1.7 million euros Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND grant for PhD training programme MCEC

Bert Weckhuysen (front right) and PhD-student Jochem Wijten (centre) during a recent working visit of members of parliament.

The Gravitation Programme Netherlands Center for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion (MCEC) has been awarded 1.7 million Euros to cover part of the costs for the participation of 16 ambitious new international students in its PhD training programme. The grant was awarded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND programme.

“Our research into sustainable energy conversion addresses one of society’s biggest challenges. We therefore believe it is important to invest in an innovative joint training programme for the next generation of researchers”, explains Professor Bert Weckhuysen, Scientific Director of MCEC. “It is gratifying to see that the EU recognises the value of the MCEC programme for the training of these young researchers.”

“Our training programme integrates the chemistry, physics and engineering aspects of energy conversion, both in academic and in industrial collaboration. This means students develop skills and competencies they need to operate effectively in multidisciplinary teams at an early stage of their careers. We expect this Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND will jump-start their contribution to the field”, Weckhuysen states.

Top three

A Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND grant from the European Research Council is designed to stimulate excellence in researchers' training, mobility and career development. The MCEC-proposal for a further development of its PhD training programme was ranked among the top three of a total of 48 proposals submitted.

Joint degree

The joint PhD programme includes a series of Summer Schools that focus on the multidisciplinary aspects of the research. Students also may opt to conduct research at two of the three participating universities. This enables them to expand their experience in the field, collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines and obtain a joint PhD degree from two participating universities. And last but not least, training in and contributing to outreach activities for the general public and pre-university students is part of the PhD programme as well, Weckhuysen emphasises.


In the Netherlands Center for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion (MCEC), chemists, physicists and engineers from Utrecht University, Eindhoven University of Technology and Twente University join forces to develop efficient processes for converting renewable feedstocks, such as non-edible biomass, municipal waste and solar energy, into fuels and chemical building blocks. At the conclusion of a positive evaluation, the Gravitation Programme was recently extended for another 5 years by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

More information

More information about the Netherlands Center for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion (MCEC).

For more (general) information about the Joint PhD Programme, please contact Emke Molnar.