Nine Postdoctoral positions in the Thule Institute’s projects (2 -3 years, maximum till the end of the year 2020)

The University of Oulu in Northern Finland, with approximately 16,000 students and 3,000 employees, is an international, multidisciplinary research university with a rich pool of creative and intellectual talent. The strengths of the University include broad, multidisciplinary research interests, a modern research and study environment, and wide cooperation with international research and educational institutes ( 

The Thule Institute is a strategic focus area unit which promotes multidisciplinary research and innovations through high-quality research projects and doctoral training ( The positions are a part of the Thule Institute’s new projects centered on the two out of five thematic focus areas of the university: 'Creating sustainability through materials and systems' and 'Earth and near-space system and environmental change'.

The postdoctoral positions are open in the following research projects:
Position 1. Macroecology and diversity of species interactions
Position 2. Impact of extreme weather events in the Arctic on technological system, critical facilities and urban environment
Position 3. Understanding and predicting environmental change in northern rivers: biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in a changing climate
Position 4. Climate and Atmospheric Effects of the Sun in Arctic Regions (CAESAR)
Position 5. Towards the genomic era in species identification and delimitation
Position 6. Ecology and evolution in trophic interactions in changing boreal forest habitats
Position 7. Loss of ice in the Arctic system: geological perspective of global environmental change
Position 8. Mesospheric Monitoring of Ozone above the Polar Vortex (MeMO)
Position 9. Impact of mining on the rate of molecular aging in Arctic wildlife

The salary will be based on the levels 5 – 6 of the demand level chart for university-level teaching and research staff of Finnish universities. In addition, a salary component based on personal work performance will be paid (maximum of 46.3 % of the job-specific component). The salary is thus in practice roughly 3,500 – 4,000 € per month, depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience.

Application Procedure
The following documents must be attached to the application:
1) Brief curriculum vitae in English
2) List of publications in international peer-reviewed journals
3) Brief description of research merits
4) Brief (1 – 2 pages) research and action plan in English
5) Contact information of two or three (2-3) persons whom may be asked to give a statement of the candidate

Applications, together with all relevant enclosures, should be submitted using electronic application form by 30.6.2017. NOTE: Mark the number of the position you are applying.


Descriptions of the positions

Position 1 in the project Macroecology and diversity of species interactions

Coevolution among species via species interactions is the major driving force of biodiversity. Yet, the concept of and metrics to estimate species interactions is largely missing from biodiversity studies. The project has two major aims. First, our goal is to create a novel community diversity index, which quantitatively grade communities in terms of the sign, strength and variation of interactions. We will then examine how interaction index varies relative to taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity, stability of the communities and the level of disturbance. Second, we aim to estimate a novel species-specific characteristic, which describes species competitive – facilitative interaction abilities. The association of this new metric with species capability to adapt to global changes is then examined. The project uses comprehensive and long-term bird survey data from Europe and moth data from Finland. We will use a state-of-the-art statistical modelling technique, Joint Dynamic Species Distribution Modelling, developed by one of the PIs of the project, Dr. James Thorson, in extracting species associations from the survey data.

The position is approximately for 2.5 – 3 years, depending on the starting salary of the recruited person. The start date of the position is flexible but should preferably take place in autumn 2017, and definitely by the end of 2017. Position may involve occasional teaching. The location of the position is at the Research Unit of Ecology, Faculty of Sciences.

Research Group. Principal Investigators of the project are Dr. Jukka Forsman (University of Oulu, Finland) and Dr. James Thorson (National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, Seattle, USA). The recruited post-doc is expected to visit Dr. Thorson and learn modelling techniques. Other collaborators of the project are Vincent Devictor (University of Montpellier, France), Mikko Mönkkönen (University of Jyväskylä) and Panu Välimäki (University of Oulu, Finland).

Qualification requirements. Applicants must have a PhD in ecology, evolutionary biology, statistical modeling or related areas. The recruited post-doc is expected to be enterprising and have excellent English communication skills, as well as experience programming in the R statistical environment. Following qualifications and experience is considered as an advantage: managing and analyzing large data sets, species distribution modeling, experience in estimating diversity indexes (taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic), statistical modelling, experience in applying GIS-data on biological systems, and global change studies.

