PhD (4 year) position quantum chemical design of organic reactions

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • PhD (4 year) position quantum chemical design of organic reactions
  • University Graduate
Are you highly motivated and enthusiastic to apply state-of-the-art quantum chemical methods and artificial intelligence techniques to streamline and automate chemical synthesis planning? Then please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).

FTE: 1

Job description

We are excited to invite applications for a fully-funded, four-year PhD position in the Theoretical Chemistry department at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The research project draws expertise from a variety of fields including theoretical chemistry, artificial intelligence, and organic chemistry and aims to streamline the rational-design of elaborate chemical syntheses and development of novel synthetic methodologies. The PhD candidate will help realize the concept of “Theory-Driven Organic Synthesis” and principally focus on chemical transformations that involve, among others, C-H functionalization, C–C bond formation, and electrocyclic reactions. Successful development of predictive models will result in the actual “theory-driven design” of experiments carried out by our collaborators in our network.


  • A completed MSc degree in Chemistry or related field
  • Expertise in theoretical, computational chemistry, and chemical bonding
  • Expertise with programming skills in Python
  • Experience with artificial intelligence (machine learning, neural networks, etc)
  • Interest in organic chemistry, (retro)synthesis, and methodology development
  • Very good writing skills and command of the English Language (mandatory)
  • Good communication skills and ability to work in an interdisciplinary team

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €2,972 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years. Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • good paid parental leave scheme
  • child daycare facilities available on campus
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,500 students. We employ more than 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.


Please apply via the application button and upload the required documents (described below) before 1 July 2020. The job interview(s) are planned for mid July and will take place via a Skype interview.

Please send the following information (as one pdf file):
  • detailed CV (include information on your BSc and MSc studies, languages, achievements, expertise, laboratory skills)
  • motivation letter, addressed to Trevor A. Hamlin, explaining your motivation and suitability for the position
  • contact details of at least two references (names, addresses, emails)
  • reference letter from at least one of the references
  • academic diplomas and certificates, scanned copies
  • Official academic transcript (i.e. documents enlisting your performance as BSc and MSc student over time by listing the course units or modules taken, credits gained and the grades awarded). If you have not completed your MSc degree yet, then include all grades obtained so far.
  • English language skills certificate, for non-native English speakers
Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: B.A.M. Niehe

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