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PhD student on ID26

Context & Job description

Thesis topic: Electrochemical conversion of CO2 into added value products via highly selective bimetallic materials and innovative process design

The ECOMATES training programme consists of cutting-edge research projects executed by ten Doctoral Candidates (DCs) recruited across the different institutions of the training network. The DCs will develop innovative scientific and technical skills, but also follow complementary and interdisciplinary skills courses, both at a local and network-wide level. International and intersectoral (academia/industry) secondment across the partners in the network will be an important part of DC’s training activity. The project at the ESRF is mainly carried out at beamlines ID26 and ID16b. It concerns the study of the electronic structure (oxidation and spin state, local coordination) and elemental distribution of Cu/M electrocatalysts fabricated within the network by means of nano X-ray fluorescence analysis and X-ray absorption and emission (photon-in/photon-out) spectroscopy. Characterization of different bimetallic systems and stoichiometries will shed light on the key parameters determining the best catalysts. This project includes the development of novel X-ray instrumentation and data analysis methods. The expected outcome of this work is (i) Determine stoichiometry and chemical changes in the Cu/M bimetallic compounds under simulated working conditions; (ii) Understand relations between the electronic structure-composition and the catalytic properties of Cu/M layers; (iii) Define adequate protocols for in-situ characterization and nano-characterization of Cu/M bimetallic layers. The doctoral candidate will be enrolled in the PhD school of the University of Grenoble Alpes, supervised by Dr. Pieter Glatzel and co-Supervised by Dr. Julie Villanova and Dr. Frederic Maillard. Part of the activity will be carried out during secondment periods at POLITO in Turin, Italy, to learn about the fabrication process and sample preparation for its characterization at the ESRF, at ENVIPARK to learn about catalysts electrochemical characterization and at ADVENT for a training on membranes for CO2RR processes.

Further information may be obtained from Pieter Glatzel (tel.: +33 (0)4 76 88 29 68, email:


Expected profile

The candidate is expected to have great interest in materials science, electronic structure, catalysis and X-ray instrumentation. For being admitted at the doctoral school in physics at the University of Grenoble Alpes, you must first hold a Master’s degree obtained in France or abroad for which your internship will have been carried out in a research laboratory. Holding a Master of Science degree is mandatory for admission. Some foreign universities admit PhD students after four years of university without them having completed their Master’s degree. This is not possible in France.

The doctoral school of physics of Grenoble applies an entry selection which consists in admitting only students who have obtained an average equivalent to 12 or more, during their last year of Master. In the case of an application from a student who has obtained his Master’s degree in a foreign country, this selection is examined by the admission committee, taking into account the evaluation system of the country where the Master was obtained. For any master average between 12 and 13, a conditional registration will be given with audition before the doctoral school office at the end of the 1st year for a re-registration.

More details about the application procedure on

Working conditions

You shall be enrolled in University of Grenoble Alpes as a condition of your recruitment.

Contract of two years renewable for one year.

Do you recognize yourself in this description? Apply now for your next professional adventure!

What we offer:

  1. Be inspired by our innovative research institute, with an international workforce from 38 different countries
  2. Collaborate with global experts on real-world science
  3. Come and live in a vibrant city, in the heart of the Alps, and Europe's Green Capital 2022
  4. Enjoy a workplace designed to support your quality of life
  5. Benefit from our competitive compensation and allowances package, including financial support for your relocation to Grenoble

For further information on employment terms and conditions, please refer to

The ESRF is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from disabled persons.

Company description

The European Synchrotron, the ESRF, is an international research centre based in Grenoble, France.

Through its innovative engineering, pioneering scientific vision and a strong commitment from its 700 staff members, the ESRF is recognised as one of the top research facilities worldwide. Its particle accelerator produces intense X-ray beams that are used by thousands of scientists each year for experiments in diverse fields such as biology, medicine, environmental sciences, cultural heritage, materials science, and physics.

Supported by 21 countries, the ESRF is an equal opportunity employer and encourages diversity.

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