PhD student in diagnostics of PEM based devices: fuel cells and electrolysers

Ref REF 2023-0060

The successful candidate will take a key role in advancing the knowledge of operation of PEM based devices, with focus on the factors that may limit their performance. The exciting aspect of this project is being part of the bigger context of the competence center SESBC (Swedish Electricity Storage and Balancing Center), which involves many non-academic partners and a number of other PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. Interactions with these people and the access to a large diversity of competences makes this PhD position rather unique.

Information about the research

PEM fuel cells and electrolysers are attracting vast attention due to the key role that they can play in the decarbonization of many important sectors, such as industry, transport and heating. It is also expected that PEM fuel cells (and electrolysers) will be integrated into microgrids together with other renewable energy source with the purpose to enable a better balanced and flexible electricity supply. In this context, challenges are related to finding the optimal operational conditions, to understanding the best hybridization concepts and to identify the factors that limit the devices’ performance. In this project, we propose to use and develop experimental methods such as vibrational spectroscopy (primarily Raman spectroscopy), optical microscopy (SEM and TEM) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy to diagnostic the operation of PEM devices and the degradation mechanisms of their components.

The project will be performed at the departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers, in close collaboration with a postdoc to be recruited, and is part of the bigger context of the competence center SESBC.

Information about the division and the department

Chemistry and Chemical Engineering is one of the largest departments at Chalmers. We represent a broad field of fundamental and applied research and education within chemistry and chemical engineering. Our research activities reach from fundamental chemistry, chemistry at the interface of biology and medicine, materials science, renewable energy, to chemical engineering processing, material recycling, nuclear chemistry, as well as theory and modelling. We are committed to teaching at the undergraduate, graduate, as well as postgraduate level. Academic freedom, interdisciplinary research, entrepreneurship and making societal impact, are key factors in our work. We strive to offer an environment where you can combine world leading research and teaching with a good work-life balance.

Major responsibilities

The PhD candidate will investigate fuel cell/electrolyser components as-prepared and post-use and, to the extent that it is possible, in-situ; analyzing the chemical stability of the PEM, the physical integrity of the MEA and the characteristic polarization curves. Single cells will be considered. State of the art materials but also materials and components provided by our partners will be in the scope of the studies.


A Master degree corresponding to at least 240 higher education credits in Physics, Chemistry, Materials science or another related field, as well as excellent language skills in English are required. The following is of particular importance for this project:a) Interest in using advanced experimental methodsb) Fascination for the fuel cell / electrolysis technologyc) Skills in data analysis and ability to integrate high quality in the analysis processd) Dedication to writing scientific articlese) Ethical approach to research and collaboration.

Contract terms

Full-time temporary employment. The position is for 4 years of research including approximately one year of studies, while about 5% of the time will be dedicated to teaching duties or other services to the department.  

We offer

Chalmers offers a cultivating and inspiring working environment in the coastal city of Gothenburg. Read more about working at Chalmers and our benefits for employees.Chalmers aims to actively improve our gender balance. We work broadly with equality projects, for example the GENIE Initiative on gender equality for excellence. Equality and diversity are substantial foundations in all activities at Chalmers.

Application procedure

The application should be marked with Ref 20230108 and written in English. The application should be sent electronically and be attached as PDF-files, as below. Maximum size for each file is 40 MB. Please note that the system does not support Zip files.

CV: (Please name the document: CV, Family name, Ref. number)

• CV

• Other, for example previous employments or leadership qualifications and positions of trust.

• Two references that we can contact.

Personal letter: (Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, Ref. number)1-3 pages where you:• Introduce yourself

• Describe your previous experience of relevance for the position (e.g. education, thesis work and, if applicable, any other research activities)

• Describe your future goals and future research focus

Other documents:

• Copies of bachelor and/or master’s thesis.

• Attested copies and transcripts of completed education, grades and other certificates, e.g. TOEFL test results.

Please use the button at the foot of the page to reach the application form. 

For questions, please


Anna Martinelli, Applied Chemistry,

+46-31-772 3002