We are hiring! Looking for two doctoral candidates on the area of catalyst development and testing

Reposted from aalto.fi: https://www.aalto.fi/en/open-positions/doctoral-candidates-in-catalyst-development-and-testing-at-the-department-of

Aalto University is a community of bold thinkers where science and art meet technology and business. We are committed to identifying and solving grand societal challenges and building an innovative future. Aalto has six schools with nearly 11 000 students and a staff of more than 4000, of which 400 are professors. 

We are now looking for two talented and highly motivated Doctoral Candidates in Catalyst development and testing at the Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering

The School of Chemical Engineering is one of the six schools of Aalto University and is located in the Otaniemi Campus (Espoo, Finland). In the Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, the Catalysis research group lead by Prof. Riikka Puurunen develops solid heterogeneous catalysts and evaluates their performance in test reactions relevant to the sustainable use of natural resources. The group aims for fundamental understanding of structure-activity relationships and strives towards more openness in science & teaching. Scientific publications by the group can be viewed in research.aalto.fi.

Job description

The Catalysis research group is now looking for two talented and motivated doctoral students to work on catalytic hydrodenitrogenation (HDN) in a collaborative NesteAalto University project, which is a strategic industrial-academic cooperation aiming to grow expertise in Finland in key areas of chemical industry.Catalytic hydrotreatment processes are extremely relevant in producing clean fuels, such as low-sulfur fuels and renewable fuels. The hydrotreating mechanism that takes place over conventional catalysts (CoMo/Al2O3, NiMo/Al2O3) has been widely studied for hydrodeoxygenation (HDO), hydrodesulfurization (HDS) but to a lesser extent for hydrodenitrogenation (HDN) processes and still less for noble metal catalysts. The doctoral students will for example prepare and characterize catalysts, run HDN activity tests in high-pressure reactors, carry out product analytics, make temperature-programmed adsorption studies, identify reaction pathways and make kinetic modelling. Details will be adjusted collaboratively as the project progresses. The project has access to the common equipment in the CHEM building as well as to the research infrastructures in BioeconomyRawMatTERS and OtaNano(Nanomicroscopy center).


The successful candidates should preferably have a master’s degree in chemical engineering or in a related area. Fluent written and verbal communication skills in English are required, as well as ability to work independently as part of a group in an international environment. The candidates should possess some of the appreciated skills/requirements:

–     General knowledge of heterogeneous catalysis

–     Experience in synthesis and characterization of heterogeneous catalysts

–     Hands-on experience with (pressurized) chemical reactors

–     Hands-on experience with characterization equipment of solid catalysts

–     Experience with modelling software (e.g. Matlab)

–     Good organization and data management skills

We expect the candidates to be able to start during 2019.

The applicants for the doctoral candidate position must fulfil the requirements for doctoral students at Aalto University, School of Chemical Engineering. For more details, see: https://into.aalto.fi/display/endoctoralchem/How+to+apply


Salary will be defined according to the salary system of Finnish Universities. The starting salary is 2400€ and the contract includes occupational health benefits.

The two open positions are funded by Neste.

How to apply

To apply for these positions, please submit the following documents as a single pdf file using the link “Apply Now” <link available in the original job posting at aalto.fi>. Application materials should be submitted in English.

  1. Motivation letter (max 2 pages: describe your motivation, scientific interests and career goals, and mention your earliest possible starting date)
  2. Curriculum Vitae (CV), including previous experience, relevant skills for the position, and list of publications (if any). You may, if you wish, follow the CV guidelines by the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity (TENK)
  3. Highest degree certificate and transcripts of studies (with clear explanation on the grading scale)
  4. Contact details (affiliation, email, telephone) of two references. (Optionally, two reference letters can be sent directly to Riikka Puurunen (firstname.lastname@aalto.fi) by the writer of the recommendation.)

The file should be named: HDNCat_YourSurname_Application.pdf (example: HDNCat_Puurunen_Application.pdf). If you wish to provide additional materials (not obligatory), please send them in a separate file called HDNCat_YourSurname_SupplementaryInfo.pdf.

The call is open until September 30th, but we will start reviewing the applications immediately and the position may be filled before the end of the call. Aalto University reserves the right for justified reasons to leave the position open, to extend the application period and to consider candidates who have not submitted applications during the application period.

Further information

For more information on the positions, please contact either principal investigator, Prof. Riikka Puurunen (email: firstname.lastname@aalto.fi) or postdoctoral researcher, project manager, Dr. Aitor Arandia Gutiérrez (email: aitor.arandiagutierrez@ aalto.fi). For more information on the process, please contact HR coordinator Alice Björklund (email: alice.bjorklund @ aalto.fi) The group can be followed in Twitter and Instagram (@AaltoCatalysis).

Posted by Riikka Puurunen

About Riikka Puurunen

Associate professor, Catalysis Science and Technology, at Aalto since February 2017
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