Doctoral Researcher, The Optics of Photosynthesis Lab

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 30 Sep 2022

The Optics of Photosynthesis Lab at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry is looking for a motivated doctoral researcher to investigate and model the long-term regulation of photosynthetic energy partitioning in leaves, as part of the Academy of Finland Funded project “Resolved optical ecophysiology: leaf level (REDEYE), 2022-2026”.


REDEYE aims at developing measurement protocols (combining gas-exchange, spectral reflectance and chlorophyll fluorescence) for the quantitative estimation of the photosynthetic energy partitioning in leaves and under natural field conditions. These protocols will be deployed in the field using an innovative autonomous system and the resulting data used to improve and adapt a process-based modelling framework for the light-carbon reactions of photosynthesis.

Together with team members, the doctoral researcher will contribute to the development of these protocols and their subsequent long-term implementation in the field. The position includes lab experimentation, long-term field work at our highly instrumented SMEAR-II Station in Southern Finland (link), and modelling activities for the assimilation of long-term chlorophyll fluorescence and reflectance data into a process-based model. The modelling component will be done in collaboration with Dr. Jen Johnsson (Carnegie Science, US), Prof. Lianhong Gu (Oak Ridge National Lab, US), and Dr. Shari van Wittenberghe (Uni. Valencia, ESP), and it includes a stay in the US. The candidate will also have the opportunity to interact and network with a wide range of national and international collaborators to supporting the project.

The position is based in the Department of Forest Sciences ( ), one of the World’s leading institutes developing multidisciplinary expertise in the field of Forest Sciences (ranked 4th globally in the field of Forestry). In addition, the PhD student will join a thriving, open and diverse community as part of our Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR, ), Viikki Plant Science Center (VIPS, ), and Atmospheric and Climate Competence Center Flagship (ACCC, ).

The University of Helsinki is an equal opportunity workplace committed to advance wellbeing and diversity in science and education. We welcome applicants from a variety of genders, linguistic and cultural backgrounds, and minorities. We also support the compatibility of work and family-life and promote gender equality in science.

The successful candidate must be eligible to pursue doctoral studies leading to a doctoral degree from the Helsinki University, or this right must be successfully applied for during the trial period (see eligibility requirements from the ATM-DP link below). The student is expected to join our multidisciplinary Doctoral Program in Atmospheric Sciences (ATM-DP, ). A research plan and other application materials will be prepared together with the PhD supervisor(s) in the beginning of the employment period.

The doctoral student’s salary will be based on levels 2–4 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities, gradually increasing over time as the PhD progresses. Project funding is available until the 30.8.2026 but additional extension funding can be acquired. A six month trial period will be applied.


We are looking for a highly motivated doctoral researcher with:

  • A MSc. Degree in plant-related sciences (Forest sciences, agricultural sciences, plant biology, Environmental Sciences, or alike).
  • Excellent communication and writing skills
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a multidisciplinary research team
  • Demonstrable intermediate-to-advance knowledge in at least one programming environment (e.g. Matlab, R, or Python).

In addition, previous experience with any of the following items will be positively considered during the selection process:

  • Ecophysiological methods (photosynthetic gas exchange, PAM fluorescence, foliar analysis)
  • Leaf spectroscopy (i.e. reflectance, absorption or fluorescence spectroscopy)
  • Participation in laboratory and field experimental campaigns.
  • Participation in the preparation of scientific articles or other materials.


Applications must enclose the following documents in a single pdf file in either English or Finnish:

  • Letter of motivation, including a brief introduction of your background (covering the requirement points above) (max 600 words)
  • Academic CV
  • Copy of your MSc certificate and transcript of courses
  • Names and e-mail addresses of two referees. 
  • External applicants, please submit your application using the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the provided link (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 deadline for applications is 30.9.2022 at 23:59 EEST and the tentative starting date 1.11.2022 or as early as possible.


    For further information on the position please contact Professor Albert Porcar-Castell ( )

    For further information on the recruitment process and recruitment system please contact HR Coordinator ( ) or HR Specialist Mirkka Juntunen ( )

    The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry is located on the Viikki campus. 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.

    The Department of Forest Sciences is a unit under the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, which employs circa 100 individuals. The Department conducts research of a high international standard in the forest sciences and provides the highest education based on this research. The focus areas of the Department’s research and teaching are forest ecology and forest resource management as well as forest economics, business and society. The goal of the Department’s multidisciplinary operations is to provide teaching in the sustainability and sustainable use of forests, as well as conduct related scholarly research and public engagement. The Faculty grants Bachelor and Master of Science (Agriculture and Forestry) degrees, as well as Doctor of Science (Agriculture and Forestry) degrees in the University’s doctoral programmes. The Department’s degree programmes have roughly 350 undergraduate and 60 postgraduate students. The Department of Forest Sciences is active in its public engagement and it has a long history of successful collaboration with research institutes in the field, other universities, public administration and businesses both nationally and internationally.

    View or Apply

    Similar Positions