PhD on the Physics of Organic Thermoelectrics in EU Training Network HORATES


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

MSCA ITN Horates Grant Agreement n. 955837

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, City of Talent. Quality has been our top priority for over four hundred years, and with success: the University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is the largest faculty within the University. We offer first-rate education and research in a wide range of science and engineering disciplines, from classical disciplines such as mathematics, astronomy and mechanical engineering, to interdisciplinary fields such as artificial intelligence, pharmacy and nanoscience. Our community has an open and informal character with students and staff from around the world.
The position we offer will be embedded in the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials. The research group Photophysics and OptoElectronics is part of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials in the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the University of Groningen. The group's main research interests lie in the use of novel semiconducting materials for optoelectronic applications and devices. The group provides a lively, internationally oriented scientific environment with excellent facilities.

Job description

The European Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network HORATES brings together 8 academic institutions, including universities and research centres, and 5 companies, from 6 EU countries. The network is supported by 5 more partners, including 2 companies. The mission of the HORATES network is to use the large expertise on all aspects of hybrid and organic thermoelectrics that is available in the EU for (a) the strategic training of excellent young researchers in an emerging, interdisciplinary field and (b) the rational development of prototype energy harvesters, inspired by actual market demand.

This will happen by giving 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) exposure to a wide spectrum of expertise. In HORATES, we fuse the synthetic organic expertise with the expertise in processing and characterization to provide stable, high-performance materials and recipes for upscaling and device fabrication. Constant interaction at all stages with theory and multiscale modelling will guide the process. Crucial for the success of the Programme is a multidisciplinary and inter-sectorial network, which will allow the ESR to genuinely discover and/or feed her/his attitude while having an impact on a relevant scientific and technological field. HORATES also has the mission of disseminating its scientific and technological achievements to a broad audience (scientific community, stakeholders, general public etc.).

The HORATES network is composed by: Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (DE), Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IT), Chalmers Tekniska Högskola AB (SE), Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigationes Cientificas (ES), Linköpings Universitet (SE), Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (NL), Technische Universität Chemnitz (DE), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (FR), University of Strasbourg (FR), Eurecat Centre Tecnològic (ES), Innovation Lab (DE) and Hot Disk AB (SE).

During the programme, exchange between private sector and academia is promoted by at least one secondment per ESR with the industrial partners and beneficiaries.

We are looking for 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to be appointed at the host organisations within HORATES.
The University of Groningen offers 1 Fellowship on “Electrical characterization and modelling of organic thermoelectric materials and devices”.

The ESR will be primarily operating at the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, in the Photophysics and Optoelectronics group under the supervision of Prof. Jan Anton Koster. The ESR will work on the electrical characterization and numerical simulation of organic thermoelectric materials and devices. The modelling involves a multiphysics approach to optimize the design of thermoelectric generators based on organic semiconductors. The experimental part involves measuring the thermoelectric properties (electrical conductivity, Seebeck coefficient) and density-of-states of materials supplied by our collaborators.

Project title: Electrical characterization and modelling of organic thermoelectric materials and devices
Waste heat is a ubiquitous source of low-quality energy that is yet to be harvested and transformed into high-quality energy in the form of electricity. Low-cost and highly scalable thermoelectric generators (TEGs) based on organic materials and hybrid composites have the huge potential to achieve this. Triggered by actual market demand for printable TEGs, we seek a PhD student in the emerging interdisciplinary field of organic thermoelectrics.
Organic thermoelectric materials have recently attracted considerable attention. They are flexible, low-cost, abundant, and can be processed via low-cost techniques. Hybrid organic/inorganic thermoelectrics can combine the high Seebeck coefficient of the inorganic compound with the low thermal conductivity of organic materials. However, in order to obtain competitive ZT-values, more research is needed.

We are looking for a PhD candidate to work on the electrical characterization and numerical simulation of organic thermoelectric materials and devices. This position is part of a large European project and the successful candidate is expected to communicate and collaborate effectively with other researchers with a wide range in backgrounds. Within this disciplinary project, a number of secondments are planned to further train the PhD student in specific skills. We are looking for someone with a physics background who can do experiments but is also willing and able to do some numerical modelling.

The modelling involves a multiphysics approach to optimize the design of thermoelectric generators based on organic semiconductors. The experimental part involves measuring the thermoelectric properties (electrical conductivity, Seebeck coefficient) and density-of-states of materials supplied by our collaborators.

Start date: between 1st of March and 1st of September 2021


- university degree in Physics, Chemistry or Material Science or related Engineering disciplines
- the applicant cannot hold a PhD degree obtained before the enrolling in the HORATES programme
- fluency in spoken and written English.

You are expected to:

- hold a (research) master degree (or will graduate before appointment date) in physics or a similar, related field
- ideally have experience in the field organic semiconductors
- be a team player, willing to work with a diverse group of researchers and technicians, and can also work independently
- have strong communication skills and are motivated to disseminate results to both scientific peers and a broad audience
- be proficient in the English language (oral and written) e.g. with a minimum IELTS score of 7.0 overall and 6.5 on parts
- be strongly motivated to obtain a PhD degree.

Technical skills: An MSc degree in physics, material science or engineering (or equivalent) is essential. A background in thermoelectrics and/or demonstrable affinity with computer simulations would be an advantage.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 18 months.

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary of € 2,395 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,061 gross per month in the fourth and final year for a full-time working week
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% year-end bonus
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE) for four years; first, you will get a temporary position of twelve months with the option of renewal for another thirty six months; prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress to indicate that successful completion of the PhD thesis within the contract period is to be expected. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and you will be enrolled in the Graduate School of the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

The conditions of employment are available at the University of Groningen website under Human Resources:

Starting date from 1 March 2021.

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme offers highly competitive and attractive salaries. Gross and net amounts are subject to country-specific deductions as well as individual factors such as family allowance.


• The applicant shall, at the time of recruitment, be in the first four years of his/her research career and have not been awarded a doctoral degree (this time is measured from the date of award/diploma of the most recent taught degree)
• The applicant must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host institute for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account
• The applicant can be of any nationality.

Job Application

Do you want to become a member of our team? Please send your application to us, by submitting the following documents:

1. Letter of application (Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, Ref. number). 1-3 pages where you:
- introduce yourself
- describe your previous experience of relevance for the position (e.g.
- education, thesis work and, if applicable, any other research
- activities)
- describe your future goals and future research focus
- copies of bachelor and/or master’s thesis.
- attested copies and transcripts of completed education, grades and other certificates, eg. TOEFL test results.
2. Curriculum vitae (Please name the document: CV, Family name, Ref. number)

3. Copy of the latest degree/qualification
4. Two letters of recommendation.

You can submit your application until 31 January 11:59pm 2020 / before 1 February 2021 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Please note that the data that you provide will be used exclusively for the purpose of professional profiles’ evaluation and selection, and in order to meet the requirements of the University of Groningen.

Your data will be processed by the University of Groningen, based in Groningen, Broerstraat 5, acting as Data Controller, in compliance with the rules on protection of personal data, including those related to data security.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Prof. L.J.A. Koster

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 220420

Digital application form