PhD position - Hydrogen fuel cells and water electrolyzers

Context & Job description

Project title: Stability investigations of hydrogen fuel cell and water eletrolyzer electrocatalysts.

We are seeking a candidate to join a PhD programme to develop new generation of materials used as catalysts in hydrogen fuel cells and water electrolyzers. You will join an international team of scientist from academia and industry, working together to solve one of the biggest challenge of our times: smooth transition from fossil fuels to a more sustainable energy scheme. The aim of the PhD project is to systematically investigate the stability of state-of-the-art catalyst materials, which are now being evaluated for commercial use, using high energy X-rays at European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF). We want to better understand the underlying principles leading to catalyst activity and degradation so that we can determine the future R&D directions for hydrogen production and fuel cell technologies. The project is a joint collaboration between ESRF (most advanced high energy X-ray source), Johnson Matthey (a global leader in sustainable technologies) and Technische Universität Berlin (group of P. Strasser)

Further information may be obtained from Dr. Jakub Drnec (tel: +33 4 38 88 19 16, email:

Expected profile

  • Degree allowing enrollment for a PhD (such as MSc or equivalent) in physics, materials science, chemistry or closely related science
  • Manual skills and love for experimental science are essential.
  • Experience with electrochemistry and electrochemical energy conversion and storage is a plus.
  • Basic knowledge X-ray diffraction and programming (python) is a plus.
  • Proficiency in English (A proof of upper-intermediate level must be included in the application. Applicants  originating  from  native-English-speaking  countries  can  apply  without  the  need  for  proof  of level. An official degree conducted in English will be also accepted as a proof).
  • Compliance with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie mobility rule: candidates may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than twelve months in the three years immediately before the date of recruitment.
  • At the date of recruitment, early-stage researchers must be in the first four years of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • Candidates must satisfy eligibility criteria according to the Technische Universität Berlin requirements for PhD enrollment.

More details about the application procedure on

Working conditions

The successful candidate will be enrolled in the doctoral school of Technische Universität Berlin and based full-time at the ESRF (Grenoble, France), other than a 4-month secondment at Johnson Matthey (Reading,UK). Additional visits totaling no more than 1 months may be made to the Technische Universität Berlin (Berlin, Germany) when needed. Furthermore, a varied pedagogical training programme will be offered to the successful candidate throughout the 3-year PhD project.

More details on the InnovaXN programme on

Company description

InnovaXN is a Horizon 2020 MSCA COFUND programme providing an opportunity for 40 industrial companies to work with 40 PhD students, performing advanced research and exploiting the unique characterisation techniques of the ESRF and ILL. Through collaborations with industry, innovation will be the central theme of the programme. This will provide a unique cross academic-industry science setting, secondment opportunities and society-relevant research, training the future key researchers able to tackle major research and societal challenges.

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