Graduate program Solar Fuels Catalysis


The solar fuels catalysis program offers outstanding MSc and PhD students a complete interdisciplinary training with a special focus on developing academic and research skills, and ultimately aiming for a future career in research. This is supported by the strong background and expertise of each of the participating groups in the four partner universities.

During the program, MSc and PhD students are integrated in one of the renowned catalysis research groups and will be actively involved in collaborative projects between the institutes. Their training as independent scientists is a priority, and the students will receive continuous support and advice in their pursuit of an academic career.

Admission to the MSc or PhD program is based on a selection procedure. A PhD position within the program is available for every successful MSc student. PhD students have a large degree of freedom in choosing their research topic and supervisor.


Master program

The Master program is based on a strong collaborative approach between the partner universities. In addition to the courses offered at each home university, four mandatory specialization courses, each 5 ECTS, will be provided by the partner universities:

  • UU: Advanced Characterization of Catalysts;
  • TU/e: Modern Concepts in Catalysis;
  • UL: Electrochemistry & Electrocatalysis;
  • UT: Photocatalysis Engineering.


To benefit the most from the complementary expertise profiles, the MSc students will be involved in rotations between the institutes. This will provide multiple opportunities to develop both theoretical and experimental skills in a research context:

  • An internship of 20 ECTS at one or more partner universities in the second year of the MSc program;
  • A graduation project to be carried out at two partner laboratories;
  • Bimonthly NIOK Solar Fuels Catalysis meetings with PhDs, research leaders and invited speakers.


Students are expected to have an active role within the NIOK Solar Fuels Catalysis Consortium: they will participate in meetings and workshops, attend lectures, and have close contact with all (senior) scientists and staff. A successful MSc program results in access to the Solar Fuels Catalysis PhD program. Each student will follow a departmental MSc program, on which he/she will build up the multidisciplinary understanding necessary to advance the field of Solar Fuels Catalysis.

Admission requirements

Only highly talented and motivated students will be admitted to the program. A personal interview will be part of the selection procedure. The selection will be based on: 

  • Grades in the BSc phase (average >7.5);
  • Demonstrated multidisciplinary interest;
  • Ambition to follow a PhD program;
  • Excellent communication skills and fluency in spoken and written English;
  • Admission to a Master program in one of the participating departments.


Master program facts

  • Study possibilities: This Master program supplements a full-time MSc program in one of the participating departments
  • Degree: Regular MSc degree at one of the participating universities. A certificate which indicates the additional study load and relevance of the Solar Fuels Graduate Programme will be issued.
  • Language: English
  • Times of entry: September and February
  • Duration: Two years
  • In combination with the PhD program the total intended duration is between five and a half and six years


PhD program

Each student participating in the NIOK Solar Fuels Catalysis PhD program is appointed in one of the participating departments. To reflect the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the program, PhD students have a second supervisor whose expertise complements that of the first supervisor. Each student will write a proposal for his/her PhD research. The research is based on the student’s project proposal and fits one or more research groups participating within the NIOK Solar Fuels Catalysis Consortium. The education is research related and aims to strengthen scientific skills. Participants will take part in teaching by guiding BSc or MSc students. In the third year, training in proposal writing will be provided (e.g. NWO, Marie Curie, etc.) to prepare students for all aspects of a career in science. During the full period, intensive coaching by the advisor and supervisors is provided. The duration of the PhD program is 4 years.

Admission requirements

MSc students participating in the graduate program can continue within the PhD program after successfully completing the MSc Program (excellent grades and positive feedback from their undergraduate project supervisor). Master students from outside the NIOK Solar Fuels graduate program can submit a formal application for a PhD position within the PhD program. The selection is based on:

  • A PhD research proposal;
  • MSc grades (minimum average 8 of 10);
  • A motivation letter;
  • Feedback from the research groups in which the student performed the undergraduate project.

PhD program facts

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), from the department in which the student is formally appointed
  • Language: English
  • Times of entry: September and February
  • Duration: 4 years. In combination with the MSc program a total intended duration of five and a half to six years
  • Evaluation moment: Go/no-go decision after one year
  • Universities involved: Utrecht University, Eindhoven University of Technology, Leiden University, Twente University

Application process

To apply for the Solar Fuels Catalysis graduate program, please send a motivation letter, curriculum vitae, BSc phase grades (when applying for the MSc program) or MSc phase grades (when applying for the PhD program) to the program coordinator.


More information about the program, admission and enrollment:

Dr Gabriela Dima
Tel: +31 (0)40 247 2166


For more information please also read the Solar fuels catalysis folder