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Early Stage Researcher Opportunities

University of Leeds

Single-Entity NanoElectrochemistry
Early Stage Researcher Opportunities
15 positions available

SENTINEL is a four-year Marie Skłodowska Curie European Training Network which began in January 2019 and will be co-ordinated by Dr Paolo Actis at the University of Leeds. Applications are invited for highly qualified and motivated researchers to work full time on projects under a three-year PhD program hosted across seven European countries. More information can be found at

What is SENTINEL about?

The SENTINEL program will tackle electrochemistry at the level of individual entities such nanoparticles (metal, semiconducting, soft matter), living cells at the nanoscale, as well as single redox-active (macro) molecules. The study of systems at this level is a hugely important emerging area of electrochemistry which is inter/multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral.

Electrochemistry is the enabling science to address key problems of major societal relevance, spanning from electrocatalysis, in the context of energy conversion (e.g. fuel cells and solar cells) and energy storage (battery and water splitting technologies), to the development of advanced analytical tools for environmental monitoring and point-of-care medical diagnostics. The aim of SENTINEL is to join leading teams from across Europe, with global partners in industry (SMEs and multinationals) and the academic sector in the USA and China so that together they can equip a next generation of scientists with the skills to help impact society with new technological developments in this critical area of science.

SENTINEL will complement its scientific training with innovative and world-class coaching techniques. For example, employing sport related concepts to empower the researchers with leadership skills, engaging them in the art of scientific illustration through a successful science-art business with over 800K likes on Facebook, and using a campaigning charity to equip them with the skills needed to make their voices heard in public debates about science. These training sessions will be supplemented by business leaders from the (electro) chemical community sharing lessons in product development, IP protection and project management.

SENTINEL is distinct, new and ambitious.

List of SENTINEL positions

ESR1: Investigation of Brain Cancer Evolution Enabled by Single-Cell Nanobiopsy
Host Organisation - University of Leeds (UK), Supervisor – Dr Paolo Actis

ESR2: Electrochemical Nanosensors to Monitor the Metabolic Activity of Organs-on-Chip
Host Organisation - University of Leeds (UK), Supervisor – Dr Paolo Actis

ESR3: Single-Nanoparticle Electrocatalysis
Host Organisation – Ruhr University Bochum (DE), Supervisor – Prof Wolfgang Schuhmann

ESR4: Nanoscale Electrocatalysis with Nano Impacts
Host Organisation – Ruhr University Bochum (DE), Supervisor – Prof Kristina Tschulik

ESR5: Nanoscale Electrocatalytic Activity at Individual Carbon Nanostructures
Host Organisation – CEA (FR), Supervisor – Dr Renaud Cornut

ESR6: GHz-AFM Spectroscopy of Electrochemical Processes with 0.5 aF Sensitivity
Host Organisation – Keysight Technologies (AT), Supervisor – Dr Ferry Kienberger

ESR7: Next Generation High Frequency Instrumentation
Host Organisation – Keysight Technologies (AT), Supervisor – Dr Ferry Kienberger

ESR8: Towards 3D Spectroelectrochemical Nanoscopy
Host Organisation – University of Paris Diderot (FR), Supervisor – Dr Frederic Kanoufi

ESR9: Surface charge of lipid rafts in neuron signalling investigated by SICM
Host Organisation – Aarhus University (DK), Supervisor – Prof Mingdong Dong

ESR10: Advanced Nanoscale Electrochemical Imaging: Applications from Electrocatalysis to Living Cells
Host Organisation – University of Warwick (UK), Supervisor – Prof Patrick Unwin

ESR11: Electrochemical Nanoprobes for Single-Entity Analysis
Host Organisation – University of Warwick (UK), Supervisor – Prof Patrick Unwin

ESR12: Pico-Potentiostat for Nano-Electrochemical Measurements
Host Organisation – Elements SRL (IT), Supervisor – Dr Federico Thei

ESR13: Single-Polymer Detection
Host Organisation – University of Twente (NL), Supervisor – Prof Serge Lemay

ESR14: CMOS-Based Nanocapacitor Arrays
Host Organisation – University of Twente (NL), Supervisor – Prof Serge Lemay

ESR15: Force-Controlled Sub-Compartmental Perturbation of Primary Cells
Host Organisation – ETH Zurich (CH), Supervisor – Prof Tomaso Zambelli

Through a series of secondments each ESR will have the opportunity to benefit from the expertise offered by other organisations within the SENTINEL consortium. Secondments will be 1-4 months duration each (7 months in total for each ESR over the whole project programme). Refer to the details of each ESR position above for more information about the planned secondments. 

Candidate Essential Criteria

  • Diploma and/or Masters Degree in Engineering, Chemistry or Biochemistry, Physics or Biology
  • Less than 4 year’s research experience.
  • Excellent spoken and written English and good communication skills.
  • Candidates must not already have a PhD at the employment start date.
  • Candidates must not have lived in or carried out their main activity (work or study) in the hosting country for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment start date.

Key Employment Terms

  • The successful candidates will be employees of the recruiting (host) institution.
  • They will be paid a monthly Living Allowance plus a Mobility Allowance in accordance with the EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions rules.
  • The contract will be fixed term for 36 months.
  • All candidates will be enrolled in PhD programmes.
  • Candidates can apply for up to three vacancies under a separate application for each position and the applicant must indicate a priority list which will be considered in the hiring process.


Please submit your application in PDF format to quoting the ESR number(s) of the posts you are applying for in the subject line.

Following documents should be attached:

  • Your CV
  • Your full contact details
  • A statement about your research interests
  • A copy of the certificate for your Diploma and/or Masters Degree
  • Contact details for at least 3 referees

The deadline for applications is 11.59pm on 28th February 2019.

Shortlisted candidates who are unable to attend in person will be offered the opportunity for an interview via Skype.

The post is available immediately subject to documentary evidence of the Candidate Essential Criteria and fulfilment of work Visa requirements.

Data collected from the candidates will be used for recruitment purposes only and will not be shared outside SENTINEL unless authorised by the applicant. The data will be kept for a period of five years after the end of the project for EU auditing purposes.

SENTINEL has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 812398

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Leeds
Funding for: EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 8th February 2019
Closes: 28th February 2019
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