Doctoral Student in First Principles Modelling of Photocatalytic Nanomaterials
University of Oulu Faculty of Science

Doctoral Student in First Principles Modelling of Photocatalytic Nanomaterials

The North changes the world – more sustainable, more intelligent, more humane. We at the University of Oulu work as part of the international science community to produce new scientific information and science-based solutions. We are committed to educate future pioneers to build a more sustainable, intelligent and humane world. Creating new, taking responsibility and succeeding together build strong foundation in all our actions. We offer a working environment where individuals can cultivate their skills, do meaningful work, and develop professionally. Our university's several specialized research and service units enable extensive and diverse development and career opportunities for experts in various fields.

Kvantum Institute is one of the four strategic focus institutes supporting high-quality research, coordinating multidisciplinary research activities and doctoral training. Kvantum’s science-based expertise meets global challenges in the focus areas Sustainable materials and systems and Changing climate and northern environment. The Institute promotes interdisciplinary networking of research groups as well as co-operation between groups and national and international partners.

We are now looking for a Doctoral Student in first principles modelling of photocatalytic nanomaterials for Electronic Level Understanding of Transition Metal Based Heterojunction Catalysis (NANOCAT) in Nano and Molecular Systems Resarch Unit (NANOMO).

The candidate will be focusing on first principles calculations for analyzing the structure, bond formation, short- and long-range interactions, reaction dynamics, and reaction driving forces in radical and product formation of heterojunction photocatalysts for hydrogen production and water purification. The calculations are expected to provide the optimized electronic structure and understanding of the undergoing working mechanism for the charge and energy transfer in these heterojunction systems. The theoretical work will be used to confirm experimental results within the project, and for unveiling the catalytic mechanism on the quantum mechanical level. The work will be performed as a part of an international and multidisciplinary research team combining both experiments and theory. Your other tasks include publishing the results in leading international scientific journals as well as contributing to the teaching and supervision activities of the NANOMO research unit.

Description of the research environment

Nano and Molecular Systems Research unit ( is a highly international research environment presently formed by 2 professors, 3 associate professors (tenure track) and around 40 other researchers. The focus is on molecular scale materials physics and novel applications of spectroscopic and imaging techniques. The research topics include electronic structure research especially in nanomaterials, functional materials (steel, CO2 negative materials, nanocatalytes for sustainability), biomedical research, mesoscopic quantum structures in materials, and physics didactics. The main external funding sources are the European Union ERC, Horizon2020 programs, EU EIT-RawMaterials, BusinessFinland European Regional Development Funds, Academy of Finland and other national and international funds. The unit coordinates Finnish national participation in the MAX IV facility, participates in operation of the FinEstBeAMS beamline, and contributes to the European Free Electron Laser Eu-XFEL project.

Requirements for the post

MSc in physics or chemistry (or another field relevant for the subject area)
The degree must be completed with good grades, latest by the start of the employment
Good proficiency in the English language (both written and spoken)
Good communication skills and the ability to work as a part of team and independently

Assesment criteria and other qualifications

The candidates will be evaluated based on their qualifications, suitability for the research topic, and potential as researchers. The following merits are seen as a strong advantage:

Familiarity with atomistic simulations

Experience in density functional theory, for example as implemented in the VASP package
Experience of photocatalytic materials, especially for hydrogen production or water purification

What we offer

You will become a part of a highly talented research, working on strategically and globally significant research area
You will receive support from your team and supervisor, so that you can excel in your studies and research
In addition to modern research facilities, we offer you personnel benefits such as occupational healthcare and affordable sport services
A 4 year doctoral student position and salary in accordance with the Finnish universities salary system (for teaching and research personnel): Doctoral Student demand level 2 – 4. In addition, a salary component based on personal work performance will be paid (maximum of 50% of the job-specific component). Typical starting salary for a Doctoral Student is approx. 2350€ per month (before taxes). A trial period of six months will be applied

How to apply

Applications, together with all relevant enclosures, should be submitted using the electronic application form by January 15th, 2021 at 23:59 (Finnish local time). The application should be written in English and include the following:

1) A motivation letter (max. 2 pages) summarizing applicant’s professional experience and expertise and describing why applicant is interested in this position. Also, information on personal research interests, experience and career plans are valuable to provide here

2) Curriculum vitae (max. 4 pages) in accordance with the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity

3) List of publications based on the guidelines of the Academy of Finland

4) Certificates/Diplomas: Scanned copy of the original Master's degree certificate and transcript of records and, when necessary, official translations to Finnish or English

5) Contact information of two senior/experienced researchers who may be asked to give a statement on the candidate

Only applications containing all relevant appendices and submitted through portal will be considered.

Top candidates will be invited to an on-site or remote interview.

Further information

Professor Matti Alatalo
NANOMO Research Unit

City of Oulu

The Oulu region is home to over 200 000 people making it the largest urban centre in northern Scandinavia and one of the fastest growing regions in Finland. Oulu is a combination of beautiful, clean, northern nature, vivid cultural life and modern technology. Oulu is also known for its highly-educated people and friendly, easy-going atmosphere. Find out more about Oulu:



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