Deadline: 2015-03-27
Value of Scholarship: €2,717
Level Of Study: PhD

2 PhD positions in Theoretical Chemistry

VU University Amsterdam is one of the leading institutions for higher education in Europe and aims to be inspiring, innovative, and committed to societal welfare. It comprises twelve faculties and has teaching facilities for 25.000 students.
Research at the Faculty of Sciences focuses on the areas of Life & Health, Networked World, Fundamentals of Science, and Energy & Sustainability. The facultys teaching activities are directly linked to this excellent research. Cooperation with other faculties on the VU University Amsterdam campus generates attractive, high-quality Bachelors and Masters programmes.
At international level, the faculty cooperates closely with leading scientific institutes and other partners.
In the context of the VU University Amsterdam management programme, the faculty is cooperating closely with the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences to optimize the support of teaching and research. During the upcoming period, the faculty, together with the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, will be facing the challenge of how to further flesh out cooperation between VU University Amsterdams science faculties and those of the University of Amsterdam.

Project description
The vibrational optical activity of chiral molecules provides an unique signature that can be used to determine the absolute conformation of a molecule. This is important as in many cases the precise chirality of molecules determines their chemical and biological activity. The current combination of experimental and computational techniques is so far only applicable to relatively small molecules and under nonresonant conditions. In this project methods will be developed that are able to treat larger molecules and methods that can be applied for Resonance Enhanced Vibrational Circular Dichroism (RE-VCD). This will be done in a consortium together with the Theoretical Chemistry group at the VU University Amsterdam, and the companies Scientific Computing & Modelling N.V. (The Netherlands) and BioTools, Inc. (USA).

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One PhD student will be appointed at the VU University and one PhD student at the University of Amsterdam.
The PhD student that will be appointed at the VU University (research group Visscher, VU) will develop and implement novel quantum chemical methods with a focus on efficient treatment of large and complex systems. This concerns a.o. use of subsystem and response techniques as developed in the Visscher group and by SCM. She/he will furthermore apply these methods in collaboration with the Buma group. The PhD student that will be appointed at the University of Amsterdam (research group Buma, UvA), will develop and implement analysis tools for Vibrational Absorption (VA) and Vibrational Circular Dichroism (VCD) spectra based on novel quantum chemical methods. Apart from these computational activities, you will also measure VA and VCD spectra of a wide range of compounds of commercial interest, and apply the newly developed methods to interpret these spectra.

As part of the project you will be seconded for a total of three months to SCM where you will apply the methods that you will have developed in a commercial setting.


M. Sc. in a relevant field (chemistry or physics); familiarity with quantum chemistry; proven software development skills; good communication skills in the English language.

Further particulars
The full-time appointment will be on a temporary base for a maximum period of four years (18 months plus a further 30 months after a positive evaluation) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis).
You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at like:
remuneration of  8,3% end-of-year bonus and  8% holiday allowance
contribution (65%) commuting allowance based on public transport;
discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance);
a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge.

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Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,125 in the first year to €2,717 in the final year, according to the Dutch salary scales for PhD students. The Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) of Dutch universities is applicable.

For further information, please contact:
Lucas Visscher
T: +31 (0)20 598 7624
personal website
For the appointment at the UvA University, please contact:
Wybren Jan Buma
T: +31 (0)20 525 6973
personal website

Applicants for the position at the VU are requested to write a letter in which they describe their abilities and motivation, accompanied by their curriculum vitae, copies of relevant research papers and two letters of recommendation. Applications should be sent (via email) before March 27, 2015 to:
Prof. dr. L. Visscher
Section Theoretical Chemistry
VU University Amsterdam
Please mention the vacancy number in the e-mail header.

Applications for the position at the UvA, see


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