PhD position, Rennes University, France

Location:  Rennes University, France


Title: Use of the electrokinetic leakage phenomenon as a tool for advanced characterization of membrane materials

Keywords: Membranes, polymers, surface characterization, zeta potential, electrokinetic phenomena

Membrane separation processes are recognized worldwide as unavoidable alternatives to conventional energy-intensive separation techniques such as distillation or evaporation. Membrane separations are indeed capable of responding to many of the problems of our modern societies in a process intensification logic, i.e. by reducing the use of raw materials, energy consumption, the size of equipment and the generation of waste.
Whatever their chemical nature (polymers or ceramics), the synthetic membranes used in liquid phase separation processes have a surface charge density resulting from the ionization of surface functional groups and/or adsorption phenomena. It is clearly established that this surface charge density has a direct impact on the capacity of the membrane material to reject charged species in solution (ions, natural organic matter, etc.) as well as on the propensity of the material to fouling (accumulation of matter on the membrane surface and in the pores leading to a reduction in the amount of liquid treated per unit of time) or on its chemical resistance to certain oxidants (e.g.: ozone).
The charge density of a membrane material can be estimated from the measurement of electrokinetic quantities such as streaming potential or streaming current. These techniques make it possible to determine, via an appropriate solid/liquid interface model, the zeta potential of the material, which is a marker of the intensity of electrostatic interactions between the membrane surface and the surrounding medium. The value of electrokinetic techniques has been demonstrated in a wide range of applications from surface functionalization to the study of membrane chemical resistance and degradation. Since the late 2000s, the measurement of tangential streaming current has attracted increasing interest in characterizing the surface properties of membrane materials. However, a parasitic phenomenon, called electrokinetic leakage, has been highlighted in the case of macro/mesoporous materials. It corresponds to a leakage current passing through the porosity of the material and likely to bias the interpretation of experimental measurements. Recent work has led to the development of experimental protocols that make it possible to correct electrokinetic measurements flawed by this parasitic signal, or even to be free of it directly.
This thesis aims at understanding the phenomenon of electrokinetic leakage from another point of view by taking advantage of this parasitic signal to extract the information it contains. Indeed, the electrokinetic leakage crossing the porosity of the material (partially or totally), the variation of its intensity reveals a modification of the solid/liquid interface in the pores of the material. The objective of the thesis will therefore be to explore the potential applications of this phenomenon in the field of membrane science by attempting to apply it to the early detection of internal fouling (target applications: microfiltration and ultrafiltration) and surface wetting in
membrane contactors (target application: membrane distillation). This will require the synthesis of a set of membranes with different properties of charge density, hydrophilicity, porosity and pore size. These membranes will be developed by phase inversion (induced by non-solvent or by evaporation) from various polymers (polyacrylonitrile, polyethersulfone, polyimide, polyvinylidene fluoride, etc.).
This thesis, by the perspectives it will open, should represent an important milestone in the field of characterization of electrical surface properties of porous materials and more particularly of synthetic membranes. It will also provide the necessary proof of concept for the future development of in-line electrokinetic sensors.

Required qualifications
✓ 5 years of higher education (engineering school and/or Master’s degree) in physical chemistry, materials chemistry or process engineering
✓ Motivation for research
✓ Good English skills (minimum level B2)
✓ Ability to present results (orally and in writing)

Applications may be submitted until 14 June 2022 to the following address:

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Postdoctoral fellowship - 1, UMEA University, Sweden

Location: Sweden, Umeå University

Position: 2-years contract

Postdoctoral fellowship (2 years) within the developing membrane for gas separation

The Department of chemistry is offering a postdoctoral scholarship within the project of developing membrane for gas separation. The project includes the synthesizing polymer, fabricating membrane, and testing the prepared membrane for separation of gas molecules. The fellowship is full-time for two years with access from 1 September, 2022 or by agreement. Last day to apply is May 31th 2022.

Project description
Our research group is focused on the design and synthesis of artificial membranes for gas separation, energy sector, and resource recovery. Currently, we focus on designing and synthesizing new materials for gas separation membranes. The project is interdisciplinary, and you will have the opportunity to plan and develop routes to fabricate membranes for gas separation. The research involves the design, and synthesis polymer, fabricating membranes (Thermally Rearranged polymeric membranes or Carbon Molecular Sieve membranes), characterizing the membrane, and applying the prepared membrane for separating gas molecules.

More information:

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Postdoctoral fellowship - 2, UMEA University, Sweden

Location: Sweden, Umeå University

Position: 2-years contract

Postdoctoral fellowship (2 years) within computational fluid dynamic for the modelling of gas separation in membrane modules.

The Department of Chemistry is offering a postdoctoral scholarship within the project of simulating gas separation membrane modules by using computational fluid dynamic method. The fellowship is full-time for two years with access from 1st of September 2022 or by agreement. Last day to apply is 31th of May 2022.

