Postdoctoral Researcher (3 years) for Computational Predictions and Investigations of Heterojunctional Photocatalysts supported by 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 Postdoctoral Researcher (3 years) in computational predictions and investigations of heterojunctional photocatalysts.


The candidate will be focusing on computational predictions of most promising heterojunctional photocatalysts built on 2D semiconductors. Selections of hetero-sites, structural relaxations, electronic structure probation, and reaction intermediate identifications are expected to be carried out to justify materials suitability in water purification or hydrogen evolution. Fast screening of hetero-sites is expected to rely on machine learning algorithms while final prediction on density functional theory. The computational prediction is expected to act as a directional guidance to experimental realizations of these photocatalysts performed by colleagues in the team. Close interactions with the experimental side of the team are essential in materials realizations and tuning synthetic routes. Tasks of the candidate also include publishing results in leading international scientific journals, assisting supervisions of Ph.D students in the project, and involving in educations and funding applications.


Description of the research environment

The work is carried out in the Functional Materials Group (FunMaters) 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 post

  • Ph.D in materials science, computational physics, quantum chemistry, computational mathematics or relevant domains.
  • Demonstrated experience and results in computational materials science, density functional theory, and reaction thermodynamics
  • Good knowledge in machine learning and recommendation algorithm.
  • Experiences in electric, catalytic and electronic structure properties of low-dimensional materials
  • Very 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:

  • Pattern recognition in connection with machine vision and signal analysis
  • Knowledge in theoretical condensed matter physics
  • Familiarity with or experienced on x-ray absorption/emission spectroscopy or photoluminescence
  • Leadership in managing a subgroup consisted of few graduate or Ph.D students
  • Potentials of getting competitive funding


What we offer

  • You will be a part of a highly talented research group supported by the European Research Council Consolidator grant.
  • You will receive support from your team and supervisor, so that you can excel in your research
  • In addition to modern research facilities, we offer you personnel benefits such as occupational healthcare and affordable sport services
  • A 3-year postdoctoral position and salary in accordance with the Finnish universities salary system (for teaching and research personnel): Postdoctoral researcher demand level is 5-6. 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 postdoctoral researcher is 3300-4200 € per month (before taxes)
  • The position is expected to start earliest from 01.05.2021

How to apply

Applications, together with all relevant enclosures, should be submitted using the electronic application form by March 21st, 2021 at 23:59 (Finnish local time). The application should be written in English and include the following:

1)     A motivation letter (max. 2 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

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

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

4)     Certificates/Diplomas: Scanned copy of the original Ph.D degree certificate 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 defense.

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

Research and academic issues please consult

Associate Professor Wei Cao, the PI of the project CATCH



Administrative issues please consult

Professor Marko Huttula, Head of the Unit



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, cleanness, 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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