Postdoctoral Researcher for KU Ctr for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis

Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis
Lawrence, Kansas
up to $55,000 annually
Closing date
Dec 10, 2021

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Field of specialization
Catalysts, Engineering, Environmental, Green Chemistry, Polymers
Work Function
Job Type
Full time
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Job Details

The KU Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis (CEBC) has postdoctoral researcher openings for both federally-funded and industry-sponsored projects. 

Federally-Funded Projects
Applications for postdoctoral researchers will be reviewed by individual CEBC faculty mentors and placed in a pool for consideration for a one- to two-year research position. The research projects may involve one or more of the following topical areas:

  1. Reaction engineering, including detailed modeling and experimental characterization of novel reactor designs, multi-phase catalytic systems, electrocatalytic systems, and complex reaction kinetics;
  2. Design, synthesis, and characterization of homogeneous and/or heterogeneous catalysts for a wide variety of chemistries;
  3. Engineering tunable solvents (e.g., supercritical fluids, gas-expanded liquids, and ionic liquids) as reaction media or for energy-efficient separations;
  4. Molecular modeling of reaction mechanisms, condensed phases, or novel porous materials;
  5. Design and evaluation of chemical processes, including plant-scale simulations (Aspen/HYSYS), and environmental sustainability assessments (LCA);
  6. Advanced operando spectroscopic measurements and surface science;
  7. Analytical chemistry, especially as it relates to biomass-derived feedstocks and recycled polymers.

Industry-Sponsored Projects
Applications for postdoctoral scientists will be reviewed for consideration for a one-year research position (with possible extension based on performance and availability of funding).  The specific nature of the planned research projects is proprietary, but may involve one or more of the following topical areas:

  1. Physical organic chemistry, including detailed mechanistic studies, complex and model system kinetics, reactive intermediate synthesis and characterization.
  2. Catalytic method development involving development and discovery of novel chemistries.
  3. Design, synthesis, and characterization of homogeneous, heterogeneous, and/or bio-catalysts for a wide variety of chemistries;
  4. Advanced spectroscopic measurements and, if applicable, surface science, including development of in situ or operando experiments;
  5. Theoretical chemistry and molecular modeling of reaction mechanisms, condensed phases, or novel porous materials.

Duties and Responsibilities:

70% - Conduct research spanning from initial proof-of-concept through the optimized bench scale catalytic process, adequate for performing detailed environmental impact and economic evaluations.

20% - Actively engage in interdisciplinary collaborations, communicating frequently with research groups and researchers in private industry. Provide mentoring for graduate and undergraduate students, and other postdoctoral researchers as needed. 

5% -  Publish and report the results of CEBC research at professional meetings and assist CEBC and KU in securing intellectual property rights on inventions.

5% -  Participate in professional development and educational outreach programs of CEBC; e.g., safety recruiting, procurement, diversity, and service activities, seminars, committees, etc.

Required Qualifications

  1. Ph.D. in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, or closely related discipline
  2. Strong research history in a field or fields related to research areas listed
  3. Demonstrated effective verbal and written communication skills
  4. Demonstrated ability to work as a member of a research team

Preferred Qualifications

  1. Substantial experience working as a member of a research team, particularly in projects related to biomass conversions (chemo-catalytic), catalytic oxidations, hydroformylation, hydrogenolysis, ozonolysis, electrocatalytic reduction, and solid acid catalysis. or chemistry of biomass or agricultural products
  2. Experience in mentoring other researchers (typically at the undergraduate or masters level)
  3. Novel research proposal development, presentation and execution, including evaluating and summarizing the state-of-the-art in a particular area.

Candidates will be evaluated on the candidate’s research experience and communication skills, as evidenced by (i) a resume and cover letter, (ii) prior research publications and/or patent applications, (iii) references, and (iv) interview by videoconference.

NOTE: To be appointed at the Postdoctoral Researcher title, it is necessary to have the PhD in hand. Appointments made without a diploma or certified transcript indicating an earned doctorate are conditional hires and are appointed on an interim basis.

KU is an EO/AAE.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, national origin, disability, genetic information or protected Veteran status.


The Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis (CEBC) is a Designated Center by the University of Kansas Center for Research (KUCR). As part of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centers Program, CEBC’s mission is to develop environmentally friendly chemical processes for industrial use. The person recruited for this position will work with participating CEBC faculty members at KU, the University of Iowa, Washington University in St. Louis, and Prairie View A&M University to plan and implement education, outreach, and diversity enhancement activities. The ideal candidate for this position will be a self-starter, able to initiate new projects with little or no supervision.
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