Applications are invited for the one PhD position (“Early Stage Researcher”) to be funded by the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network “REDMUD – European Training Network for Zero-Waste Valorisation of Bauxite Residue” within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission. REDMUD is a consortium of high profile universities, research institutions and companies located in Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Portugal and Hungary, and possesses some clear synergies with the EREAN project.

Application for this ESR through bilateral contact with the involved Supervisors (see email link).

ESR 3: Direct electroreduction of iron oxides from BR
Objectives: To investigate the direct electroreduction of hematite to metallic iron in BR slurries in highly alkaline electrolyte solutions; To study the electroreduction mechanism by different electrochemical methods (cyclic voltammetry, coulometry, electrodeposition experiments); To study to influence of insoluble compounds like SiO2 and Al2O3 on the reduction process.
Host: KU Leuven (Belgium)
Supervisor: Prof. J. Fransaer ( & Prof. B. Blanpain
Duration*: 36 months

Career Stage
Early Stage Researcher (ESR) or 0-4 yrs (Post Graduate)

Benefits and salary
The MSCA programme offers highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions. The successful candidates will receive a salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment [Living Allowance = 37.320 euro/year (correction factor to be applied per country) + Monthly mobility allowance = 600 to 1100 euro depending on the family situation]. In addition to their individual scientific projects, all fellows will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences.

Applicants need to fully respect 3 eligibility criteria:

  • Early-stage researchers (ESR) are those who are, at the time of recruitment by the host, in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers. This is measured from the date when they obtained the degree which formally entitles them to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate was envisaged.
  • Conditions of international mobility of researchers: Researchers are required to undertake trans-national mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up the appointment. At the time of selection by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.
  • English language: Network fellows (ESRs) must demonstrate that their ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English is sufficiently high for them to derive the full benefit from the network training.

Public Abstract REDMUD:

To tackle its (critical) raw material dependency, Europe needs comprehensive strategies based on sustainable primary mining, substitution and recycling. Freshly produced flows and stocks of landfilled industrial residues such as mine tailings, non-ferrous slag and bauxite residue (BR) can provide major amounts of critical metals and, concurrently, minerals for low-carbon building materials. The European Training Network for Zero-Waste Valorisation of Bauxite Residue (REDMUD) therefore targets the vast streams of new and stockpiled BR in the EU-28. BR contains several critical metals, is associated with a substantial management cost, whereas spills have led to major environmental incidents, including the Ajka disaster in Hungary. To date, zero-waste valorisation of BR is not occurring yet. The creation of a zero-waste BR valorisation industry in Europe urgently requires skilled scientists and engineers, who can tackle the barriers to develop fully closed-loop environmentally-friendly recovery flow sheets. REDMUD trains 15 researchers in the S/T of bauxite residue valorisation, with emphasis on the recovery of Fe, Al, Ti and rare earths (incl. Sc) while valorising the residuals into building materials. An intersectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration of EU-leading institutes and scientists has been established, which covers the full value chain, from BR to recovered metals and new building materials. Research challenges include the development of efficient extraction of Fe, Al, Ti and rare earths (incl. Sc) from distinct, Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) classified BRs and the preparation of new building materials with higher than usual Fe content. By training the researchers in pyro-, hydro- and ionometallurgy, electrolysis, rare-earth extraction and separation technology, inorganic polymer and cement chemistry, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), NORM aspects and characterisation, they become the much needed scientists and engineers for the growing European critical raw materials industry.


KU Leuven, Helsinki University, RWTH Aachen, NTUA, UT, MEAB, Aluminium of Greece, TITAN

Partner Organisations:

University of Patras, Universidade de Aveiro, Bay Zoltan, Tasman Metals

General contact persons at KU Leuven

Prof. Koen Binnemans, Department of Chemistry, KU Leuven
Celestijnenlaan 200f – bus 2404,
B-3001 Leuven
tel. +32 16 32 74 46

Dr. Ir. Peter Tom Jones, Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (MTM),
KU Leuven Kasteelpark Arenberg 44 – bus 02450,
B-3001 Leuven

Dr. Ir. Yiannis Pontikes, Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (MTM),
KU Leuven Kasteelpark Arenberg 44 – bus 02450,
B-3001 Leuven