PhD student (f/m/d) for catalyst and process development in CatLab

Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB)
Berlin (DE)
Payment is based on the collective agreement for the public service (TVöD-Bund, E13, 75%)
April 27 2021
Dr. Steffi Hlawenka
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Other Corporate

Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB) investigates and develops materials for a sustainable energy supply of the future. For this purpose, we operate the synchrotron facility BESSY II as well as several core labs for investigating materials. BESSY II attracts users from all over the world with its unique experimental facilities. With approx. 1,200 employees, HZB is today one of the largest non-university research centres in Berlin. More information:


…is the formula for our successful human resources policy. We offer wide-ranging internal and external qualification opportunities for our employees, including special support for junior scientists. Our family-friendly workplace policy includes flexible working hours and telework arrangements. HZB values diversity as driver for successful scientific collaborative work and promotes a supportive working atmosphere for people from all backgrounds.

PhD student (f/m/d) for catalyst and process development in CatLab (Diplom / M.Sc. in chemistry, process engineering or related sciences)

Reference number: GF 2021/10

  • Would you like to make a fundamental contribution to revolutionizing catalysis?
  • Are you enthusiastic about the intersection between chemistry, materials science, process engineering, and thin-film and nanotechnology?
  • Do you enjoy the development of new technologies and want to participate in the industrialization of green hydrogen?

The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) establishes the research platform for catalysis "CatLab“ jointly with the Fritz Haber Institute (FHI), the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (CEC) and in close cooperation with industry in Berlin’s technology park Adlershof.

This long-term development project forms the core of a new research focus at the HZB and aims to develop novel catalytic systems based on thin-film and nanotechnology for the generation, transport, and storage of green hydrogen.

CatLab will build a bridge between basic research and industry, and it is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

We are looking for a PhD student for the development and construction of an innovative catalytic reaction system together with BASF SE.

Your tasks:

  • You will work with colleagues from the fields of thin-film technology to produce catalyst materials, sometimes in small series, on the basis of thin layers, to characterize them using (in-situ) surface analysis methods such as XPS, AFM, REM & TEM, and to optimize them with regard to their catalytic activity.
  • In close cooperation with BASF SE in Ludwigshafen and the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin, you will accompany the construction and commissioning of a model reactor for the produced thin-film catalysts and optimize the process conditions.

Your ideal profile:

  • You have successfully completed your studies in chemistry, materials science, process engineering or a related subject or are about to do so.
  • Ideally, you already have acquired basic knowledge of thin film technology, especially thin film deposition (CVD, sputtering) and wet and dry chemical processes.
  • You do not take terms like REM, AFM, and TEM for band names.
  • You already have experience with heterogeneous catalysis and reaction kinetics.
  • You would like to apply your mechanical skills and technical understanding in the construction of a scientific measurement setup.
  • You can imagine staying with a collaborator outside of Berlin for several months.
  • Your language skills in German and English are at least at a B2 level.

Our offer:

  • You will be part of an international, multifaceted research organization that provides access to state-of-the-art research infrastructure and promotes networking and exchange within the Helmholtz Association and beyond.
  • You work in close collaboration with one of the oldest and most renowned research institutes within the Max Planck Society (FHI) and in cooperation with the largest chemical company in the world (BASF).
  • You are connected to the HZB Graduate School, the point of contact for all questions relating to a doctorate at the HZB, and are supported in your individual career planning.
  • The HZB supports a healthy work-life balance through flexible working hours, mobile working, and an internal advice center on questions of reconciliation of work and private life.
  • You will have the opportunity to take advantage of internal and external qualification offers.
  • The HZB offers a wide range of health management and corporate sport activities.

The employment contract is limited to 36 months. Payment is based on the collective agreement for the public service (TVöD-Bund, E13, 75%).

We particularly welcome applications from women. Preference will be given to disabled applicants provided equal suitability.


Dr. Steffi Hlawenka

+49 30 8062 - 41337