PhD in Dynamic Polymer Chemistry

Published on
July 10, 2018
Location Wageningen
Scientific field Natural Sciences
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We are looking for

We are looking for a highly motivated and ambitious PhD student with a background in materials chemistry to start a PhD project on the design, synthesis and characterization of smart, dynamic polymer materials. This project is part of the research program entitled “4D control over smart dynamic polymers”, supervised by Dr. Maarten Smulders, and for which he was awarded a NWO VIDI grant. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with a second PhD student and a postdoctoral researcher.
The major theme of the VIDI program is to design dynamic polymer materials with so-called smart properties, such as materials that are self-healing, shape-transforming, malleable or recyclable. To achieve this dynamic response, a still relatively new class of reversible bond will be employed: the dynamic-covalent bond. This bond combines the robustness of a conventional covalent bond with the reversibility of non-covalent bonds. When integrated into polymer materials, this will lead to mechanically strong, yet still adaptive materials with desired smart properties. While the potential of dynamic-covalent bonds in polymer materials science becomes more acknowledged, the possibility of bottom-up design of functional dynamic polymers still remains underexplored.
In this project, the aim is firstly to incorporate (metal-stabilized) dynamic-covalent imine bonds into polymer networks. Subsequently it will be established how the dynamic properties of the continuously exchanging imine bonds can lead to a polymer with dynamic, smart material properties. Furthermore, a range of parameters that can be used to control these material properties will be explored. Ultimately, based on the thus obtained insights, new functional dynamic polymer materials will be designed, synthesized and characterized. Initially, the design will be focused on self-healing and shape-transforming polymer materials.

We ask

The candidate requires an MSc degree in Chemistry, Materials Science or Molecular (Life) Science. A strong background and hands-on experience in organic chemistry as well as a strong interest (or preferentially experience) in polymer chemistry and characterization is essential. Experience with (dynamic) mechanical analysis of polymer materials is desired. Furthermore, you should be a team player with good written and oral communication skills in English.

We offer

We offer you a temporary position for a period of 1.5 years with extension of 2.5 years after successful evaluation. Gross salary per month € 2266 in the first year rising up to € 2897 per month in the fourth year. 

We not only offer a competitive salary but also good (study) leave and a pension of the ABP Pension Fund.

More information

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Maarten Smulders (assistant professor Laboratory of Organic Chemistry), e-mail More information can also be found on and
For more information about the contractual aspects, please contact Mrs. Nicole de Vries (HR advisor), e-mail, telephone number +31 317 485 677.

You can apply online at The vacancy is open until August 31, but candidate selection will start from August 3 onwards on the basis of all applications received until then.

We are

The Organic Chemistry group ( constitutes a large, interdisciplinary research team involved in teaching and research on organic chemistry, with an emphasis on surface-based reactivity. The group aims to excel in the research and teaching of organic chemistry. The laboratory is extremely well-equipped with a unique set of analysis instruments for (bio-)organic materials and surfaces, and the group consists of around 20 PhD students and postdocs, a permanent staff of 7 technical employees, two part-time professors with external expertise, 6 assistant and associate professors and one full-time chair. In addition to this, the embedding within Wageningen University & Research adds ample biological input into our focus on chemistry-based bionanotechnology. Currently ca. 1700 students/year take part in one or more Organic Chemistry study elements provided by our faculty.

The Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group is part of Wageningen University & Research, an organisation that brings together fundamental and applied scientific research. We work on creating ‘healthy food in a biobased society’ with private sector companies, research institutes and government agencies in the Netherlands and abroad. Our innovations play a crucial role in solving the major issues which affect society today. Entrepreneurship and professionalism are key in all that we do. In short, we are a major international employer offering considerable potential for your career.

Wageningen University & Research
Delivering a substantial contribution to the quality of life. That's our focus – each and every day. Within our domain of good and safe food & food production, food security and a healthy living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society – such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we don’t do this alone. Every day, 5000 people work on ‘the quality of life’, turning ideas into reality, on a global scale.

Could you be one of these people? We give you the space you need.

For further information about working at Wageningen University & Research, take a look at:

Acquisition regarding this vacancy is not appreciated.