19th International Chromatography School

Zagreb, Croatia, 9. and 10. June 2016.

Zagreb, Croatia.
10 - 11 June 2019


Engineering Chemistry


The Doctoral Course in Engineering Chemistry (DC-EC) is an interdisciplinary course leading to a PhD degree in either science or technology (engineering). The course contains subjects divided into the following groups:

  • Polymer materials,
  • Inorganic and non-metal materials,
  • Organic synthetic products,
  • Quality of enviroment, processes and products,
  • Corrosion and protection of materials,
  • Chemical energy conversion.

The interdisciplinary Doctoral Course in Engineering Chemistry is designed to bridge the gap between the traditionally separate fields of chemistry, as a scientific discipline, and chemical technology and engineering, as an engineering discipline. The European-wide Bologna process is harmonising curricula between faculties and universities, and actively promotes development of interdisciplinary graduate programmes such as the DC-EC. Such moves toward cross-discipline cooperation have recently been stressed in a University of Zagreb Commitee report (10/11/2004) :

"..the walls between scientific disciplines are being removed, borders between fields do not exist any more..."

The Doctoral Course in Engineering Chemisty will contribute to the development of novel materials and technologies in Croatia by training generations of graduate students in modern scientific methods and technologies, including nanoscience, bioscience, enviromental technologies and green technologies with particular emphasis on alternateve energy sources, such as, hydrogen and solar energy.



The Doctoral Course in Engineering Chemistry is based on a long tradition of chemistry and applied chemistry teaching developed at the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology (FKIT), that dates back to the foundation of the Technical Faculty at University of Zagreb. This long tradition of teaching is further supported by the scientific research activities of FKIT staff in both the fields of natural science and technology.

Engineering chemistry as a discipline is closely related to the needs of the traditional chemical industries, including the pharmaceutical, food, agrochemical and oil industries, as well as to industrial production of polymers, inorganic and non-metal materials. Today however, the borders between fundamental and applied research are blurring, and in certain areas there is significant overlap, as can be seen in the contemporary development of biosensors for medical applications, synthesis of antiviral and anticancer drugs, ceramic and polymeric composite materials, and catalysts.

Applied science is the area in which the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology has a long tradition, dating back to 1962 when an Engineering Chemistry course first started at the Faculty of Technology at the University of Zagreb. The newly proposed Doctoral Course in Engineering Chemistry has been developed in accordance with the recommendations of the Bologna Declaration, and strategically fits with the aims for an integrated University of Zagreb.

The Doctoral Course in Engineering Chemistry comprises both traditional values and modern trends in higher education practice. The course is multidisciplinary, and is open to the free exchange of students and staff of different backgrounds, both locally and internationally. All lecturers are distinguished scientists and engineers in their respective fields (details, including CVs and lists of publications etc. are available from the internet ).



3.1 Does Croatia need such a PhD course and could we learn from the experience of developed countries in this area?

It is definitely needed!

There is a particular need in Croatia for enviromental specialists, since the environment, which includes clean water resources, has to be preserved. Students on the Doctoral Course in EC will gain specialist knowledge and skills in environmental science and technologies, including application of modern analytical and experimental methods and techniques which will enable them to solve complex technological problems and offer innovative solutions in applied environmental science.

In the module Organic synthetic products, students will gain knowledge of the methodology in organic molecule design, with special emphasies on design of antiviral and anti-tumor drugs as this currently represents one of the most challenging areas of drug design. Industry experts will contibute to introduction of practical knowledge as is required for example in scaling-up processes in the pharmaceutical industry . In addition, students will become familiar with concepts of natural protein assemblies, drug design methods based on protein modification techniques, organic photochemistry, electro-organic synthesis, modern separation methods from natural materials, modern petrochemical processes, as well as, novel industrial dyes and pigments.

Materials have always been one of the biggest achievemnts in civilisation and the basis for progressive, safe and quality living. Research topics at FKIT cover a range of material science and engineering areas including design of novel materials with tailored mechanical, physical, tribological, or catalytic properties; thin film (polymer or metal) surface modification; development of novel methods of protection against corrosion. Novel materials are enabling development of new technologies in the areas of chemical, civil, mechanical, biomedical or any other engineering field.

In the last fifteen years revolutionary advances have been achieved in the area of experimental data analysis as a result of novel software and hardwere tools availability. These 4 tools have opened up novel possibilities in reseach and application such as, advanced crystal structure detremination, crystal grain size, texture, microscopic and macroscopic stress profiling and quantitative analysis without calibration.

Development of materials related to petrochemical, process, pharmaceutical, or food industry and enviromental technology, requires an interdisciplinary approach based on both science and engineering of materials.

Nanoscience and nanotechnologies are the most active areas in materials science and technology (nanoclusters and crystals, ultra-thin films, fulerens, nanotubes, molecular machines, nanocomputers). Beside FKITs staff, scientists from other institutions working in the area of nanoscale manipulation, production and application, will be involved in teaching at GC EC.

