PhD position: Taming Ru(0) toward Enantioselective Catalysis (TRuE)

Research / Academic

Do you have a background in Coordination Chemistry, Homogeneous Catalysis or a related field? Are you ready to tame highly reactive Ru(0) to use it for chiral catalysis to change the way how organic chemists build molecules? Are you knowledgeable, ambitious and not afraid of a challenge?
Then this vacancy can be just right for you!

We have a PhD position available in which you can develop Ru-catalysts for highly challenging and valuable chiral C-C bonds formation reactions with a perfect atom economy. This PhD position is a part of NWO VIDI grant TRuE (Taming Ru(0) toward Enantioselective Catalysis), where we aim to develop novel, stable and active enantioselective catalysts based on Ru(0).

As a PhD student, you will focus on the investigation of strategies that stabilize Ru(0) center while maintaining its high reactivity. You will design and synthesize organic ligands, and use them for the formation of Ru(0) complexes under inert atmosphere (glovebox). Synthesized complexes will be identified and characterize by combination of single crystal X-ray diffraction analysis and multinuclear NMR spectroscopy – both instruments are available for walk-in use as a part of this project. You will use synthesized complexes to design novel catalytic reaction, with subsequent rationale-driven optimization of reaction conditions and catalyst structure to improve reaction performance.

Your duties and responsibilities include:

  • synthesis of (air-sensitive) ruthenium complexes, using glovebox and Schlenk line techniques;
  • full characterization of these complexes, using NMR and SC-XRD and investigation of their reactivity;
  • development of catalytic organic reactions using synthesized ruthenium complexes. Reactions monitoring with GC-MS, HPLC, NMR and analysis of reaction enantioselectivity with chiral HPLC or SFC;
  • mechanistic studies of developed catalytic reactions;
  • rationale-based catalysts design and reactions optimization.

You will work here
The research will be carried out in the group of Dr. Fedor Miloserdov (Homogeneous Catalysis and Biomimetic Synthesis - WUR), located in the Laboratory of Organic Chemistry (Organic Chemistry - WUR), which is headed by Prof. Han Zuilhof. You will be supervised by Dr. Fedor Miloserdov.


  • a successfully completed MSc degree in Coordination Chemistry, Homogeneous Catalysis or related discipline;
  • a strong background in synthesis of coordination compounds together with fundamental knowledge of organic chemistry;
  • a critical scientific attitude, strong analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • ready to work in a multicultural and a multidisciplinary environment.

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

Salary Benefits:

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

  • partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.770 - per month rising to € 3.539,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “ Best University ” in the Netherlands for the 19th consecutive time.

Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.

Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.

Work Hours:

38 hours per week