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

in hyperspectral imaging and synchrotron based characterization in hydrogen plasma reduction for steel making and circular economy (H2PlasmaRed) to join us in the Nano and Molecular Systems Research Unit at the Faculty of Science.


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 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.

NANOMO is a dynamic collective of researchers and students with a wide range of research topics. With its wide international collaborative network and unique know-how on synchrotron radiation, NANOMO has been successful in contributing to science by publishing tens of peer-reviewed publications in recognized journals every year.

About the job

The doctoral researcher will work on the newly accepted project Hydrogen plasma reduction for steelmaking and circular economy – H2PlasmaRed. The main objective of H2PlasmaRed is to develop a green CO2-free steelmaking route based on H2-plasma technology while promoting a circular economy by valorizing industrial sidestreams to meet the targets of the European Green Deal for reducing CO2 emissions in the steel industry across Europe. To achieve this, H2PlasmaRed will:

  1. Explore the fundamentals of the hydrogen plasma smelting reduction (HPSR) process
  2. Develop HPSR from TRL5 to TRL7 by demonstrating the HPSR in a pilot-HPSR reactor (hundred kilogram-scale) and a pilot-scale DC electric arc furnace (5-ton scale) by retrofitting the existing furnace.
  3. Develop innovative solutions for process control and modeling, along with state-of-the-art technologies for retrofitting existing industrial furnaces and significantly increasing industrial viability.
  4. Establish a framework for upscaling and uptake of the processes by integrating life cycle and safety assessment, economic evaluation, and exploitation strategy in the technology development.
  5. Emphasize energy and resource efficiency, H2-safety, and fundamental understanding of HPSR, enabling long-lasting impact and deployment of the technology in Europe in the coming decades.

Doctoral researcher’s work will focus on using

1. hyperspectral imaging to characterize the H2-plasma, and

2. synchrotron experiments for post-mortem characterization of the samples

The work includes laboratory and pilot-scale tests in collaboration with the project’s partners in Austria and Germany. Based on the hyperspectral images and synchrotron experiments, the doctoral researcher will

  1. use physics-based characterization methods to create a deeper understanding of the plasma and the samples
  2. make spatially and time-resolved analysis of the plasma and sample composition
  3. create and provide data for HPSR model development

The project consists of interdisciplinary partners from the steel and mining industry, academia and research institutes, technology providers and developers, small-medium enterprises, and steel experts from six countries. The work is carried out in very close collaboration with the Process Metallurgy research unit at Faculty of Technology of University of Oulu (coordinator of the H2PlasmaRed project).

What we offer?

  • The support of an experienced and enthusiastic team where you can share your expertise and grow as an expert.
  • Wellness benefit ePassi covering sport, culture and well-being. Read more about other staff benefits. 
  • Development and career options of the big organization.
  • Work that matters and a workplace that promotes flexibility and work-life balance. Read more about working with us.
  • Our Buddy Programme and Spouse Network support you and close-ones in settling into Oulu.
  • We have a HR Excellence in Research -quality label which is a recognition awarded by the European Commission for the development of researchers’ working conditions and careers. 
  • Finland is one of the most livable countries in the world, with a high quality of life, safety, excellent education system, and competitive economy. Read more about living in Oulu.

Who are you?

A successful candidate for the position must have the following:

  • Master’s degree in Physics, Process Metallurgy, Chemical Engineering, or Chemistry
  • The degree must be completed with good grades, latest by the start of the employment
  • Experience in infrared, optical and/or UV spectroscopic methods and/or synchrotron radiation research
  • Good proficiency in the English language (both written and spoken)
  • Good communication skills and the ability to work as a part of a team and independently

The following merits are considered as an advantage:

  • Experience in programming environments (e.g. MATLAB) or using programming languages (preferably Python, C++ or C#)
  • Experience in hyperspectral imaging
  • Knowledge of metallurgical processes.
  • Knowledge of statistical analysis and/or machine learning to interpret large data sets.

Please see also the requirements of the University of Oulu Graduate School (UniOGS).


The position is fixed-term for 4 years as of 1.1.2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The salary will be based on the levels 2-4 of the demand level chart for teaching and research staff of Finnish universities. In addition, a salary component based on personal work performance will be paid (maximum of 50 % of the job-specific component). Starting gross salary will be approx. 2300-2600 € per month (before taxes).  A trial period of 6 months is applied in the position.

How to apply?

Interested? If yes, please apply by 3.10.2023 (23:59 Finnish local time) through our recruitment system.

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

  1. Cover letter
  2. CV following the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity
  3. Certificates/Diplomas
  4. Contact information of two persons available for recommendation

The eligible applicants fitting best in the profile expected for the position will be invited to an on-site or remote interview. All applicants will be notified during the selection process.

We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, such as people of different ages, genders and lingual, cultural or minority groups. 

Contact Information

If you have any further questions, please contact 

Dr. Samuli Urpelainen, Nano and Molecular Systems

e-mail: samuli.urpelainen@oulu.fi


Dr. Henri Pauna, Process Metallurgy

e-mail: henri.pauna@oulu.fi

tel. +358 50 4471053).


Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 1.1.2024
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100 %
City Oulu
Country Finland
Reference number 2023/404
  • Samuli Tapio Urpelainen
Published 13.Sep.2023
Last application date 03.Oct.2023

Return to job vacancies