“Rationally designed C-H functionalization” 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.

The project will be highly collaborative and aim to study fundamentally new C-H functionalization concepts. The work will be mainly related to computational chemistry (DFT, ML…), although some experimental work will be possible if the candidate is interested.

Relevant skills that will be considered are:

  • Interest in catalysis.
  • Existing knowledge and experience in computational chemistry is required.
  • Practical experience in analytical methods (NMR, MS, HPLC) will be considered but 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.