Doctoral Position of Computer-Aided Realization of Photocatalysts in the ERC-Consolidator

University of Oulu Faculty of Science


A Doctoral Student (4 years) Position of Computer-Aided Realization of Photocatalysts in the ERC-Consolidator Grant CATCH

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 are values that build a strong foundation for all our actions. Our university's several specialized research and service units enable extensive and diverse development and career opportunities for experts in various fields. The university is an international scientific community, with 15,000 students and 3,000 employees. More information

Dimensionality defines the spatial extensions of matters, and photocatalysis accelerates photochemical processes in the presence of catalytic media. What will happen if photocatalysis meets the dimensional confinements that may reorganize whole photochemical process? In the ERC-Consolidator project “Cross-dimensional Activation of Two-Dimensional Semiconductors for Photocatalytic Heterojunctions” (CATCH), we are going to activate dimensionally unique 2D semiconductors as high-performance photocatalysts and break the deadlock of practical photocatalysis for sustainability of mankind.

We are now looking for a Doctoral Student in computer-aided realization of synthetic low-dimensional heterojunctions for photocatalysis.

The candidate will focus on photocatalyst synthesis based on computationally optimized structures for hydrogen production and/or water purification reactions. Guided by the computational predictions, experimental realization of the low-dimensional heterojunctions will be performed through various wet and dry methods. The synthesized materials are characterized by the candidate or with the help from other team members. The work will be performed as a part of an international and multidisciplinary research team dedicated both to experiment and theory. The tasks of the candidate also include publishing results in leading international scientific journals, obtaining course credits in according to the Ph.D training plan, and completing the Ph.D degree by the due time.

Description of the research environment

The work is carried out in the Functional Materials Group of Nano and Molecular Systems Research Unit (NANOMO, at University of Oulu. The group consists of one associate professor, four postdoctoral researcher and a Ph.D student. The group also has Business Finland Research-to-Business funding and EIT Raw Materials funding. The research of the group covers a wide domain in materials physics, with special emphasis on photocatalysis, bio-inspired surface treatment, and advanced metals.

The NANOMO research unit focuses on molecular scale materials physics and novel applications of spectroscopic and imaging techniques. The research topics include electronic structure research in nanomaterials, functional materials (e.g. steel, carbon negative materials, and nanocatalysts), 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 Laboratory synchrotron radiation facility, participates in the operation of the FinEstBeAMS beamline, and contributes to the European Free Electron Laser Eu-XFEL project.

Requirements for the position

MSc in physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, or other relevant field
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:

Good knowledge within atomistic simulations and density functional theory, for example as implemented in the VASP package
Experience in materials synthesis, through wet or dry methods
Good knowledge of catalytic processes occurring on inorganic materials

What we offer

You will be a part of a highly talented research supported by the European Research Council Consolidator grant.
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
A four year doctoral student position and salary in accordance with the Finnish universities salary system (for teaching and research personnel): Doctoral Student demand level 2 – 4. In addition, a personal salary component based on work performance will be paid (maximum of 50% of the job-specific component). Typical salary for a Doctoral Student is 2300- 2700 € per month (before taxes).
The position is expected to start from 01.05.2021. However, due to travel restrictions and COVID situation, a delay of couple of months may also be within considerations.

How to apply

Applications, together with all relevant appendices, should be submitted using the electronic application form by March 1st, 2021 at 23:59 (EET). The application should be written in English and include the following:

1) A motivation letter (max. 2 pages) summarizing the applicant’s professional experience and expertise and describing why the applicant is interested in this position. Also, information on personal research interests and career plans should be provided here

2) Curriculum vitae (max. 4 pages) in accordance with the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (see

3) List of publications based on the guidelines of the Academy of Finland (see

4) Certificates/Diplomas: Scanned copy of the original MSc degree certificate and transcript of records and, when necessary, official translations to Finnish or English. In case the degree is still in process, please give an official notification from the supervisor or faculty to address the estimated date of graduation.

5) 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

Scientific and academic issues please contact:

Associate Professor Wei Cao, the PI of the project CATCH


Management issues please contact:

Adj. Prof. Samuli Urpelainen, Senior Research Fellow


City of Oulu

The Oulu region is home to over 200 000 people making it the largest urban centre in northern Scandinavia and one of the fastest growing regions in Finland. Oulu is a combination of beautiful, northern nature, vivid cultural life and modern technology. Oulu is also known for its highly-educated people and friendly, easy-going atmosphere. Find out more about Oulu:

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