Martí-Franquès COFUND Fellowship Programme


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Supervisor name and surname:

Montserrat Diéguez Fernández

Supervisor email:

Supervisor short biography

Co-supervisor name and surname:

Oscar Pàmies Ollé

Co-supervisor email:

Co-supervisor institution:


Co-supervisor short biography

PhD programme:

Chemical Science and Technology

Title of the research project:

Sustainable development of tailor-made smart catalysts for industrial processes and energy

Description of the research project:

The overarching goal of our group focusses on catalyzed chemical processes. Particularly, the improvement of the catalyst stability and selectivity for existing processes and the development of catalysts for new processes. Improved catalysts are strategic for the circular economy, the achievement of sustainable industrial production and the generation of clean energy.

In this context, the project will focus on obtaining highly efficient catalytic processes (with high selectivity and activity, low energy consumption and low waste generation) to obtain chiral compounds of high added value (e.g., drugs), and processes that lead to the sustainable production of clean energy (water oxidation).

The main goal is to improve the current state-of-the-art in the design, synthesis and screening of catalysts (molecular and hybrid biocatalysts) very active and selective for asymmetric reactions of industrial interest and for water oxidation. Special emphasis will be given to puzzling processes including CO2 valorization transformations. The environmental impact of the processes will be minimized by replacing the toxic organic solvents with others of less environmental impact and by immobilization of molecular catalyst into mesoporous supports and the subsequent development of continuous flow methodologies. Another important line of research will focus on improving homogeneous catalysts able to oxidize water under neutral pH conditions and developing biohybrid anodes with the potential to be integrated in micro and nanofuel cells able to generate energy in vivo from water and/or NADH. All these goals will be achieved through the following strategies: a) the application of combinatorial techniques to speed up the catalyst discovery by means of a systematic evaluation of ligand libraries; b) synthesis of new hybrid metalloenzyme catalysts that combine the high selectivity of enzymes and transition metal catalysts while increasing the biocompatibility of the latter; and c) the study of the reaction intermediates and mechanisms that, together with the analysis of the catalytic results, will ensure the development of new and more effective catalysts. We will use NMR and IR techniques under catalytic conditions as well as theoretical modeling studies (DFT).
Ethics: This project does not involve ethical aspects.

Workplace location: Campus Sescelades, Tarragona

Gross anual salary:

27103.20 €


Full time

Working hours:

37.5 hours a week

Expected start date:

15 March 2021

European union This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 945413