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Postdoctoral Researcher for the Bioproduct Chemistry Group

by:  Aalto University

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Aalto University is a community of bold thinkers where science and art meet technology and business. We are committed to identifying and solving grand societal challenges and building an innovative future. Aalto University has six schools with nearly 11 000 students and nearly 400 professors. The campus of the School of Chemical Engineering is located on the Otaniemi peninsula in Espoo within the metropolitan area of Helsinki, Finland.

We believe that people from diverse backgrounds can together reach the best results. Diversity is part of who we are: for example, over 40% of our academic faculty comes from outside Finland. We warmly encourage qualified candidates from all backgrounds, especially minorities, to apply, as we want to ensure our community’s diversity and inclusiveness in the future as well. We are committed to equal and transparent recruitment procedures.

The Bioproduct Chemistry group is looking for a motivated 

Postdoctoral Researcher 

with strong knowledge of organic chemistry and a focus on structural chemistry of natural polymers like lignin

The Bioproduct Chemistry group, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, School of Chemical Engineering ( is dedicated to replacing fossil-oil-based materials with renewable biomaterials from natural resources, such as forest biomass. We conduct interdisciplinary research on bio-based materials science and surface chemistry of lignocellulosics. Efforts are made to find novel application possibilities for the main plant polymers: cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose. Our approach to reach these goals is to concentrate on fundamental insight in surface chemistry of biomaterials, with a special focus on interaction forces. Current research projects are on lignin nanoparticles, nanofibrillated cellulose, biocomposites, and biomimetic hydrogels for medical applications. Our research is further motivated by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

We have excellent facilities at Aalto University, both in the School of Chemical Engineering ( and in the Nanomicroscopy Center (, part of Finnish national research infrastructure OtaNano.

Job description

The candidate will work at the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems on Aalto University’s campus in Otaniemi, just outside of Helsinki, Finland. He/she will mainly work in a joint European project: Integration of efficient downstream processes for sugars and sugar alcohols, IMPRESS. Our task in this project is to analyze the residual lignin from the process and evaluate its utilization as nanoparticles or to obtain value-added natural compounds using structural modification or synthesis. In addition, the candidate will be involved in other projects in which expertise in chemical characterization, fractionation methods, and fundamental understanding of structural chemistry of natural compounds like lignin or bark extract is needed. The candidate is expected to take responsibility for project reporting and to instruct Master’s and/or PhD students. In addition to producing a high-impact research output, the candidate is expected to actively apply for external research funding, for example, through foundations, the Academy of Finland, and the EU. The position is available as soon as a suitable candidate is found. The contract is for two years. 


The eligible candidate should have:

  • Recently (max 5 years) obtained PhD in suitable field, such as organic chemistry or polymer chemistry
  • Be highly motivated in research and collaboration
  • Good written and oral communication skills in English
  • Experience in carrying out independent research and working in a multicultural team environment
  • Experience writing high-level scientific publications
  • Strong knowledge of typical chemical characterization methods like NMR, FTIR, GPC, preferably applied to natural polymers
  • Good organizational skills.

Skills, knowledge and abilities in the following areas are highly desirable:

  • Knowledge of lignin chemistry (structural modifications/functionalization, synthesis)
  • Understanding of supramolecular architecture and interactions between lignocellulosic building blocks (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin)
  • Experience in materials characterization techniques like mechanical testing, rheology, DCS
  • Experience with microscopy, SEM, TEM, AFM
  • Experience working with lignocellulosic nanomaterials like cellulose nanofibrils or lignin nanoparticles
  • Experience in raising external funding, either as an individual or as part of a research team.


Salary is determined according to the salary system of Aalto University and depends on the candidate’s previous work experience and achievements.

For more information

For information regarding the research, please first visit the research group’s website ( and view our research outputs ( If you still have questions regarding the research, you are invited to contact Prof. Monika Österberg, and in matters related to the recruitment process HR Coordinator Tiina Torvinen ( Do not send application materials or attachments via email. Only use the link below to apply for the position.

How to apply

The application should include the following:

  • a cover letter
  • a CV
  • a list of publications
  • a research interest description
  • names and contact details of two references.

All material should be provided in English as one pdf file.

Please send your application at earliest convenience and no later than 21.02.2021 through the online recruitment system (link below, “Apply now”). If suitable person is found earlier than 21.02.2021, we may close the recruitment process.

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