Contact persons for further information. Project leaders Jukka Forsman, email: jukka.forsman (at), tel.: +358 2494 481951 and Dr. James Thorson, email: James.T.Thorson(at)

Position 2 in the project Impact of extreme weather events in the Arctic on technological system, critical facilities and urban environment

This multidisciplinary research project aims to investigate the effect of extreme weather events in the Arctic on the shallow subsurface that could be hazardous for technological systems, urban environment and critical facilities like mining tailings and open pit mines.

The position is filled for the term 2017-2020 and the starting time should be during autumn 2017.

The research will be performed at Oulu Mining School of the University of Oulu ( that concentrate on the research and education in Geosciences (Economic Geology and Quaternary Geology), Mining Technology, Mineral Processing and Applied Geophysics. Close cooperation will be with the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Environmental and Chemical Engineering research group of the Faculty of Technology and Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory seismology group of the University of Oulu. 

Qualification requirements. The candidate should have a PhD degree and very good M.Sc. or equivalent degree in Geosciences (particularly in Geophysics), Geoinformatics, Engineering or related natural/engineering sciences. Very good programming skills (e.g. Python, Matlab, Mathematica) and experiences with numerical methods and geo-databases (e.g. GIS, PostGIS) are considered as an asset. 
We appreciate ability to independently develop and implement novel research approaches with a strong focus on practical implementation and experience with scientific writing and presentation capacity for international, interdisciplinary teamwork. The successful candidate should have also a good command of spoken and written English.

You can expect a very diverse and challenging job in a multidisciplinary research team that is characterized by exciting research projects. The compatibility of work and family life is of particular concern to the University of Oulu. Equal opportunity is an inherent part of the University personnel policy.

Contact persons for further information. Professor Elena Kozlovskaya, email: elena.kozlovskaya(at); tel.:  +358 294 481411

Position 3 in the project Understanding and predicting environmental change in northern rivers: biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in a changing climate

The project has three focus areas: (i) What are the likely effects of climate change on stream invertebrate diversity across multiple spatial scales (α, β and γ diversity)? (ii) Do land-use disturbances modify the responses of stream biodiversity and ecosystem functioning to climate change? (iii) Does diversity beget stability to stream communities? The post doc is expected to focus on one of these topics but he/she can also participate in other subprojects. Each subproject will include both large-scale correlative surveys and mesocosm experiments.

The position is for 3-years and the start date should be January 2018. The position is located at the Research Unit of Ecology, Faculty of Sciences. The post doc will work in an international group of researchers at different career stages, all focusing on different aspects of community ecology of stream and groundwater-dependent ecosystems (

Qualification requirements. We are looking for an individual keen to work in the laboratory and in the field. We expect a successful candidate to have a firm background in freshwater community ecology, good knowledge on numerical ecology and statistical modeling, and fluent oral and written English skills. No previous experience on stream ecosystems is required but is considered a bonus. The candidate should have PhD in a relevant field (ecology, limnology) and demonstrable qualifications in research (publications in international journals). In addition to conducting research in his/her own project, the post doc is expected to contribute to thesis supervision and teaching at all levels.

Contact person for further information. Professor Timo Muotka, email: timo.muotka(at), tel.: +358 294 481222

Position 4 in  the project Climate and Atmospheric Effects of the Sun in Arctic Regions (CAESAR)

We are looking for a post-doc researcher to study solar wind-related effects (e.g., due to energetic particles or electromagnetic effects) in the atmosphere and climate, especially at mid- to polar latitudes.

We are a Center of Excellence of the Academy of Finland called ReSoLVE (Research on Solar Long-term Variability and Effects) with a mission to study the long-term (a few hundred years of) solar variability and its effects in near-Earth space, atmosphere and climate.

The starting time should be nominally in the beginning of the year 2018 but it is negotiable. The position is located at the Space Climate research Unit, Faculty of Sciences.

Qualification requirements. Candidates are expected to have a PhD (within the last 10 years) in space physics, solar physics, climate or atmospheric research or a closely related subject. Some level of education in space physics is required. Both climate/atmospheric data analysts and modelers (e.g. climate-chemistry, GCM models) are encouraged to apply.  Demonstrated expertise on studies related to solar wind-related effects is particularly valuable.

Contact person for further information. Professor Kalevi Mursula, email: Kalevi.mursula(at), tel.: +358 294481366

Position 5 in the projectTowards the genomic era in species identification and delimitation

A full-time post-doctoral position is open in the Insect Systematics research group ( led by Ph.D., Senior curator Marko Mutanen in the Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, Finland.