Project description
Our research group is focused on the design and synthesis of artificial membranes for gas separation, energy sector, and resource recovery. Currently, we focus on designing and synthesizing membranes for gas separation. The project is interdisciplinary, and you will have the opportunity to plan and develop routes to simulate membrane modules performance by using computational fluid dynamic.


More information:

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2022 P.V. Danckwerts Memorial Lecture - EFCE

Dear EFCE Member Society representatives,

We are pleased to invite you to submit a nomination for the 2022 P.V. Danckwerts Memorial Lecture.

The P.V. Danckwerts Memorial Lecture (the “Lecture”) was established by Chemical Engineering Science, in affiliation with the IChemE, in 1985 to honor Prof. Peter V. Danckwerts as a leading scholar in the field of chemical engineering and for his contributions as an Executive Editor of Chemical Engineering Science, the second Shell Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge, and a past president of IChemE. The field of the Lecture will be appropriate to the aims and scope of Chemical Engineering Science (see
The Co-Sponsors of the Lecture are Elsevier, the Institution of Chemical Engineers (“IChemE”), the European Federation of Chemical Engineering (“EFCE”), and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (“AIChE”).
For the list of previous Award winners, see:

The next lecture will be this year at the 2022 AIChE Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, USA on 13-18 November 2022 (, while next year it will be on occasion of the 14th European Congress of Chemical Engineering (“ECCE”) in Berlin in 2023.

Any individual is eligible for nomination, noting the requirement that the Lecture is appropriate to the Aims and Scope of Chemical Engineering Science, as long as the Lecturer candidate does not reside in that year’s host region (i.e., the AIChE Annual Meeting will not have a Lecturer from the Americas and the ECCE will not have a Lecturer from Europe).

Selection Process
Selection of the Danckwerts Lecturer is decided by a selection committee that comprises: the current Editor-in-Chief of the Journal (Chair); the current Shell Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge; the President or an appointed representative from AIChE, IChemE and EFCE; and a selected representative from Asia who is a member of both the Journal’s International Advisory Board and IChemE and/or AIChE.

Nomination Procedure
The procedure is the following:
• Each Institution, including EFCE, will call for Nominations
• Nominations would be via brief answers to questions as provided below and provision of a simple curriculum vitae and links to relevant websites if appropriate
• Each Institution will prioritise up to 10 nominations (max number) to be forwarded to the Chair of the Selection Panel
• The Selection Panel would first meet to consider all nominations in accordance with an agreed procedure to select the final Lecturer
• Nominations received would remain active for two further years

Selection Questions and Criteria
If you wish to nominate a European (non-American) candidate for the 2022 P.V. Danckwerts Memorial Lecture, please provide the following information via the online submission form:
• Details of the nominee (name, contact details, qualifications, previous awards, etc);
• Summarize why the Nominee merits the award (1000 characters max);
• Summary of the Nominee’s excellence in Chemical Engineering (1000 characters max);
• Summary of the Nominee’s international impact in Chemical Engineering (1000 characters max).
• Please rate the ability of the Nominee to present an engaging lecture to a generalist chemical engineering audience (High, Average, Low) and list recent engaging lectures given (maximum of three events).
The submission form is available at:

Deadline for nominations: 30 April 2022

We look forward to receiving your nomination.

Best regards,

Giorgio Veronesi
EFCE President

UniR_Hosting Programme for Ukrainian Refugees

The institutions of the UniR consortium – the EHESP, ENSCR, ENS Rennes, INSA Rennes, Sciences Po Rennes, University of Rennes 1 and Rennes 2 University – have committed funds to a special programme for the hosting of Ukrainian refugees in Rennes. This large-scale assistance programme extends the tradition of welcoming students and staff who are refugees or in exile.

More information: UniR_Hosting-Programme-for-Ukrainian-Refugees.pdf


Chemical Engineer / Senior Chemical Engineer, Exactmer London, England, United Kingdom

Location: Exactmer  London, England, United Kingdom

Position: one-year contract, beginning July 2022

Exactmer is a start-up dedicated to producing precision polymeric molecules with our patented Nanostar Sieving Technology. Using this disruptive new platform, we are creating exquisite synthetic and biological polymers, including oligonucleotides, mono-disperse polyethylene glycols (PEGs), ADC linkers, peptides and more… most of them bound for use in medicines that enhance patient quality of life.

London-based, we are in a rapid phase of growth, and will begin an exciting new research project in July 2022. We are seeking an outstanding chemical engineer to work on this project, creating long-term value for the business through developing our Nanostar Synthesiser technology. We are searching for a self-starting, dynamic, and committed individual to join the team on a one-year contract, beginning July 2022, with the possibility of extension at the end of this period.

You will deal with designing, building and operating nanostar synthesisers, from lab scale through pilot scale, including developing new membranes for separation, synthesiser equipment design and procurement, synthesiser automation and control, and operating of lab and pilot plant units. Excellent record-keeping and adherence to safety codes and protocols are essential. Overall, you need to be flexible and ready to grow your skills and experience as the company grows and our technology evolves.

