PhD Student

In heterogeneous catalysis and in situ/operando spectroscopy

Your tasks

The European Training Network CATCHY ( provides a concerted effort to design novel high-performance thermo- and electrocatalysts for the conversion of CO2 into added-value synthetic fuels. In this context, your work will focus on uncovering the structure-activity-selectivity relationships in heterogeneous catalysts based on supported metal nanoparticles and their alloys for CO2 hydrogenation reactions.

  • You will participate in the preparation of catalysts, design of experimental setups for in situ/operando X-Ray absorption and infra-red spectroscopy and perform experiments at the Swiss Light Source (
  • You will actively interact with your colleagues at PSI and ETH Zurich and with partners from the EU collaboration network focused on CO2 hydrogenation on cluster-based catalysts
  • Three 2 month secondments in EU partners' organizations are foreseen within the PhD project to get experience in complimentary characterization techniques

Your profile

  • University degree (Master or equivalent) in chemistry, chemical engineering, material science or a related field
  • Knowledge of physical chemistry, chemical physics or material science. Experience in chemical preparation, analytical methods (mass-spectrometry, gas chromatography etc.) or spectroscopy is an asset
  • You enjoy practical work using advanced instrumentation and like to conduct research in a team
  • Very good communication skills in English are completing your application profile
  • You will be registered as a PhD Student at the ETH Zurich in the group of Prof. Christophe Copéret (

We offer

Our institution is based on an interdisciplinary, innovative and dynamic collaboration. You will profit from a systematic training on the job, in addition to personal development possibilities and our pronounced vocational training culture. If you wish to optimally combine work and family life or other personal interests, we are able to support you with our modern employment conditions and the on-site infrastructure.

The job application should be simultaneously submitted to Eligible candidates may be of any nationality but must not, at the time of recruitment 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 last years immediately prior to the reference date. PhD Candidates must be, at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. This is measured from the date when they obtained the Master degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate.

For further information, please contact Dr Olga Safonova, phone +41 56 310 58 05.

Please submit your application online by 31 January 2021 (including addresses of referees) for the position as a PhD Student (index no. 5004-00).

Paul Scherrer Institut, Human Resources Management, Mariusz Prus, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland