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PhD offer in chemistry H/F - CO2 Transformations catalysed by N-Heterocyclic Carbene (NHC) systems

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

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General information

Reference : UPR8241-OLIBAS-001
Workplace : TOULOUSE
Date of publication : Friday, February 21, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : Dr. Olivier Baslé
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

There are increasing demands to find new strategies to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Utilization of CO2 as one-carbon building block in chemical synthesis for the production of carboxylic acids is particularly appealing. However, the thermodynamic stability and kinetic inertness of CO2 constitute serious drawbacks. On the other hand, alkanes are the major constituents of natural gas and crude oil and are the major products of biomass conversion via Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Nevertheless, alkanes are among the least reactive organic molecules and forcing reaction conditions are generally required for hydrocarbons transformations. Therefore, the direct conversion of abundant and low-cost CO2 and hydrocarbon feedstock into value-added products has the potential to be a revolutionary technology in the chemical industry. In this project, by taking advantage of photochemical reactions that occur under mild conditions and avoid the use of aggressive chemicals, we propose to functionalize alkanes with CO2 for the production of high value-added carboxylic acids. This project is based on our complementary expertise in photocatalytic C-H functionalization and CO2 activation at LCC and in computational modelling at UAB.

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 ESR15 on the CCIMC website: offers a 3 year, fully-funded double PhD award in collaboration with the Department of Chemistry in the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB). You will be supervised by Dr. Olivier Baslé (LCC) and co-supervised by Dr. Sébastien Bontemps (LCC) and Pr. Agustí Lledós (UAB).
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 researchers 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 UAB is one of the Spain leading Chemistry departments and we are renowned internationally for our research and teaching activities. UAB and its chemistry department focuses on today's climate crisis. “Climate Emergency: the UAB acts! is the slogan the UAB has chosen this year to raise awareness on the current climate crisis. Moreover, as a Department we strive to provide a working environment which allows all staff and students to contribute fully, to flourish, and to excel. Further information can be found within this brief and on our website:

Constraints and risks

In order to qualify for award of the double degree the candidate will carry out the PhD in LCC and in the Department of Chemistry of the Universita Autonoma de Barcelona under the supervision of Pr. Agustí Lledós. A secondment in industry, at Solvay, France, will complement the training provided in Toulouse and in Barcelona. 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.

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