Faculty of Science, NMR

The University of Oulu is a multidisciplinary, international research university, with about 3,600 employees who produce new knowledge based on high-standards research and provide research based education to build a more sustainable, smarter, and more humane world. The University of Oulu community has about 17,000 people in total. Our northern scientific community operates globally and creates conditions for the emergence of innovations.  

We are now looking for a

Postdoctoral Researcher (3 years)

to join in the NMR Research Unit at the Faculty of Science.

We are an internationally established, combined experimental and theoretical team of about 30 people, of which 50% with a doctoral degree. We develop experimental, theoretical, and computational research methods based on magnetic resonance phenomena and apply those methods to topical problems in molecular and materials sciences. Our strength is in the tight connection between state-of-the-art measurements and calculations. We have an open and encouraging working atmosphere and have a substantial track record in successful funding applications both at the Research Council of Finland and in EU programmes.

Subject field and description of the position

The postdoctoral position is a part of the Research Council of Finland research project ”Spin hyperpolarisation processes by multiscale simulations” led by Professor Juha Vaara.

The project develops and applies efficient multiscale simulation techniques to simulate spin hyperpolarisation, a set of methodologies by which the sensitivity of modern nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy can be enhanced by several orders of magnitude. The multiscale models involve molecular dynamics simulations to gain detailed atomic trajectories of the investigated molecular and materials systems, quantum-chemical calculations of the instantaneous atomic configurations to create a time series of spin Hamiltonians for the spins of the NMR nuclei and unpaired electrons, and finally spin dynamics simulations to propagate in time the density matrix of the combined spin system. The primary magnetic resonance observables such as spectra and magnetisation dynamics, e.g., relaxation or polarisation transfer, can then be extracted from the time-dependent density matrix, thus realising computational spectroscopy experiments on the spins and enabling direct comparison with experiments.

Three different hyperpolarisation methods will be focused at: (1) spin-exchange optical pumping of noble gases, (2) signal amplification by reversible exchange in transition metal complexes employing the complete spin order of parahydrogen and (3) hyperpolarised chemical exchange saturation transfer involving hyperpolarised xenon in various chemical and biosensor structures. Depending on the prior experience and qualifications of the successful applicant, the postdoctoral researcher will work in this general field and focus on one or more of the three hyperpolarisation approaches, in both method development and applications. After the employment, the postdoctoral researcher will be in an excellent position to apply multiscale models in a range of cutting-edge fields from modern biomolecular and materials NMR to fundamental physics.

The CPU-intensive computational research to be undertaken in this position is carried out in the facilities of the national supercomputer center (CSC), as well as in the European High-Performance Computing Joint Undertaking (EuroHPC JU) supercomputer LUMI. Local Linux cluster belonging to the Finnish Computing Competence Infrastructure (FCCI) is used for high-throughput production calculations.

Required qualifications and assessment

The postdoctoral researcher must have a completed doctoral degree in physics, chemistry, materials science or a related field, and show a visible scientific profile. Fluent English is required. Further, demonstrated potential in acquiring supplementary (extramural) funding, and teaching experience will be taken as a merit when choosing the scientist.

When assessing the applicant’s qualifications, issues to be considered include scientific publications, thesis supervision, activity in the scientific community, practical familiarity with the field in question, scientific work abroad, and other international activities. As part of the NMR Research Unit, the duties include supervising the scientific research of BSc, MSc and doctoral students, and acquiring research funding.

We expect you to have experience in quantum mechanics, scientific computing, and statistical mechanics. Experience in one or more of the following areas is highly beneficial: quantum chemistry, spin dynamics, molecular dynamics and reaction kinetics. Strong computer experience including basic Linux/Unix knowledge, shell scripting, and mastery of at least one relevant programming language (e.g., Python, Fortran, C/C++) is required for success in the project. We view it as a benefit if you are highly motivated, possess good communication, teamwork and organisational skills, as well as are capable of carrying out independent work. Participation in teaching within the physics curriculum is expected.

What we offer

  • A place in a highly talented research group, working to solve significant research problems in the field of multiscale modelling and NMR.
  • Wellness benefit (ePassi) covering sport, culture and well-being activities. Read more about other staff benefits here.
  • Development and career options of the big organisation.
  • 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.


The postdoctoral position is fixed term for 3 years. The position starts from October 1st, 2024, or as soon as possible thereafter.

The salary will be based on the levels 5-6 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 salary is thus in practice roughly 3700 – 4300 € per month (before taxes), depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience.

Later the salary follows the YPJ salary system of Finnish universities. The salary will be paid monthly. The employment contract is based on a total working time of 1 612 hours per year, which gives the postdoctoral researcher freedom to plan the working hours. A six-month trial period will be effective in the beginning of the work contract.

Application Procedure

Applications, together with all relevant enclosures, should be submitted using the electronic application form by August 31, 2024, 23:59 (Finnish local time). The application should be written in English and include the following:

  1. A motivation letter (max. 2 pages) summarising the applicant’s professional experience and expertise, and describing applicant’s research interests and motivations in the project. Also, information on other personal research interests, experience and career plans are valuable to provide here. The letter should also include potential specific interests in the research at the University of Oulu.
  2. Brief curriculum vitae (max. 2 pages).
  3. Certificates/diplomas - scanned copy of the original relevant master’s and doctoral degree certificates and transcript of records and, when necessary, official translations to Finnish or English.
  4. List of publications in international peer-reviewed journals.
  5. Brief (1-2 pages) description of research merits.
  6. Contact information of two persons who may be asked to give a statement of the candidate

The eligible applicants fitting best in the profile expected for the position will be invited to a remote interview. All applicants will be notified during the selection process.

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

For further information regarding the filling of the post:

Until July 6 and again from August 5; Professor Juha Vaara, NMR Research Unit, University of Oulu, tel. +358 40 196 6658, email: juha.vaara(at)oulu.fi.

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 1.10.2024
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Oulu
County Pohjois-Pohjanmaa
Country Finland
Reference number 2024/314
  • Juha Vaara, +358401966658
Published 01.Jul.2024
Last application date 31.Aug.2024
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