Postdoctoral Researcher (3 years) for Analyzing Intermediates of Reactions and Isomers in Catalysis Engineering with Advanced Ion Mass-Spectrometry

Updated: about 16 hours ago
Deadline: 31 Jul 2021

We, at the University of Oulu, work as part of the international science community to produce new scientific information and science-based solutions. We are committed to educate future pioneers to build a more sustainable, intelligent and humane world. Creating new, taking responsibility and succeeding together are values that build a strong foundation for all our actions.

The transition of the energy and chemical industries to renewable feedstocks is a challenge faced by scientists and engineers of today and it will determine the trajectory of human civilization for decades to come. Catalysis is a crucial enabling technology for transforming raw materials into fuels and chemicals, positioning catalysts at a focal point of multidisciplinary research in many areas of physical sciences and engineering.

We are now looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher with experience in ion mass spectrometry for an interdisciplinary project combining advanced chemical engineering with state-of-the-art physical chemistry methods. The project focuses on zeolites – key catalysts for emerging sustainable processes such as biomass valorisation and CO2 conversion into valuable products – and their use in conversion of hydrocarbons.

You will apply and develop advanced methods in mass-spectrometry to study highly-reactive molecules in zeolite catalysis, and together with a team of physicists and chemical engineers help develop more detailed models of their complex chemical behaviour. You are not afraid to tackle challenges related to novel instrumentation and have a drive for developing methods for advanced characterization of materials and processes. During your work you get to publish the results in leading international scientific journals, assist in supervision of PhD students, and participate in educational activities and writing of funding applications.

The project is carried in international and interdisciplinary collaboration with researchers from University of Oulu, University of Oslo, Norway and the synchrotron radiation facility MAX IV Laboratory (Lund, Sweden). The Universities of Oulu and Oslo offer access to a wide range of modern, state-of-the-art research infrastructures that are available for the project. Part of the experiments will be carried out at MAX IV Laboratory. Secondment periods to both to Oslo and MAX IV Laboratory may apply.

Description of the research environment

The position is hosted in the Nano and Molecular Systems Research Unit (NANOMO, ) at University of Oulu. The NANOMO research unit 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, 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, European Regional Development Fund, and Academy of Finland. The unit coordinates the Finnish national participation in the MAX IV Laboratory, participates in the operation of the FinEstBeAMS beamline, and contributes to the European Free Electron Laser Eu-XFEL project.

The collaborative site, Catalysis section at University of Oslo Centre for Materials Science and Nanotechnology (Department of Chemistry), has approximately 30 members (five permanent faculty members) who synthesize and characterize a diverse set of catalysts, ranging from zeolites and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) materials to homogenous metal-organic complexes. The section focuses on studying the molecular mechanisms of industrially relevant reactions, such as methanol conversion to hydrocarbons on zeolites, CO2 hydrogenation to methanol on MOFs, and selective CH4 activation on biomimetic catalysts. The section is widely recognized for expertise in catalytic kinetics and reaction mechanisms in heterogeneous catalysis.  

University of Oulu is an international scientific community, with 15,000 students and 3,000 employees. The wide multidisciplinarity is a strength of the University both in education and research interests. The modern environment, world-class research infrastructures and extensive cooperation with international research institutes and private sector organizations provide excellent possibilities for research and innovation. More information

Requirements for the post

  • PhD in physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, or other relevant field, obtained less than 10 years ago
  • Demonstrated experience in ion mass spectrometry
  • Strong interest in instrumentation and method development
  • Very 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 overall qualifications, suitability for the research topic, potential as researchers and team working skills. The following merits are seen as a strong advantage:

  • Experience in high / ultra-high vacuum instrumentation
  • Experience in coincidence experiments (electron-ion, ion-ion, etc.)
  • Familiarity with or experience in synchrotron radiation
  • Experience on catalytic processes and zeolite chemistry
  • Interest or experience in design and construction of scientific instruments
  • Experience in supervision of PhD students

What we offer

  • You will be a part of a highly talented international and interdisciplinary team of researchers
  • You will receive support from your team and supervisor, so that you can excel in your research
  • You will get a chance to have an extended research visit to MAX IV Laboratory, one of the leading synchrotron radiation facilities In the world
  • In addition to modern research facilities, we offer you personnel benefits such as occupational healthcare and affordable sport services
  • A three year postdoctoral position and salary in accordance with the Finnish universities salary system (for teaching and research personnel): Postdoctoral researcher demand level is 5-6. In addition, a personal salary component based on work performance will be paid (maximum of 50% of the job-specific component).  Typical salary for a postdoctoral researcher is 3300-3500 € per month (before taxes).
  • The position is expected to start from 01.09.2021.

How to apply

Applications, together with all relevant appendices, should be submitted using the electronic application form by July 31st, 2021 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 provide here

2)     Curriculum vitae (max. 4 pages) in accordance with the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (see )

3)     List of publications based on the guidelines of the Academy of Finland (see )

4)     Certificates/Diplomas: Scanned copy of the original Ph.D degree certificate 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 defense.

5)     Contact information of two senior/experienced researchers who may be asked to give a statement on the candidate

Only applications containing all relevant appendices and submitted through the online portal will be considered.

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

Further information

Samuli Urpelainen

Due to holiday season in July, please contact with your questions during this time period: 8.6.2021 – 30.6.2021.

City of Oulu

The Oulu region is home to over 200 000 people making it the largest urban centre in northern Scandinavia and one of the fastest growing regions in Finland. Oulu is a combination of beautiful, northern nature, cleanness, vivid cultural life and modern technology. Oulu is also known for its highly-educated people and friendly, easy-going atmosphere. Find out more about Oulu:

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