Faculty of Technology, Faculty of Science

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 

Three Doctoral Researchers in CIMANET - Circular Materials Bioeconomy Network. Three-year positions.

We are looking for three highly motivated and talented Doctoral Researchers for the following topics:

I) Advanced NMR for nanostructured cellulose materials,

II) Smart packaging derived from wood extracts and cellulose nanofibers,

III) Utilization of lignocellulose-based biochemicals in the preparation of sustainable polyurethane

at the Fibre and Particle Engineering Research Unit (Positions I&II), NMR Research Unit (Positions I) and Sustainable Chemistry Research Unit (Position III), at University of Oulu, Finland under the national CIMANET - Circular Materials Bioeconomy Network.

Anticipated starting date: August, 2024. Application deadline: April 14th, 2024.


Circular Materials Bioeconomy Network (CIMANET) is an interdisciplinary doctoral education network to support the renewal of the bio-based industry through new sustainable materials and processes. CIMANET is part of the doctoral education pilot program established by Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture, providing scientific and technological competences to promote sustainable growth. It strengthens the knowledge base required to enhance the Finnish forest and bio-based industry with novel solutions unveiling the full potential of biomass. CIMANET consists of nine universities: Aalto University, Hanken School of Economics, LUT University, Tampere University, University of Helsinki, University of Jyväskylä, University of Oulu, University of Turku, and Åbo Akademi University.

CIMANET operates in close collaboration with the industry, research organizations, as well as other stakeholders to create economic and societal impact by addressing the major challenges of our century: resource sufficiency, access to clean water, and climate change. CIMANET starts in 2024 and provides altogether 67 doctoral researchers funding for three years. Check out all the open positions at the CIMANET pilot website.

As a partner in the CIMANET programme, the University of Oulu is dedicated to ensuring you have a carefully planned and guided doctoral research education which will be tailored to support your career plans, enabling you to continue into demanding expert positions in the changing job markets in industry, the public sector and academia.

Job description

Position I. Advanced NMR for nanostructured cellulose materials (Supervisors: Professor Ville-Veikko Telkki and Professor Henrikki Liimatainen)

NMR spectroscopy is one of the most powerful and versatile methods in chemical and materials characterization. This doctoral training project aims at developing sensitive, efficient, and information-rich NMR methods and applying them in the characterization of nanostructured cellulose materials. The NMR methods include, e.g., ultrafast Laplace NMR, which provide detailed information about the dynamics of molecules. The project will study porous materials and chemical structures of novel hybrid cellulose nanomaterials as well as their function in applications ranging from separation processes to electronics.

Specific qualifications: Background related to NMR methods is important. Moreover, knowledge on cellulose/soft materials is a benefit.

Position II. Smart packaging derived from wood extracts and cellulose nanofibers (Supervisor: Professor Henrikki Liimatainen)

Smart packaging based on natural resources is an alluring field for creating designs that can meet the requirements of sustainable development and provide advanced performance by monitoring the conditions of items and interacting with their surroundings. In particular, sustainable, functional materials displaying a response to external stimuli are highly desired for facilitating the targets of the emerging green circular economy. This project develops green, ultra-porous hybrid materials with a unique and novel architecture for intelligent, responsive packaging technologies. Especially, it addresses hybrid aerogels consisting of a cellulose nanofibers and encapsulated phase change matrix in smart packaging with controlled thermal management behavior.

Specific qualifications: Background related to cellulose nanomaterials, packaging and/or phase-change materials is a benefit.

