FinnCERES hiring 20 doctoral students / postdoctoral researchers


FinnCERES is the joint competence center for the materials bioeconomy between Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, funded by the Academy of Finland’s Flagship Programme. We aim to ensure our sustainable future by developing materials and applications for the future bioeconomy with a solid scientific foundation. FinnCERES provides a unique environment for executing high-quality research, simultaneously fostering industrial collaboration, supporting mobility and continuous self-development. At Aalto, the Flagship is centered in the School of Chemical Engineering, though it spans all six Schools of Aalto. At VTT, the Flagship spans the whole organization, however, focusing strongly on solutions for natural resources and environment as well as knowledge-intensive products and services areas.

FinnCERES is broadening its operations and looking for 20 talented and motivated doctoral students or postdoctoral researchers. The appointments are available immediately.

FinnCERES addresses some of the most urgent global megatrends, such as resource sufficiency, climate change, and quality of life. We aim to turn these challenges to opportunities and solutions that are built on scientific discoveries. Specifically, the purpose of FinnCERES is to develop process technologies for forest biomass to create novel added-value materials and products for applications in packaging, textiles, energy storage, and electronics, among others.

We are looking for talents from a broad range of suitable backgrounds, for example in chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science, bioengineering, applied physics, or sustainability science, to work on the following themes:

A. Interactions and modelling

    • Solvent interactions with cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin
    • Multiscale architecture of lignocellulose, access to structure
    • Modelling of complex biomaterial systems

B. Biomass fractionation and modification

    • Processing and fractionation of plant biomass
    • Biological and chemical modification

C. Structured materials

    • Development of structured and/or light-weight materials, textiles, biocomposites
    • Bio-based materials as plastic alternatives
    • Design and consumer-driven approaches to bio-based products

D. Advanced materials and products

    • Bio-based solutions for water and/or air purification, electronics, energy
    • New business models for future bio-based products
    • Sustainable engineering of bio-based products

Job description

The applicants should send a short research plan describing how they would contribute to the research done in FinnCERES (select a topic related to the themes mentioned above). Selected applicants will be allocated to supervisors from the FinnCERES pool of experts at either Aalto University or VTT; the majority of the open positions are hosted at Aalto. The applicants may indicate their preferred supervisor(s) and host organization in the research plan, if known at the time of application, which will be taken into account if they are selected.

The primary tasks of selected doctoral students are to carry out research and make satisfactory progress towards a doctoral degree. Our target is that the doctoral students will acquire the doctoral degree in four years.

The primary tasks of selected postdoctoral researchers are to carry out research and actively help to seek external funding. In addition, at Aalto University, they are expected to instruct doctoral and undergraduate students.

All positions are fixed-term and filled initially for one probationary year. The postdoc positions may be extended for one to two additional years, and the doctoral student positions may be extended for a total of four years.


As a successful applicant, you should have a strong interest in lignocellulose-based materials, a proven track record of studies, and a suitable background in, for example, chemistry, chemical engineering, materials science, bioengineering, applied physics, or sustainability science. You should have strong ambition for applied research and creating results that can be further exploited for industrial or societal benefit. In addition, in Aalto positions, you should have the interest and the ability to contribute to teaching tasks.

Doctoral student candidates will apply for the right to study for doctoral studies at Aalto University. Thus, please check the application criteria from Aalto Into in each of the six Aalto Schools or student services. In particular, please pay attention to the mandatory skill level in English. The applicants must possess a Master’s degree in a relevant field.

The requirements for the postdoctoral researcher candidates include a doctoral degree in a suitable field and a proven publication record. Applicants should have good written and oral communication skills in English, experience carrying out independent project-based work, and working in a highly collaborative environment.


The salary is determined according to the salary systems of Aalto University and VTT and depends on the candidate’s experience and qualifications. Employment includes occupational health care and social security benefits.

Ready to apply?

The call is now closed and we are currently reviewing the applicants. Thank you for your interest in the positions!

All materials should be submitted in English. Aalto University reserves the right for justified reasons to leave the position open, to extend the application period, and to consider candidates who have not yet submitted applications during the open application period.


For more information

For additional information, please contact FinnCERES Research PIs Professor Orlando Rojas, email (use this format): or Research Professor Tekla Tammelin, email (use this format):
Note: Only applications sent through the links above will be considered. No feedback will be provided on the research plans of the applicants. The research plans will be used to evaluate the applicants and their area of knowledge. The selected applicants will not necessarily work in the area suggested in their research plan.

In recruitment process related questions, please contact HR Coordinator Sanni Mero, or HR Manager Merja Kariniemi,


Espoo 27 May 2019



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 six schools with 12 000 students and nearly 400 professors. Our campus is located in Espoo, Finland.

Aalto’s activities are guided by integrity – honesty, equality, impartiality, and respect for others. As such, it is everyone’s responsibility in the university community to promote equality. FinnCERES is thus dedicated to attracting the best applicants to join us in building a diverse center that embraces a sustainable, science-driven future for all.

Aalto University – a community of bold thinkers.


VTT is a visionary research, development and innovation partner. We drive sustainable growth and tackle the biggest global challenges of our time and turn them into growth opportunities. We go beyond the obvious to help the society and companies to grow through technological innovations.

We have over 75 years of experience of top-level research and science-based results. VTT´s turnover and other operating income is 258 M€. VTT is at the sweet spot where innovation and business come together.

VTT – beyond the obvious.