PhD Student in Integrated Circuit Design - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action SMArT | Aalto University

Updated: 18 days ago

The Electronic Circuit Design group at the Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering, Aalto University, Finland, is currently seeking to hire two

PhD Students in Integrated Circuit Design - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action SMArT | Aalto University

The Early Stage Researcher (ESR) will join the European Union funded SMArT project aimed at developing advanced technology for beyond-5G communication transceivers under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action International Training Networks (MSCA ITN) grant. The project is coordinated by Aalto University, in tight collaboration with Nokia Bell Labs, Belgium, and Tampere University, Finland. The ESRs will be employed by Aalto University and be enrolled in the doctoral degree program at the University. The ESRs will spend around 18 months at the Nokia Bell Labs research facility in Belgium during the course of the project. SMArT project offers an excellent research and training program, where ESRs will get an opportunity to join a network of researchers in the three participating organizations.

Project Background
Access to internet is a basic human right that allows everyone to create, access, utilize, and share information and knowledge, which empowers individuals and improves the quality of life. The significantly lower rate of the wired broadband deployment in rural areas compared to urban areas due to the low economic viability for the operators is causing a very large broadband divide, that leads to a knowledge-divide between urban and rural areas. A promising solution is to devise extensions to the 5G LTE technology to provide ultra fast fixed wireless broadband access to rural area, which can be done with a central 5G base station communicating wirelessly to a home outdoor modem, leading to lower investment as the mobile operators can re-use the 5G base station infrastructure instead of laying underground cables over the rural terrain.

The transceiver design for a regular mobile user equipment in 5G systems is already very challenging due to techniques like Massive MIMO and Beamforming that are integral part of the 5G standard. When this is combined with the ultra-wide bandwidth specification required to achieve the desired data rate as well as the constraints imposed by the power budget of the home outdoor modem, the design of transceiver circuits for the proposed system becomes extremely challenging. Complete CMOS integration of such systems, which is beneficial for power and cost reduction, is hindered by the limitations of voltage/current-domain signal representation strategy in conventional analog/mixed-mode circuit design, that does not fully exploit the benefits of technology scaling and the superior time resolution offered by modern nanometer-scale CMOS processes. SMArT project aims to bring a paradigm shift in analog design by maximally utilizing time-based signal representation techniques to solve the challenges of beyond-5G transceiver design. SMArT will develop the necessary theoretical foundation, ground-breaking architectural innovations, and circuit techniques in this regard. The scope is limited to transmitter due to the limited resources.

One of the ESRs will develop advanced wideband digital-intensive transmitter architectures by investigating and applying time-domain signal representation/processing techniques. The second ESR will investigate suitable switch-mode power amplifier topologies and circuit techniques in tight collaboration with the ESR working on transmitter architecture development and a third ESR (recruited through a separate call) investigating suitable digital pre-distortion technologies.

Research group
The Electronic Circuit Design (ECD) unit of the Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering at the School of Electrical Engineering, Aalto University, Finland, is recognized as one of the best in Europe. Close to thirty years of our research in the area of RF, analog, and digital integrated circuits have produced outstanding outcomes, and we have a strong network of collaborators and funding sources in both industry and academia. The ECD group has three professors (Jussi Ryynänen, Kari Halonen, and Martin Andraud), three senior researchers, and about 20 doctoral candidates and research assistants working with state-of-the-art research facilities. Researchers of the unit have received several awards in highly recognized international conferences, and we publish around 10-20 papers annually.

Major responsibilities
Your major responsibility as an ESR (Early Stage Researcher) is to carry out high-quality scientific research, and to disseminate the research results in leading scientific journals and conferences. This includes developing scientific concepts, demonstration of the concepts through design and measurement of integrated circuit prototypes in advanced technology nodes, and communicating the research results both verbally and in writing. As a researcher, you will be registered as a PhD candidate at Aalto University.

Project and employment details

  • EU Research framework program: EU H2020, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions , ITN
  • Grant agreement number: 860921
  • Job title: Early Stage Researcher (PhD candidate)
  • Topic 1 (ESR 1): Digital-intensive wideband transmitter architecture
  • Topic 2 (ESR 2): Switch-mode power amplifier architectures
  • Recruiting organization/Company: Aalto University
  • Primary location: Helsinki, Finland (with secondment of around 18 months at Nokia Bell Labs, Belgium)
  • Research field: Integrated Circuit Design, RF circuits, Circuits and Systems, Signal Processing
  • Research profile: First Stage Researcher (R1)
  • Type of contract: temporary – maximum up to 4 years
  • Doctoral program enrollment: Aalto University
  • Duration: The PhD funding within SMArT will be for a maximum of three years. There is some flexibility on the start date of each studentship.
  • Remuneration: The researchers will receive a full salary in line with the rules for European Industrial Doctorates including contributions to the pension scheme and health care. The salary is very competitive (starting approximately from 3300€ per month) and composed of the following allowances: living, mobility and family (if applicable).

