Doctoral Researcher in Material science/Chemistry

Helsinki, Finland
18 May 2023
End of advertisement period
12 Jun 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Doctoral Researcher in Material science/Chemistry

The Doctoral researcher will be appointed for a fixed-term 4-year contract (Start date: September 1, 2023) to work in a project entitled “LignoGels: Lignin-based Hydrogels for Drug Delivery and Wound Dressings”. The position will be supervised by Dr. Patrícia Figueiredo (Food and nutrition) and Professor Kirsi Mikkonen (Food and nutrition), one of the six units of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.

The LignoGels project relies on the valorization of the underexploited lignocellulosic materials to develop lignin-based hydrogels/microneedles for cancer immunotherapy and wound healing. Different grades of lignin with distinct composition and properties will be used to prepare the lignin nanoparticles, and evaluate their influence on immunostimulative and antibacterial effect. We aim to incorporate these lignin nanoparticles into hydrogel/microneedles structures based on natural polymers (e.g., hemicelluloses, gelatin) containing the therapeutic agents for local administration, maximizing the retention time and therapeutic efficiency of the nanoplatforms. After initial characterization, the biosafety and therapeutic effect of the formulations will be evaluated both in vitro and in vivo for potential biomedical applications. This project represents a green and cheaper alternative to the conventional therapies, providing innovative and cost-effective platforms for cancer immunotherapy and wound healing, along with a more sustainable application of Earth’s resources.


We are looking for a highly motivated and skilled researcher with a Master’s degree and experience in material science, chemistry, nanotechnology, biochemistry, molecular biology, or related field.

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 candidate is expected to have:

Education, experience and technical skills

  • A relevant Master’s degree including experience in material science, chemistry, nanotechnology, biochemistry, and/or molecular biology.
  • Fluency in English and excellent writing skills.
  • Experience in working with material characterization and cell culture.
  • Experience in working with biomass-based materials is desirable.

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 candidate 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 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 Doctoral researcher will be ca. 2200-2400 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.  six-month trial period will be applied.


Please submit your application as a single pdf file using the University of Helsinki Recruitment System.

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

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

The closing date for applications is 12 June 2023 at 23:59 EEST.

Further information about the position may be obtained from Dr. Patrícia Figueiredo (patricia.figueiredo(at), Professor Kirsi Mikkonen (kirsi.s.mikkonen(at), or Project Coordinator Troy Faithfull (troy.faithfull(at)


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.

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