Doctoral Researcher in Material science

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 12 Jun 2023

The Doctoral researcher will be appointed for a fixed-term 4 year contract (Start date: September 1, 2023) to work in a project entitled “From margins to the mainstream: cattail and willow fibres and their fungal mycelia composites for insulation materials (FUNgSULATION). The position will be supervised by Associate Professor Tuula Jyske (Forest sciences) and Associate Professor Kirsi Mikkonen (Food and nutrition),two of the six units of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.

The FUNgSULATION project aims to produce novel insulation materials by utilising biomass from rewetted soils: cattail fibers combined with willow. We aim to unleash the advantages of chemical and structural properties of biomasses via examining stepwise extraction kinetics to isolate water-soluble carbohydrates, and extractives of (willow) biomass, from lignocellulosic fibrous parts. The suitability of biomass fractions as a nutrient source for fungal growth for mycelium composite materials will be tested. Both unextracted fibers and extracted biomass of cattail and willow will be further treated by thermomechanical processing that provides substrate properties ideal for thermal or acoustic insulation materials: a. fully plant-based acoustic insulation materials by e.g., foam forming techniques (i.e., “wallpapers for acoustic camouflage”), and b. solid biohybrid mycelium composites (biomimicking porosity for improved insulation properties and aesthetics). The polyphenolic-rich willow extract will be analyzed for antimould activity as a raw material, and when immobilized into fibrous insulation materials. The insulation materials will be characterized for their technical performance and applicability.


We are looking for a highly motivated and skilled researcher with a Master’s degree and experience in material science, chemistry, or related field.

A successful candidate should be able to:

• Identify, design, conduct, and report research within the scope of the project.

• Contribute to undergraduate student supervision and teaching within the department.

• Engage with the scientific community, research partners and the wider public, internationally and domestically through scientific publications, conference presentations, press releases, blogs etc.

The candidate is expected to have:

Education, experience and technical skills

  • A relevant Master’s degree including experience in material science and/or chemistry.
  • Fluency in English and excellent writing skills.
  • Experience in working with biomass-based materials.

Personal attributes and competencies

  • Interest in basic and applied science.
  • Excellent analytical and innovative research planning skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, experienced in working within multicultural and multidisciplinary teams.
  • High motivation for academic research, having initiative and capable of working independently as well as in team environments.
  • Values continuous improvement based on constructive evaluation, self-reflection and learning.

The appointee should either already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki by the start of the appointment or apply for the right and obtain it within the probationary period of six months of their appointment. If the candidate does not already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, it must be applied for separately, please see:

The starting salary of the Doctoral researcher will be based on level 2 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on personal performance. The starting salary of the Doctoral researcher will be ca. 2200-2400 euros/month,depending on the appointees’ qualifications and experience.

The University of Helsinki offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and health insurance, sports facilities, and opportunities for professional development. A six-month trial period will be applied.

Please submit your application as a single pdf file using the University of Helsinki Recruitment System.

1) A cover letter explaining the applicant’s motivation for the research work and a short research plan (e.g. approach, research materials and methods) (max 3 pages).

2) Curriculum vitae showing the applicant's education, completed qualifications, work experience, possible list of publications and contact information of 2 persons for references (max 3 pages).

3) Copies of Master's, and Bachelor's degree certificates and official transcripts of the records, and their translations, if the originals are not in Finnish, Swedish or English.

External applicants, please submit your application using the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the Apply Now button.

Applicants who have a username and a valid employment contract, a grant researcher's contract or a visiting researcher's contract at the University of Helsinki are requested to leave their application by using the employee login.

The University of Helsinki welcomes applicants from a variety of genders, linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

The closing date for applications is 12 June 2023 at 23:59 EEST.

Further information about the position may be obtained from Associate Professor Tuula Jyske (tuula.jyske(at)


The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry is located on the Viikki campus, ten kilometres from the Helsinki city centre. The mission of the faculty is to promote the sustainable use of renewable natural resources through scientific research and research-based teaching. We focus on agricultural and forest sciences, food and nutrition, microbiology, as well as on economics and management. We cover the full natural resource chain from farm to fork, the entire field of forest sciences from soil chemistry to marketing, as well as the environmental effects of related activities. Graduates from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry are versatile experts in biosciences and business, able to meet the needs of both the business sector and society at large.

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