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Postdoc­toral Re­searcher in Phys­ical Chemistry / Food Materials Science

Helsinki University

The University of Helsinki – among the best in the world

The University of Helsinki is one of the best multidisciplinary research universities in the world. In addition to its 11 faculties, the University of Helsinki includes several independent institutes, some of which are jointly operated with other universities. The University of Helsinki is an international academic community of 40,000 students and staff members. It operates on four campuses in Helsinki and at 15 other locations.

The Food Materials Science research group, led by Associate Professor Kirsi Mikkonen, is in the Department of Food and Nutrition, one of the six units of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.

The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry is located on the Viikki campus, ten kilometres from the Helsinki city centre. 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.

This Food Materials Science group focuses on characterizing and valorizing bioproduction side streams for food and packaging materials and is currently seeking for a


The postdoctoral researcher will be appointed for a fixed-term 2 year contract to work in an European Research Council funded project entitled “PARTIFACE”. This project aims to develop highly functional stabilizers drawing on sustainable materials such as those derived by biomass. In particular, the project will use two abundant (yet poorly exploited) biopolymers – lignin and hemicelluloses – to produce a novel type of Janus particles called bifacial Janus particles.

We are looking for a highly motivated and skilled postdoctoral researcher with a PhD degree and experience in food/ chemical sciences, physical chemistry, material science, or other related fields. The postdoctoral researcher is expected to contribute to research on lignocellulosic materials and colloid science with a strong background in relevant techniques relevant to physicochemical characterisation (e.g. Atomic Force Microscopy). The appointed researcher will work in collaboration with the other members of the Food Materials Science research group and will be supervised by the team leader Assoc. Prof. Kirsi Mikkonen.

A successful candidate should be able to:
• Identify, design, conduct, and report research on lignocellulosic characterization from a physical, chemical, and applied material perspective.
• Contribute to proposal writing to apply for further research funding.
• Contribute to master/doctoral student supervision and teaching of food science or chemistry.
• Engage with the scientific community, research partners and the wider public, internationally and domestically through scientific publications, conference presentations, press releases, blogs etc.

The candidate is expected to have:

Education, experience and technical skills
• A doctoral degree and experience in food/ chemical sciences, physical chemistry, colloid science, material, or other related fields
• Fluency in English and excellent writing skills.
• Experience in working with biopolymers.

Personal attributes and competencies
• Interest in basic and applied science.
• Excellent analytical and innovative research planning skills.
• Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, experienced in working within multicultural and multidisciplinary teams.
• High motivation for academic research, having initiative and capable of working independently as well as in team environments.
• Values continuous improvement based on constructive evaluation, self-reflection and learning.
• Flexible mindset and ability to work together and communicate with people from different disciplines.

The salary of the postdoctoral researcher will be based on level 5 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on personal performance. The starting salary of the postdoctoral researcher will be ca. 3200–3500 euros/month, depending on the appointees’ qualifications and experience. The University of Helsinki offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and health insurance, sports facilities, and opportunities for professional development. The International Staff Services office ( assists employees from abroad with their transition to work and life in Finland. A six-month trial period will be applied.

The attachment required for the application include (preferable in a single pdf-file):

1) A cover letter explaining the applicant’s motivation for the research work and a short research plan (e.g. approach, research materials and methods) (up to 3 pages).
2) Curriculum vitae showing the applicant’s education, completed qualifications, work experience, possible list of publications and contact information of 2 persons for references (up to 3 pages).
3) Copies of Doctoral, Master’s, and Bachelor’s degree certificates and official transcripts of the records, and their translations, if the originals are not in Finnish, Swedish or English.

Please submit your application through the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the link Apply for the position. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to leave their application by signing to

The closing date for applications is 17 October 2021 at 23:59 EEST.

Further information about the positions may be obtained from Associate Professor Kirsi Mikkonen (kirsi.s.mikkonen(at)

Due date

17.10.2021 23:59 EEST

Apply for the position

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