One day you find the job of your life. And that is certainly the case for Yuvraj Birdja. After completing his PhD research on electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 at Leiden University last year, he started looking for a job in his field of expertise. Research definitely had to be a part of it, although he was looking for a job where potential applications would also be developed. LinkedIn gave him what he was looking for: a job as a researcher at VITO.

Yuvraj: “Got my doctoral degree, and now what? Research really fascinates me. But I wanted more. On LinkedIn I literally bumped into the ideal job at VITO. Because VITO also actually exists outside the lab environment, with demonstration plants, for example. This means that I can now contribute to the upscaling of the investigated technologies. In this way, we can create not only a scientific but also a social impact. Every scientist’s dream, right? (laughs)

Promising research

With his scientific article ‘Advances and challenges in understanding the electrocatalytic conversion of carbon dioxide to fuels’ Yuvraj and his colleagues recently made it into the leading scientific journal Nature Energy. Yuvraj: “We really need to move away from fossil fuels and evolve more towards processes based on renewable electricity. In our research we provided an overview of the status quo of insights and challenges concerning the electrochemical conversion of the greenhouse gas CO2 in products. The electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 is promising.  It could mean that we can store sustainable electricity in - and at the same time convert CO2 into - chemicals and fuels. What follows is research into how we can apply this process on a larger scale, because there are still quite some unsolved complications.


At VITO Yuvraj is part of a multidisciplinary team. Yuvraj: “The cross-pollination at VITO is a dream for me. We conduct fundamental research, but VITO also wants to effectively scale up processes and techniques. Every day here is like being in a playground for me.”

For his dream job, Yuvraj had to move away from the Dutch Randstad to Mol in Belgium. “VITO gave me the opportunity to live in one of its apartments for PhD students and foreign guests during the first year of my employment. This allowed me to get used to the new surroundings and look for a house close by”, says Yuvraj. I recently moved to Eindhoven, about three quarters of an hour’s drive from Mol without traffic jams. My girlfriend Sangeeta has also recently graduated from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. She studied medicine. Eindhoven seemed to be an ideal homebase for us. She now works close to home in youth healthcare, and Mol is not far away either. The perfect compromise.”

Volleybal Team

Yuvraj: “Thanks to my first year ‘alone’ in Mol, I have now built up a nice routine here. I’ve always done sports and played volleyball, so I quickly found my way to the Nuclea volleyball team and our own VITO team. We play on a weekly basis, and we also take part in a competition between companies in the area. I also regularly take part in activities of FIT@VITO and Young VITO. I’ve participated in archery and climbing activities already. It’s great fun!”

“When I get home, we take it easy. Getting together with friends, discovering Eindhoven, if possible a weekend break, ... A satisfying life, I enjoy it to the fullest.”