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Job posted by Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) (19/06/2013 17.21)

Marie Curie Actions funded job vacancy 'HR Excellence in Research' logo awarded to institutions actively implementing the European Charter and Code for Researchers (ER1) Synthesis of water-soluble thickening solutions and supramolecular thermoplastics

Supramolecular polymeric assemblies represent an emerging, promising class of systems with superior versatility compared to their covalent polymeric counterparts. They offer exciting new opportunities for stimuli-responsive structures exhibiting reversible tunable properties, with applications in foodstuff, coatings, cost-efficient processes or biomedical areas. To explore their potential and define strategies for designing novel materials amenable to contemporary needs, a fundamental understanding of their very complex and diverse multiscale supramolecular structure and dynamics is needed. The objective of SUPOLEN is to understand and tailor the structure and dynamics of supramolecular polymers based on well-defined building blocks.

SUPOLEN will provide young researchers with a unique background in materials synthesis, characterisation and modelling, in the important interdisciplinary field of supramolecular assembly.


Within SUPOLEN, there is an 18 month Post-doctoral research position in the group of Dr. Franck Touraud, at Rhodia Operations (Solvay) in France.
The candidate will start two projects based on supramolecular moieties to build
(i) thickening systems in aqueous solution in Solvay’s Research & Innovation Centre in Aubervilliers (suburb of Paris) for the first six months, and
(ii) supramolecular thermoplastics for bulk applications in Solvay’s Research & Innovation Centre in Lyon, for the following twelve months.
The technology for supramolecular associations will be based on metal-ligand interactions. Supramolecular associations based on hydrogen bonding might also be studied. Various polymers will be considered depending on the application: polycondensates, systems from MADIX technology, bio sourced or natural polymers (polysaccharide).
Specific attention will be paid to their industrial viability, including both performances issues and other factors like easy access to the supramolecular intermediates, their toxicity, their compatibility with other formulation ingredients, or their compliance with industrial production processes. For example, in water thickening applications benign metallic ions will be preferred in metal ligand interactions systems, such as Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and Titanium. The systems will also have to withstand typical formulation ingredients like surfactants, acids or bases.
The developed supramolecular technologies will be investigated for specific response to external stimuli such as temperature or pH. For bulk applications of supramolecular thermoplastics, thermal, mechanical and rheological properties will bring precious information on the compromise between applicative properties and processability.
For this project, a solid background in organic chemistry is required. At any time, the candidate will have the support from Solvay’s research teams on polymer chemistry, and from the Supolen network on physico-chemical characterizations. The main role of the ER will be to define and develop the supramolecular moieties, integrate them in the considered polymers for each respective application, and organize and achieve the investigations of their properties.
For general or administrative enquiries relating to SUPOLEN, contact Nicky Thrupp.
For more information about the project, please contact the supervisor. To apply for this position, please send a CV, a cover letter, and the names of two referees to the supervisor. This position will start around end of year 2014 or early 2015.

Nr of positions available : 1

Research Fields

Chemistry - Organic chemistry

Career Stage

Experienced researcher or 4-10 yrs (Post-Doc)

Research Profiles

Recognised Researcher (R2)


A competitive salary according to Marie Curie regulations. Extensive training in specific scientific competencies and transferable skills.

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Required Education Level
Degree Field Chemistry
Degree Field Chemistry
Additional Requirements
Must meet Marie Curie eligibility criteria.
Required Education Level
Degree Master Degree or equivalent
Degree Master Degree or equivalent
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Rhodia Operations / Solvay

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EU Research Framework Programme
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FP7/People - Marie Curie Actions

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Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)

Administration de la Recherche
Place de l'Université, 1
- Louvain-la-Neuve
email nicola.thrupp@uclouvain.be