PhD project at RWTH Aachen University

PhD Project Title: Rationally designed C-H functionalization.

Principal Investigator: Prof. Franziska Schoenebeck; Associate Investigator: Dr. Ignacio Funes-Ardoiz

PhD Project description: The Schoenebeck group has a passion to explore and develop fundamentally new reactivity concepts with the aim to overcome pertinent challenges in synthesis and catalysis with respect to selectivity, scope and the installation of enabling functionality. To this end, our team combines detailed mechanistic studies with a cutting edge synthetic chemistry program. Recent research highlights include the demonstration of dinuclear Pd(I) catalysis concept,[i] nickel metalloradical catalysis,[ii] the establishment of organogermanes as orthogonal coupling motifs[iii] as well as organofluorine chemistry.[iv] We employ state-of-the-art computational chemistry, which range from studying the molecular origins of reactivities to machine-learning-guided chemistry, as well as laboratory based experimentation. Co-workers are trained to master a number of tools while tackling challenges at the forefront of organic chemistry research, and being exposed to a stimulating research environment.

Description of the work: We invite applications for a PhD position, as an early stage researcher (ESR3) within the International Training Network on C-H functionalization. The project will be highly collaborative and aims to study fundamentally new C-H functionalization concepts, including synthetic work as well as computational studies (DFT and ML).

Relevant skills that will be considered are:

  • Interest in catalysis.
  • Strong interest in computational chemistry.
  • Practical experience in analytical methods (NMR, MS, HPLC) will be considered but it is not required.
  • Good level of English proficiency (understanding, spoken and written)
  • Skills in scientific writing (reports, papers, etc.)
  • Team spirit and collaborative predisposition


Planned secondments:  periods of international stays in industry and academia.


[i] For recent examples, see: (a) I. Kalvet, K. Deckers, I. Funes-Ardoiz, G. Magnin, T. Sperger, M. Kremer, F. Schoenebeck, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 202059, 7721; (b) M. Mendel, I. Kalvet, D. Hupperich, G. Magnin, F. Schoenebeck, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 202059, 2115.

[ii] A. Kapat, T. Sperger, S. Guven, F. Schoenebeck, Science 2019, 363, 391

[iii] For recent examples, see: (a) A. Dahiya, C. Fricke, F. Schoenebeck, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020142, 17, 7754; (b) G. J. Sherborne, A. G. Gevondian, I. Funes-Ardoiz, A. Dahiya, C. Fricke, F. Schoenebeck, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed 2020, DOI: 10.1002/anie.202005066

[iv] For recent examples, see: (a) S. Bouayad-Gervais, T. Scattolin, F. Schoenebeck, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed 2020, 59, 11908; (b) T. Scattolin, S. Bouayad-Gervais, F. Schoenebeck, Nature 2019573, 102.