Postdoc position in sustainable electrode materials for sodium-ion batteries

Updated: 5 months ago
Deadline: 02 Jan 2023

Published: 2022-12-02

Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our ultimate goal is to conduct education and research of the highest quality and relevance to make a long-term difference in society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has over 54,000 students, more than 7,500 employees and a turnover of around SEK 8 billion.

The Department of Chemistry - Ångström conducts research and education in the chemistry field. The department has more than 270 employees and has a turnover of 290 million SEK. At the department's six programs, we conduct very successful research of a high international standard. We have a large number of externally funded research projects, often with international cooperation and we see continued good growth in our subject area. The department has education assignments in engineering programs and master's programs. More information is available on our website .

Read more about our benefits and what it is like to work at Uppsala University

About the position
Applications are invited from highly competent and motivated candidates for a postdoctoral research position to develop hard carbons and electrolytes for sodium-ion batteries. The prospective researcher will participate in a collaborative project involving Uppsala University (UU), RISE Research Institutes Sweden ( ) and Altris AB ( ), and funded by the Swedish Energy Agency through the BIO+ programme which aims to introduce bio-based innovations to solve challenges facing future energy systems. The initial focus of the project will be to better understand how synthesis conditions impact the structure and electrochemical behaviour of hard carbons derived from lignin. Different electrolyte systems will also be explored as part of this project. The hard carbons and electrolytes developed will eventually be combined with low-cost iron-based cathode material produced by Altris AB to manufacture completely sustainable sodium-ion batteries. The researcher will have opportunities to collaborate with leading academic and industrial partners in Sweden, to broaden technical and scientific skills, as well as generating high impact publications.

Most of the research will be conducted in the battery research laboratories which are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment required for materials synthesis, characterization (XPS, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, thermal analysis and so on), electrode fabrication and cell assembly, and electrochemical testing. A full suite of electron microscopy (SEM and TEM) and surface analytical tools are available in the cleanroom facility located in the Ångström laboratory. In addition to the resources at UU, RISE and Altris, the researcher can have access to modern national research facilities such as the MAXIV  ( ), the European Spallation Source (ESS) ( ), the Swedish NMR Centre (SNC).

Duties and responsibilities
The successful candidate will work in a large research group consisting of students and researchers. The postdoctoral researcher is expected to:

  • conduct high quality research within the project, ultimately resulting in patents, and publications in peer-reviewed journals or conference proceedings
  • work in close collaboration with the principal investigator and project partners
  • maintain up-to-date literature reviews, gather relevant data on materials for sodium-ion batteries
  • take initiative in identifying research gaps and future research directions related to the project
  • participate in supervision and teaching of undergraduate and doctoral students
  • contribute to writing research proposals to attract external funding
  • prepare periodic reports to be submitted to granting agency
  • present and disseminate research results at international conferences, group seminars, and regular project meetings
  • design proper experimental procedure taking laboratory safety into account
  • ensure compliance with laboratory, environmental and health safety regulations
  • maintain strong commitment to implementation of research ethics 

For employment at postdoctoral level, applicants will have a PhD degree in chemistry, materials science or related subject, with excellent command of verbal and written English. Employment priority will be given to candidates who have obtained their PhD within the last three years. Circumstances such as parental leave or career breaks due to illness or trade union duties will not, however, be included in the time calculation.

You must have a strong background in electrochemistry and documented experience in the synthesis, characterization and electrochemical testing of materials used in sodium-ion batteries, lithium-ion batteries or supercapacitors. We attach great importance to personal qualities such as creative mentality, team spirit and strong motivation to work independently and in collaboration with project partners.

You get the chance to collaborate with a large research group within the Ångström Advanced Battery Centre, other research groups within the university, industrial partners and research institutes. The project requires organized documentation of laboratory procedures and data suitable for publication and patenting. You will be a well-organized and self-motivated researcher, with the ability to manage the day-to-day running of the research project.

Required skills
We are looking for a researcher with strong expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • synthesis and characterization of carbon and other materials used in sodium-ion batteries
  • electrolyte formulation and characterization,
  • in-depth understanding of the different components of sodium-, or lithium-ion batteries or other similar devices
  • electorchemical methods (voltammetry, galvanostatic techniques, electrochemical impedance analysis and so on)
  • Raman spectroscopy (highly desired skill, especially in characterization of carbon-based materials)
  • small-angle X-ray/neutron scattering, pair distribution function (PDF) analysis, or NMR spectroscopy
  • electron microscopy (SEM and/or TEM)
  • experience in handling air-sensitive samples in a glovebox
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy

Desirable qualifications
We particularly encourage applications from candidates who can bring novel technical skills (synchrotron or other large scale facilities) that can be applied in the study of the structure and electrochemistry of disordered materials (such as hard carbons).

Experience in both industrial and academic research in battery manufacturing is desirable. Prior experience in laboratory and project management is also advantageous. Programming skills or acquaintance with applying Python packages, statistical data analysis packages, etc are a strong advantage.

At a postdoctoral research position, the candidate is primarily tasked with research but teaching duties may be included in the job description at the discretion of the department, but not more than 20 % of working hours. Thus, previous teaching experience at undergraduate or graduate level is also highly valued.

Application procedure
Applications must be submitted online using the link below. Assessment of applications will be based on academic background, research expertise, relevant publications, ability to conduct reliable and independent research, and collaborative skills. Your application must include

  • a cover letter (maximum 2 pages) with a short description of yourself, the reasons why you are interested in the position, and your previous research experience.
  • a short CV (maximum 2 pages). Please provide in your CV a link to download a copy of your PhD thesis if it is available online.
  • a list of papers and conference contributions. At least one first-author publication is required to demonstrate the writing skills and scientific rigor of the candidate. Greater emphasis is laid on the quality rather than the number of publications.
  • the names and contact details of 2-3 persons who are available to act as references for you upon request.
  • authorized copies of your degrees, transcripts and other relevant documents (merits) can be included as well. All original documents to be submitted must be issued in English or Swedish, or else notarized translations must be provided. Please do not attach any manuscripts, papers, or irrelevant certificates as these will not be considered as part of your application.

About the employment
The position is for 2 years in the first instance, with potential extension for additional year upon satisfactory performance. Scope of employment full time/100 %. Starting date 1st of February 2023 or shortly after upon agreement. Place: Uppsala

Pay and benefits
A monthly salary is paid on an individual basis. Annual paid leave up to 28-31 days, excluding weekends and public holidays. Opportunities for personal development, including language courses, supervision and leadership training, travel grants, and so on.

For further information about the position please contact
Dr. Habtom D. Asfaw,

Please submit your application by 2 January 2023, UFV-PA 2022/4447.

Please note that this position will remain open for a minimum of 14 days, after which it may close if enough number of qualified candidates is identified. Interviews of shortlisted candidates will be scheduled shortly after, and you must be available to meet via Zoom.

All applications will receive equal consideration.

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Submit your application through Uppsala University's recruitment system.

Placement: Department of Chemistry - Ångström Laboratory

Type of employment: Full time , Temporary position longer than 6 months

Pay: Fixed salary

Number of positions: 1

Working hours: 100%

Town: Uppsala

County: Uppsala län

Country: Sweden

Union representative: Seko Universitetsklubben

Number of reference: UFV-PA 2022/4447

Last application date: 2023-01-02

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