Position III. Utilization of lignocellulose-based biochemicals in the preparation of sustainable polyurethanes (Supervisor: Associate professor Juha Heiskanen)

The current plastic materials are mainly made of fossil-based chemicals received from oil refining. Production of plastics is increasing and due to that, the CO2 emission is estimated to steadily increase. Another challenge is that major part of the crude oil supplies locates in politically unstable areas, which may result in significant supply chain disruptions. For these reasons, general interest in research and development of biomass-based chemicals and materials which can be potentially produced from agricultural leftovers and industrial side steams is constantly increasing. However, the potential of biomass-derived chemicals is not revealed yet. Polyurethanes, which are utilized in various applications from insulators to foams, coatings, adhesives, and fibers, are industrially highly relevant plastic category. In this project, both existing and novel lignocellulose-based biochemicals will be utilized in the preparation of novel polyurethanes with the aim to match the materials properties of biobased polyurethanes with currently used fossil-based polyurethanes. The prepared biobased polyurethanes will be characterized in detail and demonstrated in selected applications.

Specific qualifications: Background related to synthetic organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, or materials chemistry is demanded. In addition, practical experience in NMR characterization, thermal analyses, and/or mechanical testing is a benefit.

General qualification requirements

The chosen Doctoral Researchers are expected to apply for doctoral study rights at the University of Oulu Graduate School. Eligibility for study rights will be evaluated during the job application process and. The candidates must fulfill the following criteria:

  1. Must hold a master's degree or equivalent degree (e.g. licentiate). Undergraduate students are eligible to apply provided their Master’s or equivalent degree is finished by July 31st, 2024.
  2. Must have achieved a good grade in their degree (i.e. at least 60 % of the maximum grade in both taught courses and the master's thesis)
  3. Must be able to demonstrate good English language skills in speech and writing that are sufficient to follow doctoral studies.

In addition, the candidate will be working as a part of a larger, multidisciplinary group, and should have the ability to take own initiatives and collaborate with in industrial and research partners.

What we offer

  • You will receive support not only from your team and supervisor but also from the university´s wide variety of support services so that you can excel in your studies and research/work.
  • A competitive salary is paid monthly, which includes paid leave and an additional holiday bonus in the summer.
  • Wellness benefit 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.
  • 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.

Position and salary

Doctoral Researchers selected in the pilot programme will by default be offered a three-year (36 month) fixed-term full-time employment contract by the University of Oulu. These positions are available for highly motivated and talented researchers wishing to undertake and complete training for a research-focused doctoral degree, starting August 1st, 2024 at the earliest. A six-month trial period is applied in the position.

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).The starting gross salary (before taxes) will be roughly 2600-2800 € / month for the full time employment. Later the salary follows the YPJ salary system of Finnish Universities.

How to apply

Applications, together with all relevant enclosures, should be submitted using the electronic application form by April 14th, 2024 (23:59 Finnish local time). The application should be written in English and include the following:

  1. Certificates/Diplomas Scanned copy of the original relevant Master’s degree certificates (or Bachelor’s degree certificate for undergraduates) and transcript of records and, when necessary, official translations to Finnish or English.
  2. A motivation letter (max. 2 page) summarizing applicant’s research experience, analytical method skills, relevant work experience, s and career plans describing why applicant is interested in this position.
  3. Curriculum vitae (max. 2 pages) CV of the applicant, including a list of any peer-reviewed scientific publications (with full reference details). A recommended CV template can be found on the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity 
  4. A valid certificate of language proficiency.
  5. Letters of recommendation (optional)

Please indicate in your motivation letter which Doctoral Researcher position you are applying (Positions I-III).

Note: Only applications containing all relevant appendices and submitted through the online recruitment system will be considered. Applications received after the call deadline will not be considered.

Further information

For further information, please contact:

Professor Henrikki Liimatainen (henrikki.liimatainen@oulu.fi, (Positions I and II),

Professor Ville-Veikko Telkki (ville-veikko.telkki@oulu.fi,  (Position I),

and Associate professor Juha Heiskanen (juha.heiskanen@oulu.fi, (Position III).


Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
Number of positions 3
Full-time equivalent 100 %
City Oulu
County Pohjois-Pohjanmaa
Country Finland
Reference number 2024/128
Published 18.Mar.2024
Last application date 14.Apr.2024

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