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Research coordinator electrochemical CO2 reduction with novel nanostructured electrodes

Searching for a team-builder with an ambition to grow the team’s impact and its activities




Electronics & Engineering

What you will do

Global warming because of the industrial age CO2 emissions is a prime societal concern with a growing popular awareness calling for policy measures. A behavioral change is important, but technology also needs to come with solutions to reduce emissions and, hopefully, even reverse it. Indeed, with a rapidly growing world population and continuous increase in energy demand, it is understood that a lone switch to renewable energies will not suffice to keep the temperature rise well below +2 °C above pre-industrial levels. In addition, carbon dioxide is not only a product of energy by combustion, but a waste product of chemical industry as well. For example, the cement industry is responsible for 10% of carbon emissions, with about half of that as by-product of the lime production process itself. Therefore, a technology that can convert CO2 into valuable products by electrolysis, would turn CO2 into a valuable precursor and give it economic value. At imec we are looking into concepts for simultaneous capture and conversion of CO2 directly from air or point sources such as factory chimneys to enable residential and industrial installations for local production of renewable fuels and synthesis of fine chemicals. On a large scale, it will help to reduce CO2 emissions and could be one of the technological instruments to eventually reverse the trend with "negative emissions". The electrochemical reduction of CO2 powered by renewable energies has the potential to provide valuable carbon compounds such as CO, formic acid and methanol (C1 compounds) as well as short-chain hydrocarbons like ethylene or ethanol (C2 compounds).

As a researcher and project leader, you are responsible for the integration of novel nanostructured gas-diffusion electrodes into a working membrane electrode (MEA). As such, you are leading the R&D operations of imec’ s CO2 activity and you are pushing it towards (industrial) impact. You do this by structing and organizing the R&D work for the people working on the CO2 activity, making sure they have a clear research planning and direction that aligns with the business needs. You also engage closely with the people managers, ensuring that the project team is engaged and committed, and has the required expertise in accordance to the project goals. At the start you’re expected to spend at least half of your time working in the lab on the integration of gas-diffusion electrodes in working membrane electrode assemblies. This percentage will change when the activity grows in the coming years, requiring you to focus more on coordination and follow-up of the work

We thus expect you to:

  • Organize and structure the R&D endeavors on gas-diffusion-electrodes and their integration in MEA-stacks.
  • Ensuring content and direction is given to the research planning with the goal to create industrial and societal impact via e.g. industrial partnerships.
  • Set-out the experimental plans to timely achieve the (project) targets with a focus on integration, and to discuss and defend these plans with other team members and scientific management.
  • Timely and accurately execute and analyze experiments in collaboration with other team members, including researchers, PhD students and process assistants.
  • Follow-up and report of project tasks with periodic internal and external review meetings.
  • Push the team to and yourself to create scientific output in the form of e.g. high-impact publication, and to protect the intellectual property being generated by the team in collaboration with the patent office.
  • Take a leading role in the technical and operational work in the lab environment.

What we do for you

We offer you the opportunity to join one of the world’s premier research centers in nanotechnology at its headquarters in Leuven, Belgium. With your talent, passion and expertise, you’ll become part of a team that makes the impossible possible. Together, we shape the technology that will define the society of tomorrow.

We are committed to being an inclusive employer (http://www.imec-int.com/en/careers#diversity) and proud of our open, multicultural, and informal working environment with ample possibilities to take initiative and show responsibility. In everything we do, your future colleagues are guided by the imec values of passion, excellence, connectedness and integrity. We commit to supporting and guiding you in this process; not only with words but also with tangible actions. Through imec.academy, 'our corporate university', we actively invest in your development to further your technical and personal growth.

We are aware that your valuable contribution makes imec a top player in its field. Your energy and commitment are therefore appreciated by means of a market appropriate salary with many fringe benefits.

Who you are

  • You have a PhD degree in Science or Engineering.
  • You have experience in electrochemistry and electrocatalytic conversion.
  • Knowledge of semiconductor electrochemistry and/or electrolyzer systems is a plus.
  • You are creative and like to think with a team to solve problems.
  • You have experience in collaborative research projects and can effectively summarize and manage a project.
  • You take initiative and can work independently, while you keep on consulting and discussing with a team.
  • You can plan your work and that of your colleagues according to your deadlines and deliverables.
  • You are result-driven and can meet quality output with stringent deadlines.
  • You can guide and motivate team members in their work.
  • You have an impeccable knowledge of English, given the international character of imec.

How can we help?

The Leuven MindGate team is at your disposal for any questions about the Leuven Innovation Region. Do you want to invest, work or study in the region? We can help you find your way.

We also facilitate collaboration and innovation between companies, knowledge institutes and government within the Leuven Innovation Region, and we are happy to guide any of these stakeholders towards innovation.