Josef completed his MChem at the University of York in 2017. His fourth-year research project involved investigations of reactive low-valent gallium complexes under the supervision of Dr John Slattery. Subsequently, Josef undertook a PhD with Professor Steve Liddle at the University of Manchester, which he completed in 2021. His doctoral research focused on the preparation of uranium and thorium complexes furnished with carbene and cyclobutadienyl ligands. These studies led to the preparation of a compound featuring a three-centre two-electron tri(thorium) bonding motif: the first example of actinide-actinide bonding in a stable compound and the heaviest homometallic bonding combination yet reported.
In 2021, Josef began a Junior Research Fellowship at St John’s College, Oxford, under the mentorship of Professor Simon Aldridge. At Oxford, Josef initiated a programme of research into the chemistry of beryllium, with a particular emphasis on beryllium-metal bonding and low oxidation state compounds. This work resulted in the synthesis of diberyllocene: the first example of a stable compound featuring a beryllium-beryllium bond and the lightest homometallic bonding combination yet reported.