The research will particularly focus, at genomic level, on molecular delimitation of species and clarifying issues caused by DNA barcode sharing between species, deep intraspecific splits in DNA barcodes, introgression and endosymbionts on DNA-based taxonomy. Butterflies and moths, sawflies, spiders and other invertebrates will be used as model groups. As methods, ddRAD sequencing and other NGS techniques will be applied. The project will be conducted in collaboration with a broad international team.

The starting time is negotiable and should be between 1st September, 2017 and the beginning of the year 2018. Duration of the position is three years.

Qualification requirements. A successful applicant must have a PhD degree and should have previous research experience in the field of molecular taxonomy and phylogenetics. Previous expertize and practical skills in DNA barcoding and genomic data analyses, especially RAD sequencing and bioinformatics, are required. An applicant should be highly motivated, ready to commit themselves to the project, and have good skills in English language. A moderate amount of teaching in courses may be required.

Contact person for further information. Project leader Marko Mutanen, email: marko.mutanen(at), tel.: +358 40 8246 749,  Head of Administration Tiina Pääkkönen, email: tiina.paakkonen(at), tel.: +358 294 481051


Position  6 in the project Ecology and evolution in trophic interactions  in changing boreal forest habitats

We offer a unique opportunity to join in the exciting project “Ecology and evolution in trophic interactions  in changing boreal forest habitats” led by Professor Markku Orell at the Research Unit of Ecology and Genetics, Faculty of Sciences. The project focuses on climate change induced phenological shifts across four trophic levels of a boreal forest food chain. We study the following multitrophic system: (1) the birch and (2) associated folivorous insects, (3) insectivorous bird species (willow tit, crested tit, Siberian tit, great tit, blue tit and pied flycatcher).

We aim at revealing the roles of phenotypic plasticity, within or between generations and indirect genetic effects in determining the evolutionary potential. We utilize the long-term data of individually marked birds and unique life-history data on moths, as well as nationwide data on the weather, the phenology and abundance of nocturnal moths, and on the phenology of deciduous trees. Research methods include experiments, state-of-the-art molecular and quantitative genetic methods and metabarcoding. We elucidate how selection acts on phenotypes and gives proxies for the evolutionary potential in life-history traits. This is essential for understanding ecosystem functioning under changing conditions. More information of the research group is available at: ecology/Population, conservation and evolutionary ecology

The position is for three years and the starting date should be 1st October, 2017. 

Qualification requirements. The applicants should hold PhD in a relevant field of bioscience, with knowledge of population ecology and quantitative genetics. Skills in employing advanced statistical methods, generalized linear mixed models and the derived “animal model”, capture-recapture models for open populations with extensions implemented in Program MARK, and bioinformatics applicable to metabarcoding are advantageous. We are looking for an enthusiastic and highly motivated researcher with problem solving skills expected to be able to both teamwork and independent work in lab and field.

Contact persons for further information. Professor Markku Orell, email: markku.orell(at), tel.:  +358 294 481216, Dr. Seppo Rytkönen, email: seppo.rytkonen(at), tel.:+358 294 481257

Position 7 in the project Loss of ice in the Arctic system: geological perspective of global environmental change

The open postdoctoral position is in the field of geosciences solving research questions related to the climate change and loss of ice in the Northern Hemisphere. The project aims are to produce important threshold values in geochemical and sedimentological information on past climate warming events and related loss of ice and meltwater plumes in the North in time scales from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of years. The study of marine sediment record from cores and samples will give the best high-resolution timing of rapid ice-sheet melting events or releases of meltwaters from melting ice or outbursts of large lakes. One of the major tasks of this study is to trace meltwater plumes and their routes related to the late Middle and Late Pleistocene climatic transitions. This can be done by well-identified mineralogical and geochemical characteristics by utilizing radiogenic isotopic fingerprinting techniques and varietal provenance analysis.  

The position is for two years with the possibility of further extension of one year. The starting can be September 2017 at earliest but expected to be in autumn 2017. The position is located with the Geoscience Research Unit in the Oulu Mining School, University of Oulu.