3.2 What changes are planned in the European countries?

The weak points of existing system have been identified and they involve adeqacy of education in real needs of society, duration of studies, interdisciplinarity, supervision system, student assesment, quality control, financing, etc.

3.3 What are the specific Croatian problems which need to be addressed when designing a PhD course?

Existing courses lack participation of high quality research teams at the University and Institute level, and most often contain no visible collaboration between institutions and industry. These are the points we have particularly addressed in our proposal. The compulsory courses are designed to give PhD students generic knowledge and skills, while optional courses introduce the ability to specialise in a particular field of interest. Internationally recognised scientists from other faculties and institutes are contributing teaching expertise as well as modern laboratory facilities. Participating organisations include:

Participating Institutes

  • The Ruder Boskovic Institute, Zagreb, Croatia,
  • The Institute for Medical Research, Zagreb, Croatia,
  • The Institute for Physics, Zagreb, Croatia,
  • The Josef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Participating Faculties from within The University of Zagreb

  • The Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry,
  • The Natural Sciences Faculty,
  • The Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology.

Students from different backgrounds will work together in an interdisciplinary environment that will promote development of team-working skills. An important aspect of the course is exchange of knowledge in the form of seminars, discussions, student presentations and workshops that are participated in by both students and their supervisors.



4.1 Enrolment Policy and Mobility

The proposed course is designed with complete compatibility with the Bologna Declaration, and hence is open to student and staff mobility. The ECTS system allows students to choose optional modules from related graduate courses in Croatia or abroad. The course is open to students from Croatian and European universities, including students of specialist studies, public and private sector employees, and other lifelong learning schemes. The Bologna Process and harmonisation of the Higher Education System in Europe also defines recommendations in development of PhD courses.

The need for well defined and structured doctoral studies has been identified as a priority in a number of documents related to the Bologna Process. Traditional PhD courses in which students were left to work autonomously under individual mentorship, will need to adapt and change to the needs and requirements of modern society necessary for realisation of the goals of the European Higher Education Area. In order to achieve these aims, PhD courses will need to adopt a structured layout, especially in interdisciplinary areas, and must address the needs of the international environment. Here are the some of the features of the Engineering Chemistry Graduate Course at FKIT which are in line with the recommendations :

  • Establishment of a Doctoral School or Doctoral Centre to ensure the establishment and maintenance of high international research standards for talented students and researchers, and to meet the requirements of the Bologna Process for competitiveness at an international level,
  • Joint supervision of doctoral theses as a step towards European PhD degrees,
  • Contribution to development of the EHEA (European Higher Education Area) as well as to the ERA (European Research Area) since their final aims are similar and are overlapping at the doctoral studies area.

It is anticipated that the Doctoral Course in Engineering Chemistry will be attractive to graduate students of chemistry and related fields from European Universities, such as :

  • University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK,
  • Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague, Czech Republic,
  • University of Kiel, Faculty of Engineering, Germany, Materials Science and Engineering,
  • University of Leeds, UK, Material Science and Engineering,
  • University of Aveiro, Materials Engineering,
  • Israel Institute of Technology, Materials – Chemistry,
  • Imperial College, London, UK, Material Science and Engineering.



Course Title
Doctoral Course in Engineering Chemistry

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology

3 to 6 years (from enrolment to graduation)

Enrolment Policy
Undergraduate degree in a relevant subject with an average mark of 4 or higher (where 5 is the maximum achievable), and which is in accordance with the rules as defined in the regulation documents of the Faculty.

Course Structure
Subjects are divided into two categories, fundamental and optional (or specialist), and can be chosen between the following groups or modules:

  • Polymeric materials,
  • Inorganic and non-metallic materials,
  • Quality of Environment,
  • Processes and Products,
  • Organic synthetic products,
  • Corrosion of materials and alternative energy sources.

Teaching Methods
Lectures, seminars, laboratory work, original research. The doctoral thesis is an integral part of the course, and prepares students for independent problem solving tasks in the context of modern scientific and research methods. The thesis has to be the result of independent work by the student, and contain original research work, and may be written in either Croatian or English. The topic of the doctoral thesis should be in an area relevant to the general research activities of FKIT.

Original Research
Represents one of the most important aspects of the doctoral study programme. It has to be of high quality, and students will spend most of their time doing research. The research should be of an original and innovative nature, and there is a requirement for students to publish at least one scientific paper in a journal cited in the Current Contents (CC) journal database.

Staff will be competent in the field of proposed research (at the European level), as demonstrated by recent scientific research activities and CC publications (this is the most important factor for successful doctoral study). Supervisors will be required to provide a safe working environment together with appropriately equipped laboratory space for students undertaking research work, and will agree together with the student an appropriate topic with a defined and realistic scope for the thesis, that is achieveable within the framework of the doctoral study period.

Competence of doctoral graduate
It is expected that graduates from the DC-EC will have the ability to conduct research independently, to be principal investigators on science and technology projects, and to solve complex technology-related problems in industry.