Ph.D. position - R&D ENGINEER

Requisition ID:  5464

Saint Quentin Fallavier, FR, 38291

Pay Type: 

As a global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions, Holcim is enabling greener cities, smarter infrastructure and improving living standards around the world. With sustainability at the core of our strategy, we are becoming a net-zero company, with our people and communities at the heart of our success. We are driving circular construction as a world leader in recycling to build more with less. It’s all thanks to our 70,000 talented people around the world who are passionate about building progress for people and the planet through four business segments: Cement, Ready-Mix Concrete, Aggregates and Solutions & Products.

Holcim people are passionate about finding better ways to build. They embrace innovation and improvement with a pioneering spirit. They work as trusted partners, creating better solutions and experiences for their customers, communities, and colleagues.

Context – The Ph.D. project is part of the EU Doctoral Network “CoCoGel,” which aims to provide integrated training for young researchers in the field of Soft Matter and related Industrial Applications. The network involves leading experts in six academic and six industrial nodes and pertains to state-of-the-art expertise in experimental techniques, computer simulations, and industrial systems. The project is focused on colloidal gels that are core components in many industrial products, including building materials (e.g., cement), energy materials (e.g., batteries and fuel cells), consumer care and food products, and medicine. Recent advances in colloidal-gel physics strongly imply that the rational design of colloidal-gel properties is within reach. This design is based on tuning gel microstructure via external stimuli, such as shear, ultrasound, and (magnetic/electric) fields, and the addition of non-Brownian inclusions. CoCoGel aims to enable the translation from the current academic state of the art to industrial practice.


Ph.D. project – Within the European doctoral network “CoCoGel,” a Ph.D. position is available at Holcim Innovation Center in collaboration with the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon and the University of Edinburgh to investigate in more detail the impact of power ultrasound on the rheological properties of mixtures of cement and limestone fillers. Cement is responsible for more than 5% of the total anthropogenic CO2 emissions. A solution to reduce the carbon footprint of cement-based materials is to substitute part of the cement with other types of particles, such as limestone filler. Another solution is to reduce the amount of concrete in a structure by optimizing the geometry through 3D Printing. In both cases, admixtures are used to target a required rheological behavior, either to fluidify or to structure the cement paste. The HIC DC will first perform an in-depth study of the rheological properties of cement/limestone filler rheological properties at an early stage with various concentrations of water and admixtures to understand their flow properties. Then, the DC will determine the impact of power ultrasound on these dispersions (including the presence of non-Brownian particles mimicking sand or larger aggregates present in concrete-related applications) and assess how such an external perturbation could replace the use of polymer to control (e.g., fluidify or structure) the rheological response of the mixtures. Tools will include rheometry (HIC & CNRS) and a combination of rheometry and power ultrasound in collaboration with UEDIN and CNRS. Long-term (> 28 days) mechanical properties (e.g., hardness, Young modulus, etc.) of the hydrated mixtures investigated will be performed at HIC.


Candidate profile – The candidate should hold a Master’s degree in Physics, Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering, or a related field and have a good background in Soft Matter Science. Prior knowledge of rheology, and ultrasound measurements will be a good asset. The candidate should not have resided in France for more than 12 months in the 36 months preceding recruitment


Dates & remuneration – 3 years starting in September-October 2024. Gross salary: 3000 € per month (12 months basis).


Contact – Applications must be submitted through Holcim career portal and include a resume and a motivation letter. Please contact or if you need more information. Applicants should also send their application/CV to the Project manager (

Deadline for applications: 30 June 2024, Starting date: September - October 2024

Do you want to work in an international and dynamic working environment with attractive benefits? We are looking for colleagues to join our team to build progress for people and the planet.

Please submit your CV, a motivation letter and relevant documents with information on the career portal. No agencies can be considered.