Candidates should have a chemical engineering PhD or related qualification with substantial experimental experience, and a desire to learn fast and tackle many different aspects of creating a new technology and new products. Experience would be a bonus and we are open to candidates at different career stages. We offer an attractive renumeration package.

To find out more, contact Dr. Zhiwei Jiang; To apply, send Zhiwei your 2-page CV and a letter covering your background and interest in this role. The closing date for applications is the April 15th, 2022.

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Help with Ukraine

ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, reacts with shock and deep regret to the military attacks by the Russian Government against Ukraine. You can read the full statement by the ALLEA Presidency in support of Ukraine, its citizens and academic institutions here. The ALLEA Board released a second statement announcing the suspension of membership of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.

The European scientific community is mobilising fast to support Ukrainan students and researchers who have been forced to flee their country due to the Russian Government’s millitary invasion. The platform #ScienceForUkraine is centralising information on support provided by the global research community to Ukraine researchers and students.

In addition to this initiative, ALLEA Member Academies and other academic institutions for Ukrainian scholars at risk have compiled a list of resources for several support programs for Ukrainian researchers, which are available on European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities (ALLEA) website


If you wish to submit additional entries to this list, please send all relevant information to This list is regularly updated.

Solidarity with Ukraine

PAUSE program opens a special call for emergency assistance to Ukrainian researchers in danger, through an emergency fund granted by the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.

An emergency financial aid to finance the stay of a Ukrainian researcher, and his/her family if applicable, for a period of three months is proposed to voluntary French institutions. The amount of the financial aid will be a lump sum based on the number of people in the family unit (single person, couple, family).

This emergency hosting in France may allow the researcher to prepare, in connection with a host institution, an application to the PAUSE program according to the regular procedures and criteria of the program, based on co- funding.

More information:


Students/Researchers/Scholar from UKRAINE – Call for expressions of interest to get an academic opportunity in Portugal

The Global Platform for Higher Education in Emergencies is a NGO based in Portugal. It is aimed at offering academic opportunities for students from conflict-affected societies, in forced mobility or at risk.

The Global Platform is now working in close cooperation with higher education institutions, networks of laboratories and research centers in Portugal to offer academic opportunities to students/researchers and scholars from Ukraine who are fleeing the war and look for a safe haven and a welcoming environment to go ahead through these very challenging times.

Further information here.

Together we can make it happen!

“Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

R&D membrane separation processes - liquid streams - VITO, Mol, Belgium

Location: VITO, Mol, Belgium

Position: 2-year contract, potentially extendable to a permanent position.

Job description
As a Flemish, internationally recognized research centre, VITO aims to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. The MESCH team at VITO develops industrially viable membrane processes for the intensification of chemical processes in industry.

Our approach allows companies to de-risk their developments by demonstration of relevant and economically viable membrane-based separation processes.

Membranes and membrane processes are of great value in the transition towards a more sustainable chemical industry, because of their broad application area, their low energy consumption, and their usefulness in continuous chemical processes at every scale.

To strengthen our team of researchers and technicians (now about 20 people) we are looking for a new colleague for the execution of bilateral industrial projects on membrane based liquid separations.

For this we opened a research position for a chemical engineer specialised in membrane separation processes for liquid streams.

It’s about a 2-year contract, potentially extendable to a permanent position.

This is our plan for you:

Together with our team, you will support the execution and follow-up of industrial projects on membrane based separation processes for the chemical industry.
Based on the basic workplans, you will plan, execute, supervise and coordinate membrane tests, by designing experiments, execute these together with our technicians and do the analysis of the various test results. Reporting of the results to customers is a part of the job as well.

Job requirements
To be suitable for this job, we think you will need:

  • a PhD in organic chemistry or in chemical oriented engineering
  • a track record in and applied knowledge of membrane separation processes of liquid streams
    enthusiasm about both experimental lab work as well about processing of data and reporting
    team player skills
  • a good eye for quality, deadlines
    a customer oriented mind-set
    a strong interest in cooperation with other partners (industry, SME’s, institutes, universities)
  • a good knowledge of English, both written and spoken
  • to be willing to travel abroad on occasion



If you’re tired of the frequent commute, you’ve come to the right place. We work ‘activity based’, our activities bring us to our location. Part-time work remote from home, our headquarter in Mol, or working from a satellite office in Antwerp-Berchem, Genk, Ghent or Ostend is possible.

A competitive salary with a range of benefits including allowances, insurances, and a modular vacation package
A team of nice colleagues, experts in their fields, who will guide, support and interact with you
Access to state-of-art equipment for membrane processes
Interesting opportunities to interact with partners in industry and academia
Innovation is our asset, so it goes without saying that we offer our employees the opportunity to follow additional training courses and stay up to date in their field of expertise.
You will be part of an organization with an international reputation, known for its advanced technological research and scientific consultancy.



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