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PhD Researcher: Electrodeposition of Sm-Co alloys

 KU Leuven  Leuven
The specific PhD-position we are looking to fill in is part of the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network “DEMETER – European Training Network for the Design and Recycling of Rare-Earth Permanent Magnet Motors and Generators in Hybrid and Full Electric Vehicles” within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission. DEMETER is a consortium of high profile universities, research institutions and companies located in Belgium, UK, Denmark, France and Slovenia.

The two main current industrial routes for the production of REE metals are metallothermic reduction and electrolytic reduction from molten salts at high temperatures. This PhD targets the electrodeposition of SmCo alloys from ionic liquids.  Advantage is taken of induced alloydeposition: alloys of reactive metals are often easier to deposit than the single metals.  ILs with a large electrochemical window are required, due to the very negative reduction potential of REEs.
The objectives of the PhD-research is to electrodeposit SmCo alloys with different Sm/Co ratios from ionic liquids and to characterise the SmCo alloys. Insight in the electrochemical properties of samarium and cobalt salts in ionic liquids; well characterised SmCo alloys coatings; magnetic properties of the coatings; new samarium and cobalt precursor Salts for electrodeposition of SmCo alloys from ionic liquids.

Master degree with distinction in one of the following fields (or similar): Composites materials, Materials Science, Materials Engineering, Mechanical engineering, Chemical Engineering, etc.
A strong motivation for scientific research is a must. 
Candidates having publications and/or conference papers will have an advantage. 
A strong interest for multidisciplinary research is required. 
Communication skills: ability to work both independently and in a team.
English language proficiency. 
Applicants need to fully respect 3 eligibility criteria:
  • Early-stage researchers (ESR) are those who are, at the time of recruitment by the host, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers. This is measured from the date when they obtained the degree which formally entitles them to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate was envisaged.
  • Conditions of international mobility of researchers: Researchers are required to undertake trans-national mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up the appointment. At the time of selection by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.
  • English language: Networkfellows (ESRs) must demonstrate that their ability to understand and expressthemselves in both written and spoken English is sufficiently high for them toderive the full benefit from the network training.
The position is part of the MSCA programme which offers highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences.

The project offers funding for a 4-year program towards a PhD at the KU Leuven within the Department of Materials Engineering, subject to meeting the requirements and deadlines set out by the supervisors and the Arenberg Doctoral School.
KU Leuven offers an exciting multi-disciplinary research environment, a broad gamut of training courses for Ph.D. students.
How to apply:
You can apply for this job no later than November 13, 2016 via the online application tool.
Send application to
For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Jan Fransaer, tel.: +32 16 32 12 39 , mail:
While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: BAP-2016-551

About KU Leuven

KU Leuven is an ambitious, international and research-oriented university. Internally, the university tries to maintain a balance between the power of the big ship and the flotilla of small, mobile, independent vessels of which it is composed. KU Leuven is home to a lot of creative, young and academic talent. As a leading university in Europe, it is looking for staff who can think outside the box.

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