Postdoctoral Researcher in Designing Virtual Reality Environments for Green Travel Experiments

Helsinki, Finland
13 Feb 2023
End of advertisement period
30 Mar 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

The Digital Geography Lab is an interdisciplinary research group at the Faculty of Science, focused on spatial (big) data analytics on a human scale to support the planning of fair and sustainable societies. Most of the Lab’s research uses people’s mobility and accessibility as a tool to understand the interactions between people, and people and their environment. As a postdoctoral researcher, you will benefit from the stimulating research environment of the University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geosciences and Geography, and the research lab that emphasises scientific rigor, creative and critical thinking, and mutual support and respect. "It's fun and cool to work here!"

GREENTRAVEL (Greener Travel Environments for Everyone – from measured wellbeing impacts to Big Data analytics) is an ERC funded project that will operate within the Digital Geography Lab for 5 years, from the year 2023 onwards. The project team of five researchers will aim at producing groundbreaking knowledge on the associations between green travel environments and wellbeing. Furthermore, the researchers will inspect how equally accessible good travel environments are for urban populations during daily trips. The project will apply a broad variety of state- of-the-art methods including spatial big data analytics, computer vision and experimentation in Virtual Reality and in-situ real environments to produce knowledge that can advance the good, healthy and sustainable urban environments for all. The work is carried out in several cities. It starts from the Helsinki region and later expands to several other European cities.

Faculty of Science invites applications for a POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER IN DESIGNING VIRTUAL REALITY ENVIRONMENTS FOR GREEN TRAVEL EXPERIMENTS starting from May 2023, or as agreed, for a two-year fixed-term employment contract.

Position description

The postdoctoral researcher focuses on designing virtual reality (VR) environments with varying greenery features and seasons to be used for controlled experiments of greenery exposure during travel. The postdoctoral researcher will participate in the experimentations in various study cities together with the rest of the project team. Depending on the expertise and interest, the postdoctoral researcher may also contribute to the other parts of the project. E.g., skills in computer vision allow participation in creating human perspective indicators of urban greenery that could be widely applicable in urban planning in the future. Overall, the postdoctoral researcher is welcomed to take part in the Lab activities at large, and may teach and supervise students in the Geography Master’s Programme or Urban Studies and Planning Programme.

Requirements and eligibility criteria

We seek for a postdoctoral researcher with advanced technical skills and scientific curiosity. The postdoctoral researcher is expected to have the ability to conduct independent scientific research and technical development collaboratively in a multidisciplinary research environment. The postdoctoral researcher should have a doctoral degree in computer science, engineering, architecture design or any relevant field offering the skills for VR development. We look for an advanced and proven expertise in designing realistic and adjustable Virtual Reality environments, e.g. using game engines such as Unity. Furthermore, we value expertise in other methods relevant for the GREENTRAVEL project, including statistics, computer vision, spatial big data mining and spatial modelling. Experience with scientific experimentation using VR environments and working with green spaces is considered an additional merit. We also value good scientific and interpersonal communication skills, and the ability to produce scientific text efficiently.

The candidates’ doctoral degree must have been granted by the awarding institution prior to the date for the job interviews. Furthermore, the doctoral degree is expected to have been granted no more than five years prior to application (2017 or later). The five-year limit may be exceeded for particularly compelling reasons (for instance parental leave or military service) and is subject to negotiation.

We welcome applicants with a variety of gender identities, and linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Salary and benefits

The starting salary of the postdoctoral researcher will be ca. 3600-3800 euros/month, depending on the appointees’ qualifications and experience. Furthermore, the University of Helsinki offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care, sports facilities, and opportunities for professional development.

Finland is a member of EU, has high quality free schooling (also in English), generous family benefits and healthcare, and was recently ranked as the happiest country in the world. Finland and the Helsinki region possess top expertise in sciences in terms of a vibrant talent pool, leading research, strong support services and functioning collaboration networks. For more information about working at the University of Helsinki and living in Finland, please see

How to apply?

Please submit your application, which includes the following documents in English:

  • A motivation letter explaining your interest towards the post and highlighting your relevant experience
  • Curriculum vitae, including a description of the methodological skills (max. 3 pages)
  • List of publications (max. 2 pages)
  • Other relevant documentation, such as scientific portfolio
  • Names and contact details of one to three referees

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

Applicants who have a username and a valid employment/grant/visitor contract at the University of Helsinki are requested to submit their application via the Employee login button.

Deadline for the applications is 30 March 2023, but we will start processing the applications on 18 February 2023. The position will be filled once a suitable candidate is found.

More information?

For further information on the project and our Lab activities more broadly, please see

For project and position related questions, please contact Professor Tuuli Toivonen (, or @TuuliToivonen on Twitter).

For experiences on the Digital Geography Lab as a work place, feel free to contact any of the lab members:

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