chemistry (LCC), based in Toulouse, southern France, and associated to the Université Paul Sabatier, is part of an Innovative Training Network (ITN) and more specifically a European Joint Doctorate (EJD), funded by the European Commission through the Marie Sklowdoska-Curie Action (MSCA), entitled "Coordination Chemistry Inspires Molecular Catalysis" (CCIMC). This vacancy (referenced as ESR14 on the CCIMC website: offers a 3 year, fully-funded double PhD award in collaboration with the Department of Chemistry in the University of York (UK). You will be supervised by Dr. Mary GRELLIER (LCC) and co-supervised by Dr. Jason LYNAM and Dr John Slattery (University of York).
The Laboratory for Coordination Chemistry ( is one of the top chemistry institute in France and is part of the CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (“National Centre for Scientific Research”), the French leading research establishment. We have at our disposal very well equipped technical and analytical platforms for the daily support of scientific work. Strong of more than 70 researcher divided in 15 teams, research at the LCC places coordination chemistry as a central tool to solve current issues associated with climate change, energy transition and life sciences along 3 axes of investigations: catalysis, materials and health. More than 100 undergraduates, graduates and postgraduates of various nationalities are present at the LCC, thus ensuring a motivating working environment as well as opportunities for social events.
The Department of Chemistry at York is one of the UK's leading Chemistry departments and we are renowned internationally for our research. This is combined with a commitment to teaching and outstanding student satisfaction, and we have been recognised consistently for our family-friendly policies and are proud of our Athena SWAN Gold Award. As a Department we strive to provide a working environment which allows all staff and students to contribute fully, to flourish, and to excel. We aim to ensure that there is a supportive and egalitarian culture at all levels and across all staff groups. We promote good practice and a strong culture of equality in higher education. Further information can be found within this brief and on our website:
In order to qualify for award of the double degree the candidate will be required to spend a minimum of 12 months in the Department of Chemistry of the University of York under the supervision of Dr Jason Lynam and Dr John Slattery. A 3 months secondment in industry, at Johnson Matthey (UK), will complement the training provided in Toulouse and York. In addition, training events will take place at a number of sites around Europe, allowing the researcher to benefit from significant international mobility. The candidate must be enthusiastic about, and willing to, travel as part of the project and must accept the terms of the award of the double degree, including the requirement to attend international training events and fulfil the double degree examination process. There will be extensive opportunities to engage with other groups in the consortium, who represent many of the European leaders in the area of coordination chemistry and catalysis.

Additional Information

The CCIMC ITN addresses the current lack of coordinated doctoral training at the European level on molecular catalysis. It aims to push the frontiers of knowledge in ligand design, coordination chemistry, pre-catalyst development, catalyst recovery and catalytic process implementation, while also offering full scale training in professional and personal transferable skills, to prepare a new generation of junior scientists to meet the economic and societal challenges of the chemical industry in the 21st century.
The CCIMC programme involves 15 joint theses. The candidate is encouraged to consider all of these projects, which can be found on the ITN-EJD website ( Please pay attention that to be eligible, on 1st October 2020, the candidate must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of her·his research career and has not been awarded a doctoral degree. On 1st October 2020, she·he must not have resided or carried out her·his main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the same country than the recruiting institution (in the case of the present offer, France) for more than 12 months in the preceding 3 years. Compulsory national service and/or short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.

Knowledge in coordination chemistry and organometallic chemistry as well as multinuclear NMR characterization methods will be an asset to carry out this research.

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