Research group. The research group has an important task to study and fully understand the role of the glaciated high latitude areas as part of the Earth system in order to setting boundary conditions for future environmental change. The research group owns expertise of the Eurasian Arctic ice-sheet distribution and ice streaming during melting episodes in the Arctic land environment as well as use mineralogical, including clay and heavy minerals, isotope proxies and other source area fingerprints in sediments for study sediment distribution and meltwater releases in the Arctic marine environment. Sediment geochemistry and varietal mineral geochemical data has been successfully used to evaluate glacial dynamics, decay of ice-sheets and related meltwater plumes. The research group of 10 people is well balanced with professors, postdoctoral researchers as well as presently a group of three doctoral students and international collaboration will open excellent opportunities for young scientists to develop their skills and advance their careers. The University of Oulu promotes gender equality. We will have a strong focus on equal opportunity when selecting doctoral students and post-doctoral scientists.

Qualification requirements. We are looking for candidates with a PhD degree in geology or related geoscientific or geochemical fields. We appreciate good knowledge on sediments, geochemical analytical skills and capability to write scientific publications and to team work. 

Contact persons for further information. Professor Kari Strand, email: kari.strand(at), tel.: +358 294 483556,

Professor Juha Pekka Lunkka, email: juha.pekka.lunkka(at), tel.:+ 358 294 481434


Position 8 in the project Mesospheric Monitoring of Ozone above the Polar Vortex (MeMO)

The project uses standard TV satellite receivers to monitor the 11.07 GHz emissions from mesospheric ozone, a method pioneered by MIT’s Haystack Observatory. The project will build improved, multi-channel instruments, one of which will monitor the mesosphere above Sodankylä. Others will measure the ozone above the polar vortex and will be placed at schools to create a scientific outreach.

Using these data we will study the effects of energetic particle precipitation and sudden stratospheric warmings on ozone, as well as the ozone climatology. A prototype receiver provides four years of initial data.

The position is located at Sodankylä and available immediately or later as per mutual agreement.

Research group. Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory ( is a highly versatile geophysical observatory north of the Arctic Circle operating various types of measurements at over 20 locations. Measurements of the geomagnetic field as well as radio observations of the upper atmosphere are at the core of SGO’s operations. Within the CHAMOS project (, SGO and FMI develop the Sodankylä Ion-Neutral Chemistry model for interpreting space weather effects on the lower ionosphere.

Colocated with SGO is the Arctic Research Centre of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI-ARC,, which provides a wealth of tropospheric and stratospheric measurements. The observations include ozone measurements using sounding balloons and ground-based spectrometers since late the 1980s. FMI researchers are experts in satellite observations of the middle atmosphere.

MeMO is a collaboration between SGO and FMI-ARC, aiming to extend current ozone measurements in altitude and spatial coverage and put them into context of other observations.

Qualification requirements. The successful candidate will have a background in atmospheric physics or chemistry and/or experience in the use of radiometers and/or experience in the use of atmospheric computer models. For the further development of the instrument, experience working with hardware and/or experience in a high-level programming language are highly beneficial. Excellent command of both spoken and written English are essential.

Contact person for further information. Dr. Thomas Ulich, email: thomas.ulich(at).fi, tel.: +358 405490403


Position 9 in the project Impact of mining on the rate of molecular aging in Arctic wildlife

This project will quantify some key molecular signatures (e.g. telomere homeostasis, gene expression) associated with inhabiting areas containing elevated levels of metals, released through mining activities, in Arctic field sites.  The project also aims to use field experiments to examine potential for local adaptation to metal pollution, and the potential effects of stress on fitness components, such as immune function and infection status.  The principle model species is a small rodent, the bank vole Myodes glareolus

The successful candidate will join a diverse research group, for example with its core members presently quantifying the eco-evolutionary impact of exposure to chronic environment pollution.  The group’s research interests include: population genomics (Watts, Kesaniemi, Jernfors) and evolutionary ecology (Watts, Mappes, Kesaniemi), disease ecology (Kallio, Mappes), rodent ecology (Mappes, Kallio, Lavrinienko), and microbiota and metagenomics (Watts, Lavrinienko). 

Desired starting is by early 2018 at the latest.  The position is located at the Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, Faculty of Sciences.

Qualification requirements. The applicant will have a PhD in an appropriate subject (e.g. ecology, evolutionary biology, genomics), be highly organised and motivated, and possess specific experience in, for example, trapping small mammals in thefield, small animal handing, and/ or expertise in a range of molecular biology techniques (e.g. DNA & RNA extraction, qPCR). 

Contact person for further information.  Project leader Phillip Watts, email: phillip.watts(at), tel.: +358 294 481497



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