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Position announced on: Aug 14, 2014
Apply at latest on: Sep 15, 2014
Fixed-term: -

Faculty of Science
Department of Chemistry

The University of Helsinki is a multidisciplinary research university which ranks among the top-20 universities in Europe. The Department of Chemistry is the leading teaching and research unit in the field in Finland having excellent possibilities for basic and post-graduate studies in analytical-, inorganic-, physical-, organic-, polymer- and radiochemistry, as well as in chemistry teachers’ education. The Department produces experts needed by the chemical industry, research and education, but whom are also prepared to meet the challenges within environmental research, technical disciplines, medicine and biosciences. The research performed at the Department is of highest international level and the current areas of specialization are materials chemistry and sustainable chemistry.

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Helsinki is seeking a


for a four-year position starting 1 January, 2015. The position will be filled with a 4-month trial period.

The doctoral student will work in the project titled “Tailored biomass derived self-assembling building blocks for bionanomaterial applications” funded by the Academy of Finland (SA-TaBioMat).

Project description:

Bioindustry produces various side-streams such as lignin and proteins. Sustainable technologies for formation of stabile lignin nanodispersions using proteins as modifiers, is a research goal that has world-wide significance for tailoring of novel biomaterials e.g. for medical, cosmetic and food applications. Various biomimetic models such as enzyme substrate interactions, mussel adhesive proteins and sclerotization processes of insect cuticles will be exploited in the modification of lignin and protein building blocks. The expected scientific and societal impact of the study is enormous, as lignin, typically burned for energy, is tailored to value-added bionanomaterials. The success of the project depends on the fundamental understanding of the structure and physicochemical properties of the modified biopolymers. As modern research tools will be exploited throughout the study, the preferable candidate should have strong competence in either analytical, polymer, organic or physical chemistry. During the Ph.D. research training the student will participate in international conferences and visit an internationally renowned research group in Europe and USA. The doctoral student will work under the supervision of Docent Maija-Liisa Mattinen. At the Department of Chemistry high level infrastructure and working atmosphere in internationally highly recognized research environment is guaranteed.

Terms of employment:

The starting salary is based on the University of Helsinki teaching and research personnel salary system for level 2 (starting from ~2250 € / month). A part of the wage is determined by the accomplishments and performance of the individual. The University of Helsinki offers also comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and health insurance, sports facilities, and opportunities for professional development. The International Staff Services office assists employees from abroad with their transition to work and life in Finland.


The candidate must hold or be close to the completion a master degree in Natural Sciences. Independent working practices including high motivation and scientific ambition are crucial to achieve above research goals. Fluent writing and oral communications skills in English are required. The planned project involves international travel, so the student must have the required documentation and a desire to travel within Europe and North America for the state-of the art methodological studies and other scientific activities. The appointee must have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki by the start of the appointment. Finnish and international students are strongly encouraged to apply.

What to submit:

The application must include: (1) A complete curriculum vitae, (2) a one-page letter explaining the motivation for applying for the position, and (3) contact information for two referees. Please send application materials as a single pdf file with a headline “SA-TaBioMat doctoral student” (no larger than 5 MB) by e-mail to hy-kirjaamo@helsinki.fi. The deadline for the application is 15 September, 2014.

For further information, please contact Docent Maija-Liisa Mattinen, maija-liisa.mattinen@helsinki.fi.


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