Faculty of Science, Nano and Molecular Systems

The University of Oulu is one of the biggest and most multidisciplinary universities in Finland. We create new knowledge and innovations that help to solve global challenges. We offer you an international and inspiring working environment where you are given responsibility and can use your skills, develop yourself and do work that matters. Our flexible and family-friendly workplace makes it easy for you to balance work and leisure. The University of Oulu is ranked in the top 3% of the world´s universities.

We are now looking for a

Doctoral Researcher (4 years) in molecular level understanding of hydrogen based reduction processes of iron ores

Steel industry is one of the most carbon intensive industries in the world producing 7% of global CO2 emissions. At the same time, steel is an integral part of society with increasing global demand and there is a continuous pressure to reduce the emissions. Hydrogen (H2) reduction of iron oxides is seen as the path towards decarbonising the hard to abate industry and thus lead to environmentally benign steelmaking. However, the molecular level mechanisms of the proposed processes are still largely unknown.

We are now looking for a doctoral researcher in molecular level understanding of H2 based reduction processes of iron ores for the Research Council of Finland funded project Towards New Age of Sustainable Iron and Steelmaking by Hydrogen Reduction (IRONH2).

The aim of the work is to combine the information from process and molecular level studies to gain more detailed understanding of the mechanisms and kinetics of H2 based reduction processes of iron ores.

The doctoral researcher will focus on studying the effects of mineralogical and chemical composition of iron ores and surface mediated chemical reactions on the reduction processes using especially x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and ambient pressure x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (APXPS) both at the facilities at University of Oulu and synchrotron radiation facilities (such as MAX IV Laboratory). Other advanced characterization methods, such as SEM, XRD, x-ray microtomography and TOF-SIMS will be also applied in the work.

The work is carried out in tight collaboration with process metallurgy and chemical engineering experts, and the data will serve as valuable input into more detailed process models. Furthermore, the doctoral researcher is expected to have a longer mobility period to MAX IV Laboratory. Other tasks of the doctoral researcher include publishing results in leading international scientific journals, obtaining course credits according to the doctoral researcher training plan, and completing the doctoral degree in time.

Description of the research environment

The position is hosted by the Nano and Molecular Systems Research Unit (NANOMO) of University of Oulu. NANOMO focuses on molecular scale materials physics and novel applications of spectroscopic and imaging techniques. The research topics include electronic structure research in nanomaterials, functional materials (e.g. steel, carbon negative materials, and nanocatalysts), biomedical research, mesoscopic quantum structures in materials, and physics didactics. The main external funding sources are the European Union ERC, Horizon2020 programs, EU EIT-RawMaterials and ERDF funds, Academy of Finland, and other national and international funds. The unit coordinates Finnish national participation in the MAX IV Laboratory synchrotron radiation facility, participates in the operation of the FinEstBeAMS beamline, and contributes to the European Free Electron Laser Eu-XFEL project.

Who are you?

We expect from you:

  • MSc in physics, chemistry, materials sciences, or another field relevant to the research topic and/or methods
  • The degree must be completed with good grades, latest by the start of the employment.
  • Good proficiency in the English language (both written and spoken)
  • Good communication skills and the ability to work as a part of team and independently

Assessment criteria and other qualifications

The candidates will be evaluated based on their qualifications, suitability for the research topic, and potential as researchers. The following merits are seen as a strong advantage:

  • Documented experience and knowledge of x-ray spectroscopic methods such as (AP)XPS
  • Documented experience of working with vacuum systems
  • Documented experience in using synchrotron radiation based methods
  • Good knowledge of light-matter interaction processes occurring on inorganic materials
  • Good knowledge of surface chemistry / physics

What we offer

  • You will be a part of an international, highly talented and multidisciplinary research team
  • You will receive support from your team and supervisor, so that you can excel in your studies and research
  • In addition to modern research facilities, we offer you personnel benefits such as occupational healthcare and wellness benefits ePassi, covering sport, culture, and well-being. Read more about other staff benefits.
  • Work that matters and a workplace that promotes flexibility and work-life balance. Read more about working with us.
  • Finland is one of the most livable countries in the world, with a high quality of life, safety, an excellent education system, and a competitive economy. Read more about living in Oulu.


The position is fixed-term for 4 years as of 01.09.2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The salary will be based on levels 2-4 of the demand level chart for teaching and research staff of Finnish universities. In addition, a personal salary component based on work performance will be paid (a maximum of 50 % of the job-specific component). Starting gross salary at level 2 will be approx. 2300-2600 € per month (before taxes)

How to apply

Applications, together with all relevant appendices, should be submitted using the electronic application form by 31st of July, 2023 at 23:59 (EET).

The application should be written in English and include the following:

  1. A motivation letter (max. 2 pages) summarizing the applicant’s professional experience and expertise and describing why the applicant is interested in this position. Also, information on personal research interests and career plans should be provided here
  2. Curriculum vitae (max. 4 pages) in accordance with the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity.
  3. Certificates/Diplomas: Scanned copy of the original MSc degree certificate and transcript of records and, when necessary, official translations to Finnish or English. In case the degree is still in process, please give an official notification from the supervisor or faculty to address the estimated date of graduation.
  4. Contact information of two senior/experienced researchers who may be asked to give a statement on the candidate
  5. List of publications, if relevant, based on the guidelines of the Academy of Finland.

Only applications containing all relevant appendices, prepared according to the instructions, and submitted through portal will be considered.

Top candidates will be invited to an on-site or remote interview.

Further information

Samuli Urpelainen, Senior Research Fellow, NANOMO Unit


Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100 %
City Oulu
Country Finland
Reference number 2023/299
  • Samuli Tapio Urpelainen
Published 27.Jun.2023
Last application date 31.Jul.2023

Return to job vacancies