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Postdoctoral Researcher and Two Doctoral Students

The University of Oulu is looking to recruit a Postdoctoral Researcher and two Doctoral Students for electronic level understanding of transition metal based heterojunction catalysis (NANOCAT)

  • Closing date: 01 Nov 2020
  • Finland | University of Oulu
  • Date posted: 08 Oct 2020
  • Job type: Academic: postdoc
  • Disciplines: Optics, lasers & photonics  | Materials science 

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 one Postdoctoral Researcher and two Doctoral Students for electronic level understanding of transition metal based heterojunction catalysis (NANOCAT)

Description of the positions

The Postdoctoral Researcher (in situ/operando characterization of photocatalytic nanomaterials) is focusing on advanced characterization of novel materials for photocatalysis. Your task is to utilize in situ/operando spectroscopic and microscopic characterization techniques to gain molecular level insight to fundamental physical and chemical properties of photocatalytic materials and processes. The work will be performed as a part of an international and multidisciplinary research team. Your other tasks include participating in international collaborations and relevant research projects at University of Oulu, publishing the results in leading international scientific journals, taking part in acquisition of external funding as well as contributing to the teaching and supervision activities of the NANOMO research unit. In addition, the postdoctoral researcher may participate in the administrative tasks of the research unit. Periods of international mobility may apply.

You are able to develop methods and instrumentation and carry out experimental work at international large-scale infrastructures such as synchrotron radiation facilities. Local instruments, including e.g. electron microscopes and spectrometers, and X-ray diffractometers and spectrometers will be also employed.

One Doctoral Student (first principles modelling of photocatalytic nanomaterials) will be focusing on first principles calculations for analysing 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.

One Doctoral Student (advanced characterization of photocatalytic nanomaterials) is focusing on characterization of transition metal-based heterojunction photocatalysts, quantification of photocatalytic reactions (water purification and hydrogen production) and related phenomena using several laboratory-based techniques such as UV-vis, PL, Raman, etc. The aim of the work is to provide quantitative, electronic-level understanding on the visible-light driven photocatalysts. 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 ECE and NANOMO research units.

Description of the research environment

Nano and Molecular Systems Research unit (http://www.nanomo.fi) is a highly international research environment presently formed by two professors, three 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 and ERDF 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.

The Environmental and Chemical Engineering unit (www.oulu.fi/environmentalengineering) at the Faculty of Technology is international and multidisciplinary group bringing together the expertise from inorganic chemistry, environmental engineering, catalysis, CFD-modelling, thermodynamic modeling, sustainability assessment and control engineering from 10 countries around the world. The major research field of ECE focuses on environmental catalysis. ECE has excellent track record on catalysis research and related projects (~20 publications/year, 1 M€ external research funding/year). The unit hosts facilities for catalyst preparation and characterization. In addition to conventional preparation methods the unit has two operando-capable research set-ups for the catalyst testing and characterization.

Selection and assessment criteria

Postdoctoral Researcher position:
Requirements for the post

  • PhD in physics or chemistry (or another field relevant for the subject area). Please note that your degree should be obtained within the last 10 years, latest by the start of the employment.
  • Demonstrated experience in spectroscopic materials characterization techniques and data-analysis.
  • Demonstrated experience/knowledge about the use of synchrotron radiation.
  • 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.

Other qualifications

  • Documented experience in (ultra-high) vacuum technology and/or instrumentation.
  • Documented experience in ambient-pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (APXPS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and/or X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and related data-analysis.
  • Documented experience of photocatalytic materials, especially for hydrogen production or water purification.
  • Experience in acquisition of extramural funding.
  • Experience from research environments other than University of Oulu.

The candidates will be evaluated based on their qualifications, suitability for the research topic, and potential as researchers. Quality and number of scientific publications, thesis supervision, activity in the scientific community and practical familiarity with the field in question will be used as selection criteria.

Doctoral Student position for first principles modelling of photocatalytic nanomaterials:
Requirements for the post

  • MSc in physics (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.
  • Assessment 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.

Doctoral Student position for advanced characterization of photocatalytic nanomaterials:
Requirements for the post

  • MSc in physics or physical 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.
  • Assessment 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:

  • Experience of spectroscopic techniques.
  • Experience in semiconductor physics.
  • 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.
  • Four-year position, beginning on 1 January 2021 (or as soon as possible thereafter).
  • A salary in accordance with the Finnish universities salary system (for teaching and research personnel): A Postdoctoral Researcher will be based on demand level 5–6 and a Doctoral Student 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 Postdoctoral Researcher is approx. €3400 per month (before taxes) and for a Doctoral Student 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 1 November 2020 at 23:59 (Finnish local time). The application should be written in English and include the following:

  • A motivation letter (max. two 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.
  • Curriculum vitae (max. four pages) in accordance with the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity http://www.tenk.fi/en/template-researchers-curriculum-vitae.
  • List of publications based on the guidelines of the Academy of Finland https://www.aka.fi/en/funding/apply-for-funding/az-index-of-application-guidelines/list-of-publications/.
  • A research plan, max. three pages (Postdoctoral Researcher position only).
  • Certificates/diplomas: Scanned copy of the original doctoral degree certificate (Postdoctoral Researcher position) or of the original Master’s degree certificate (Doctoral Student position) and transcript of records and, when necessary, official translations to Finnish or English.
  • 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

Postdoctoral Researcher in in situ/operando characterization of photocatalytic nanomaterials
Adjunct Professor Samuli Urpelainen
NANOMO Research Unit
e-mail: samuli.urpelainen@oulu.fi

Doctoral Student in first principles modelling of photocatalytic nanomaterials
Professor Matti Alatalo
NANOMO Research Unit
e-mail: matti.alatalo@oulu.fi

Doctoral Student in advanced characterization of photocatalytic nanomaterials
Adjunct Professor Satu Ojala
ECE Research Unit
e-mail: satu.ojala@oulu.fi

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Postdoctoral Researcher and Doctoral Student

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