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Open position: ESR 5 – Electrodeposition of SmCo alloys from ionic liquids

Applications are invited for the one PhD position (“Early Stage Researcher”) to be funded by the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network “DEMETER – European Training Network for the Design and Recycling of Rare-Earth Permanent Magnet Motors and Generators in Hybrid and Full Electric Vehicles” within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission. DEMETER is a consortium of high profile universities, research institutions and companies located in Belgium, UK, Denmark, France and Slovenia.

Application for this ESR through bilateral contact with the involved Supervisors (see email link).

ESR 5: Electrodeposition of SmCo alloys from ionic liquids

Objectives: To electrodeposit SmCo alloys with different Sm/Co ratios from ionic liquids and to characterise the SmCo alloys. Insight in the electrochemical properties of samarium and cobalt salts in ionic liquids; well characterised SmCo alloys coatings; magnetic properties of the coatings; new samarium and cobalt precursor salts for electrodeposition of SmCo alloys from ionic liquids

Host: KU Leuven (Belgium)

Supervisor: Prof. Jan Fransaer (KU Leuven:

Duration*: 36 months

Career Stage: Early Stage Researcher (ESR) or 0-4 yrs (Post Graduate)
Benefits and salary: The MSCA programme offers a highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. Benefits include mobility allowance, career development allowance and a travel allowance. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment [Living Allowance = 37.320 euro/year (correction factor to be applied per country) + Monthly mobility allowance = 600 to 1100 euro depending on the family situation]. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences.

Applicants need to fully respect three eligibility criteria:
Early-stage researchers (ESR) are those who are, at the time of recruitment by the host, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers. This is measured from the date when they obtained the degree which formally entitles them to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate was envisaged.
Conditions of international mobility of researchers: Researchers are required to undertake trans-national mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up the appointment. At the time of selection by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.
English language: Network fellows (ESRs) must demonstrate that their ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English is sufficiently high for them to derive the full benefit from the network training. See for instance:

Public Abstract DEMETER: Hybrid and Full Electric Vehicles ((H)EVs) are essential for the transition towards sustainable e-mobility. The permanent magnets in motors/generators of (H)EVs are either NdFeB or SmCo magnets, which contain large quantities of rare earths, which are critical metals with the highest supply risk for Europe. As highlighted by the European Rare Earths Competency Network, recycling of rare-earth magnets from (H)EVs should receive top priority. Reclaiming of rare-earth magnet motors/generators used in (H)EVs is a major challenge because the magnets are difficult to remove from the assemblies. The conventional hydrometallurgical routes for the recovery of rare earths from End-of-Life permanent magnets have a high environmental impact due to inefficient use of chemicals, whereas the conventional pyrometallurgical routes for the production of magnet master alloys are energy-inefficient. DEMETER, the European Training Network for the Design and Recycling of Rare-Earth Permanent Magnet Motors and Generators in Hybrid and Full Electric Vehicles, concurrently develops (1) innovative, environmentally-friendly direct and indirect recycling strategies for the permanent magnets in the motors and generators of (H)EVs that are currently already on the market and (2) Design-for-Reuse solutions for motors and generators in the (H)EVs of the future. An intersectoral and interdisciplinary consortium of leading EU universities, research institutes and manufacturers from the automotive and magnet sector trains 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs). The research challenges include the development of hydrogen-based grain-refinement technologies to produce nanograin magnets directly from scrap magnets, the recovery of rare earths from SmCo and NdFeB magnets of motors/generators by ionometallurgical methods, and the design of motors/generators with reusable magnets, where the designs are based on 2D and 3D flux paths as well as non-traditional materials.

Beneficiaries: KU Leuven, Jozef Stefan Institute, University of Birmingham, Aalborg University, Grenoble INP, Magneti Ljubljana, Valeo Electrical Systems

Partner Organisations: Less Common Metals, Granta Design, ENSICAEN, CRF (Centro Ricerche FIAT)

General contact persons at KU Leuven

Prof. Koen Binnemans

Department of Chemistry, KU Leuven

Celestijnenlaan 200f – bus 2404, B-3001 Leuven

tel. +32 16 32 74 46




Dr. Ir. Peter Tom Jones

Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (MTM), KU Leuven

Kasteelpark Arenberg 44 – bus 02450, B-3001 Leuven