Doctoral Student, Fibre and Particle Engineering

The open doctoral student position is interdisciplinary in nature and combines multiscale modelling with novel sustainable cements. The results will help solve the climate challenge through fundamental research; cement is the material with highest potential for carbon capture and utilization (CCU).

The University of Oulu in Northern Finland, with approximately 14,000 students and 3,000 employees, is an international, multidisciplinary research university with a rich pool of creative and intellectual talent. The strengths of the University include broad, multidisciplinary research interests, a modern research and study environment, and wide cooperation with international research and educational institutes (


The position is located at the Fibre and Particle Engineering Research Unit with co-supervisors from the Nano and Molecular Systems Research Unit, in the Faculty of Science (prof. Wei Cao) as well as from University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU (prof. Hegoi Manzano).

  • Fibre and Particle Engineering Research Unit ( carries out research in the field of advanced inorganic materials in circular economy. The multicultural research group consists of 40 people; 3 professors, 19 doctors and 15 doctoral students. We have an open and encouraging working atmosphere and have a substantial track record in successful funding applications including the Academy of Finland and Horizon 2020 EU programmes. The emphasis of research is on developing novel materials and processes to enable circular economy, while greatly reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions (
  • Nano and Molecular Systems Research unit ( owns a highly international research environment presently formed by 4 professors and around 40 other researchers. The focus is on molecular scale materials research and novel applications of spectroscopic and imaging techniques. 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 facility, participates in the planning and construction of the FinEstBeaMS beamline, and contributes to the European Free Electron Laser Eu-XFEL project.
  • Department of Condensed Matter Physics is part of the Faculty of Science and Technology from the Basque Country University, UPV/EHU ( The department includes a variety of research groups in the areas of liquid crystals, metallurgy, solid state theory and computation, crystal structure and properties, and multiscale material modelling. There is an excellent research atmosphere, with resources from local institutions (the Basque Government), as well as national and European funds.


Subject field and description of the position

Cement is one of the largest single source of carbon dioxide (CO2), and it is predicted to account for 25 % of anthropogenic CO2 emissions by 2050.

This project contributes to developing novel cementitious materials with net-negative CO2 emissions. A class of cements based on hydrated magnesium carbonates (HMC) can be carbon net-negative, leading to large scale carbon capture and utilization (CCU) if implemented at scale. Current limitations include poor long-term durability, which may be improved using ligands such as acetate. However more information on the function of acetate is needed.

To that end, the work done during this doctoral thesis work will shed light on the fundamental workings of the acetate ligands when used in the HMC cements. Methods include a variety of computer modelling tools in order to paint a clear picture of the nano-scale function of the acetate ligands in HMC cements.

The length of the positions is four years, from September 1, 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter.

A six-month trial period will be effective in the beginning of the four-year contract.


Required qualifications and assessment

The successful applicant must have completed MSc (or equivalent) in physics, physical chemistry, materials science, or quantum chemistry, with very good/excellent grades.

Fluent English, as well as good communication and teamwork skills are required.

It is required that the students are eligible for and acquire Ph.D. study rights in physics in the Technology and Natural Sciences Doctoral Programme ( the University of Oulu Graduate School (, within the trial period. The detailed requirements for the admission can be found here:

When assessing the applicants’ qualifications, issues to be considered will include the grades obtained during B.Sc. and M.Sc. studies, suitability of the earlier studies for embarking on a Ph.D. degree programme in physics, prizes received during undergraduate studies, scientific publications and presentations, activity in the scientific community, practical familiarity with the field in question and international activities.

The doctoral student will carry out research work within the Fibre and Particle Engineering Research Unit under the guidance and supervision of one or more of the senior researchers, publish research results in leading international scientific journals, attend doctoral courses and complete her/his doctoral thesis within 4 years. Other duties include teaching undergraduate courses (5 % of the total of 1612 working hours per year) and supervising undergraduate theses. In addition, she/he may be obligated to participate in minor administrative tasks of the Research Unit and University.



The salary will be based on the levels 2 – 4 of the demand level chart for university-level 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 2,300 – 3,300 € per month (before taxes), depending on the appointee’s personal work performance and progress in her/his PhD studies.


Application Procedure

In your written application, please provide clearly the following information and appendices:

  1. Brief curriculum vitae in English according to the guidelines of the Finnish Board on Research Integrity (
  2. List of publications according to to guidelines of the Academy of Finland (
  3. Scanned copies of undergraduate degree certificates (B.Sc. and M.Sc.)
  4. Extract of the study record(s)
  5. Brief description of research interests, experience and motivation, in English
  6. Your availability (starting time)
  7. Contact information of two persons whom may be asked to give a statement of the candidate

Applications, together with all relevant enclosures, should be submitted using electronic application form by 24.5.2020 at 23:59 (Finnish local time). The applications will not be returned.




The potential candidates for the positions may be called for virtual interviews.


For further information regarding the filling of this post:

Associate Professor Päivö Kinnunen, principal investigator of the project, Fibre and Particle Engineering Research Unit, tel. +358 50 564 6642, email: paivo.kinnunen(at)
Associate Professor Wei Cao, Materials physics, Nano and Molecular Systems Research Unit, tel: + 358 400 897 982, email: wei.cao(at)
Assistant Professor Hegoi Manzano, Department of Condensed Matter Physics from the Basque Country University UPV/EHU. Tel: + 34 946 013 405, email: hegoi.manzano(at)


Last updated: 30.4.2020