Candidate profile
You have or are about to obtain a Master of Science or equivalent degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, or related fields. High average grade as well as excellent grades in courses on electronics are appreciated. You are highly motivated to pursue scientific research in the field of integrated circuit design. Some relevant industry design experience after Master’s degree is a plus, but not necessary. Your background and interests can be in any field of integrated circuit design. In addition, advantageous is if you have

  • knowledge of analog & mixed-signal design flow, CMOS technology flavors for high speed & low power design.
  • experience with simulation and synthesis tools, such as Cadence Virtuoso, Synopsys DC, Cadence Innovus/Encounter, Matlab, etc.
  • experience with hardware description languages (e.g. VHDL, Verilog) and scripting languages (e.g. Python, TCL) is a plus.
  • knowledge in signal processing is a plus, but not necessary at the time of recruitment.

In addition, you need to meet the following requirements to be considered for this post:

a) Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) shall at the time of recruitment by the host organisation be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him or her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited.

b) At the time of recruitment by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country (Finland) of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the three years immediately prior to the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status (under the 1951 Geneva Convention and the 1967 Protocol) are not taken into account. We, however, encourage befitting candidates in Finland to contact us as well, since we have similar open positions within the project framework in other countries, where the candidates may be able to apply. Early-Stage Researchers must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers, starting at the date of obtaining the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate.

If considered for the position, you will be requested to prove that you comply with those requirements.

How to apply

Please submit your application through our recruiting system by using "Apply now!" link below and include the following documents in English

  • Letter of motivation & a brief description of your research interests
  • Course transcripts of Master’s studies with grades and Certificate of Master’s degree. If degree certificate is not yet obtained, state the expected finish date for studies in the letter of motivation. Please include a complete academic record (credits and grades), including information on the grade point average, the maximum possible grade in the grading system that is in use at your university as well as the minimum passing grade. If possible, provide also a ranking within your class.
  • Curriculum Vitae (including the list of publications if any)
  • References (attach recommendation letters or share names and contact information of two researchers that we can contact)

We will fill in the positions after the application deadline 8.11.2020. The position start date is as soon as possible.

Please note, your application may be circulated within the consortium members as part of the hiring process.

More information
If you wish to hear more about the position, please contact Dr. Vishnu Unnikrishnan, firstname.lastname@aalto.fi or Professor Jussi Ryynanen, firstname.lastname@aalto.fi. In recruitment process relating questions, please contact HR Coordinator Annika Salmelin, firstname.lastname@aalto.fi.

About Aalto University
Aalto University is a community of bold thinkers where science and art meet technology and business. We are committed to identifying and solving grand societal challenges and building an innovative future. Aalto University has been ranked the 9th best young university in the world (Top 50 under 50, QS 2018) and one of the world’s top technology challenger universities (THE 2017), for its outside-the-box thinking on research collaboration, funding and innovation. Aalto has six schools with nearly 11 000 students and 4000 employees of whome close to 400 are professors. Our main campus is located in Espoo, capital area of Finland.

We believe that people from diverse backgrounds can together reach the best results. Diversity is part of who we are: for example, over 40% of our academic faculty comes from outside Finland. We warmly encourage qualified candidates from all backgrounds, especially minorities, to apply, as we want to ensure our community’s diversity and inclusiveness in the future as well. We are committed to equal and transparent recruitment procedures.

At Aalto, high-quality research, art, education and entrepreneurship are promoted hand in hand. Disciplinary excellence is combined with multidisciplinary activities, engaging both students and the local innovation ecosystem. Our main campus is quickly transforming into an open collaboration hub that encourages encounters between students, researchers, industry, startups and other partners. Aalto University was founded in 2010 as three leading Finnish universities, Helsinki University of Technology, the Helsinki School of Economics and the University of Art and Design Helsinki, were merged to strengthen Finland’s innovative capability.

About Finland
Finland is a great place for living with or without family – it is a safe, politically stable and well organized Nordic society. Finland is consistently ranked high in quality of life and was just listed as the happiest country in the world: https://worldhappiness.report/ed/2020/social-environments-for-world-happiness/ . For more information about living in Finland: https://www.aalto.fi/services/about-finland


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