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Piezoelectric Energy Harvesters for Self-Powered Automotive Sensors: from Advanced Lead-Free Materials to Smart Systems (ENHANCE)

Project Duration: May 2017 - 2021 (48 months)

Funding Agency: EU

Funding Scheme: H2020-MSCA-ITN-2016

The Initial Training Network entitled "Piezoelectric Energy Harvesters for Self-Powered Automotive Sensors: from Advanced Lead-Free Materials to Smart Systems (ENHANCE)" will provide thirteen Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) with broad and intensive training within a multidisciplinary research and teaching environment. Key training topics will include development of energy harvesters compatible with MEMS technology and able to power wireless sensor. Applied to automobiles, such technology will allow for 50 kg of weight saving, connection simplification, space reduction, and reduced maintenance costs - all major steps towards creating green vehicles. Other important topics include technology innovation, education and intellectual asset management.

ENHANCE links world-leading research groups at academic institutions to give a combined, integrated approach of synthesis/fabrication, characterization, modeling/theory linked to concepts for materials integration in devices and systems. Such a science-supported total engineering approach will lead towards efficient piezoelectric energy harvesters viable for the automotive industry. ESRs will focus on this common research objective, applying a multidisciplinary bottom-up approach, which can be summarized by: "engineered molecule advanced material- designed device - smart system". ENHANCE also seeks to intensify the relationship between academic and private sectors, and to train highly skilled young researchers for new materials and device technologies. Both are essential to provide a strong European lead over the rest of the world in this highly competitive industry. The ENHANCE consortium partners recognize that engineering graduates face a rapidly changing work environment, with short product development times and life cycles, rapid evolution of knowledge, new methods of working, and, of course, new career paths and opportunities outside those of traditional PhD academia and research. It is therefore essential to prepare them to address both these challenges along with the complex technical, social, commercial and ethical questions raised by emerging engineering technologies (e.g. in the fields of nanotechnologies, energy, healthcare, environment, raising living standards, etc.) and practices. 

Open Positions University of Cologne

ESR5: Growth of piezoelectric nanostructures and films for vibrational energy harvesters; Supervisor: S. Mathur (University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany)

In this research project, the candidate will work on the controlled growth of substrate-supported piezoelectric vertically aligned nanostructures and films from vapour phase (using commercial precursors as well as specifically designed precursors). The optimization of the vertical alignment of the nanostructures as well as the enhancement of piezoelectric/elastic/pyroelectric/photovoltaic properties (with a focus on the elastic and piezoelectric properties) by adjusting the composition, dimensions of nanostructures and growth direction will be investigated. The relationship between processing, composition, structure, size, morphology with resulting physical properties is of special interest. The candidate should have a profound background in materials chemistry, inorganic chemistry and nanotechnology. After successfully completing the doctoral studies, the candidate will be awarded a German doctoral degree in Chemistry (Dr. rer. nat.) by the University of Cologne.

ESR6: Self-supported nanomeshes of piezoelectric materials for vibrational energy harvesters; Supervisor: S. Mathur (University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany)

In this research project, the candidate will work on the controlled growth of piezoelectric self-supported nanomeshes by electrospinning through adapted chemical and processing parameters (using commercial precursors as well as specifically designed precursors). Elaboration of tandem approaches (Electrospinning + CVD) to control texture/stochiometry of the final material as well as enhancement of piezoelectric/elastic/pyroelectric/photovoltaic properties by adjusting the dimensions of nanostructures will be investigated. The relationship between processing, composition, structure, size, morphology with resulting physical properties is of special interest. The candidate should have a profound background in materials chemistry, inorganic chemistry and nanotechnology. After successfully completing the doctoral studies, the candidate will be awarded a German doctoral degree in Chemistry (Dr. rer. nat.) by the University of Cologne.

How to apply

In order to apply, send by email to project coordinator Ausrine Bartasyte, coordinator(at)itnenhance.com:

  • CV (2 pages)
  • Diploma (copy) of Master degree or equivalent degree which formally entitle to embark on a doctorate, including annexes with marks/classifications
  • Cover letter (1 page)
  • Names and contact details of two referees, who agreed to provide recommendation letters

Eligibility criteria

Master degree or equivalent degree which formally entitle to embark on a doctorate; Must not have resided or carried out main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of host organisation for more than 12 months in the last 3 years (short stays for holidays do not count); Must be in the first four years of full-time equivalent research experience of their research careers (starting from the date when the degree enabling the access to the PhD studies was obtained). Have not been awarded a doctoral degree.

Benefits

The ENHANCE consortium will also address the key doctoral training elements of academic and transferrable skills provision by establishing exciting and attractive academic and transferrable skills modules. In the different Area of Knowledge of the ENHANCE programme, a specific programme of specialisation, tailored on the needs of the chosen research field available at the different partner places, will be proposed to the PhD students and specified in their Personal Career Development Plan. We will ensure co-ordinated provision of these key doctoral training elements that can best leverage on the international capabilities of the consortium, on its unique and complementary skills base reflecting both national and regional strengths and, on the on-going developments of new curriculum in the fields of materials, modelling, devices and systems for energy harvesting and future vehicles. The academic skills provision will build from the assumption that all the centre skills education programmes will be modular, with specific credit modules and available across the partner centre sites using both traditional (lecture, seminar, summer school, workshop) and widely developed web-based delivery actually developed by several partners. A key topic for 21 century engineers will be technology management including topics such as technology innovation and intellectual asset management. The opportunity for the ESRs to explore and acquire these multidisciplinary skills within the international context of ENHANCE will uniquely position them for the future. The rapid race of engineering research and the steady integration of engineered technology in our infrastructure and life, calls for more involvement from engineers, scientists and technologists in the setting of public policy and in participation in the civic arena.

All Open Positions in ENHANCE

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