PhD Project at the University of Amsterdam

PhD Project Title: Continuous-flow C(sp3)–H activation of aliphatic moieties using photo- or electrochemical activation.

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Timothy Noel,,


PhD Project description: Direct C–H activation has emerged as a promising new strategy to establish the coupling of two carbon fragments. The formation of such carbon-carbon bonds are of great importance for the development of pharmaceuticals and other biologically active molecules. While most of the current methods involve the use of liquid phase or soluble reagents, gaseous building blocks are often overlooked due to the apparent complexity of the required setup. The Noel Research Group aims to expand chemical space by selecting those starting materials which are often overlooked. To handle such challenging reaction conditions, our group uses flow technology which provides excellent mass and heat transfer allowing to accelerate many chemical reactions. As such, unique C–H activation protocols have been developed which allow the activation of volatile alkanes[1] or the use of oxygen[2] and volatile olefins as coupling partners.[3]

Description of the work: The ESR will develop new synthetic methods which enable C–H activation and engages gaseous reagents or starting materials.[4] The candidate will learn to work with flow reactors and the newest technologies available on the market.

Relevant skills that will be considered are:

  • Strong theoretical background and practical skills in organic synthesis and catalysis
  • Strong interest in new technology and drive for its implementation
  • Practical experience in analytical methods (NMR, MS, HPLC)
  • Excellent level of English (communication and reading)
  • Strong skills in scientific writing (reports, papers, etc.)
  • Team-player and high intrinsic motivation.

Planned secondments: to be decided.


[1] Science 2020, 369 (6499), 92-96.
[2] Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2018, 57 (15), 4078-4082.
[3] Chemistry – A European Journal 2018, 24(53), 14079-14083.
[4] Journal of Flow Chemistry 2020, 10, 13-71.

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