Doctoral Researcher in Material Science / Soft Matter Chemistry / Biomaterials

The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry at the University of Helsinki invites applications for the position of a Doctoral Researcher in Material Science / Soft Matter Chemistry / Biomaterials


The Doctoral researcher will be appointed for a fixed-term 4-year contract (Start date: September 1, 2024 or as agreed) to work in a project entitled “Additive manufacturing of wood-based biomass materials for life science application - BioMat”. The position will be supervised by Dr. Mina Zare and Professor Kirsi Mikkonen, at the Department of Food and Nutrition which is one of the six units of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.


Lignin, the second most abundant natural polymer, holds great promise as a renewable alternative to fossil-based materials. The focus of the project is on understanding the interactions of lignocellulosic nanoparticles with protein-based biopolymers and using them to create bio-hydrogels with optimized properties for additive manufacturing and life-science applications.


Doctoral researcher: We are looking for a highly motivated and skilled researcher with a Master’s degree and experience in material science, polymer chemistry, additive manufacturing (3D-printing), biomedical science, or related fields.


A successful candidate should be able to:

  • Identify, design, conduct, and report research within the scope of the project.
  • Contribute to undergraduate student supervision and teaching within the department.
  • Engage with the scientific community, research partners and the wider public, internationally and domestically through scientific publications, conference presentations, press releases, blogs etc.


The appointee is expected to have:


Education, experience and technical skills

  • A strong background in materials chemistry or polymer chemistry, and a very good hands-on experience in hydrogel and biopolymer.
  • Experience with 3D printing techniques, surface modification of nanoparticles, and physicochemical characterization methods.
  • Previous experience in cellular assays and biological characterization of nanomaterials would be an asset.
  • Fluency in English and excellent writing skills.



Personal attributes and competencies

  • Interest in basic and applied science.
  • Excellent analytical and innovative research planning skills.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving 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.


The appointee should either already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki by the start of the appointment or apply for the right and obtain it within the probationary period of six months of their appointment. If the appointee does not already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, it must be applied for separately, please see:


The starting salary of the Doctoral researcher will be based on level 2 of the requirement 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 Doctoral researcher will be ca. 2400-2600 euros/month, depending on the appointees’ qualifications and experience. A six-month trial period will be applied.


The University of Helsinki offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and health insurance, unemployment and pension fund, a generous holiday package, sports facilities, and opportunities for professional development (



1) A cover letter explaining the applicant’s motivation for the research work in addition to the description of the techniques/methodologies employed in previous research experiences


2) A short research plan (e.g. approach, research materials and methods) (up to 3 pages) Note: Applications without the research plan will not be considered.


3) 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).


4) Copies of 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.


External applicants, please submit your application using the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the 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 button.


The University of Helsinki welcomes applicants from a variety of genders, linguistic and cultural backgrounds.


The closing date for applications is 31 July 2024 at 23:59 EEST.


Further information


About us

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.



The Department of Food and Nutrition is a one of the six departments of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. The Department employs about 140 people including 25 teaching positions.  We address the challenges of food system sustainability by researching and developing food ingredients and production methods that support the transition to a healthier and more sustainable diet. In our changing society, the need for research-based knowledge on food, diets and their health effects as well as the special needs of different consumer groups is growing. Food innovation activities are part of our teaching and research. The department hosts both the BSc and MSc programmes “Food Science” and the MSc programme “Human Nutrition and Food Related Behaviour”.


Do you have a username and a valid employment contract, a grant researcher's contract, a visiting researcher's or visiting professor's contract at the University of Helsinki? Log in here to apply to our open positions.

Open position

Due Date:  31.7.2024
Unit:  Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry
Sub-unit:  Department of Food and Nutrition
ID:  3320

Working for the world

Science has the power to change the world. Join one of the best research universities in the world – an international community united through bold thinking, science, research, and learning, with over 30,000 students and 8,000 employees.

We are defined by our multidisciplinary approach. This, combined with a dedication for cross-border collaboration, gives us our potential to find real solutions and build hope for a better, more sustainable future. 

We are united by our values – truth, bildung, freedom, and inclusivity – as well as our passion for work that truly matters. 

Join us: work for the future – work for the world.