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Job ID: 208196

Doctoral Researchers in Sustainable Nature-based Innovations
Aalto University

Date Posted Mar. 31, 2023
Title Doctoral Researchers in Sustainable Nature-based Innovations
University Aalto University
, Finland
Department T107 Bioproducts and Biosystems
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Graduate Student
  • Ecological and Environmental
    Bioengineering (all Bio-related fields)
Aalto University is where science and art meet technology and business. We shape a sustainable future by making research breakthroughs in and across our disciplines, sparking the game changers of tomorrow and creating novel solutions to major global challenges. Our community is made up of 13 000 students, 400 professors, and more than 4 500 other faculty and staff working on our dynamic campus in Espoo, Greater Helsinki, Finland. Diversity is part of who we are, and we actively work to ensure our community’s diversity and inclusiveness. This is why we warmly encourage qualified candidates from all backgrounds to join our community. 

The School of Chemical Engineering is one of the six schools of Aalto University. It combines natural sciences and engineering in a unique way. 
We are now looking for

Doctoral Researchers in Sustainable Nature-based Innovations

There are two Doctoral Researcher positions available in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems in the School of Chemical Engineering of Aalto University. These opportunities are for individuals that want to deliver impact via their work and help develop a science translation framework for sustainable bioproducts innovation.

Sustainable development requires science-based decision-making to improve and implement solutions that mitigate climate change. However, translating scientific findings is complex and requires multiple disciplines and a holistic, robust, and reliable approach that looks at bioproduct solutions' economic, technical, environmental, and social aspects. This work combines translational engineering research, consolidated sustainability methods and circularity design in a framework for supporting sustainable bioproduct innovation. The framework is designed in practice to assess innovations in various themes, such as new biorefineries and lignocellulosic as an alternative feedstock for various applications. The results should not only impact the pathways being assessed as case studies but, most importantly, serve as a tool to accelerate development of sustainable bioproducts innovation to reach commercial scale.

Scientific environment

The department of Bioproducts and Biosystems (Bio2), one of the three departments in the School of Chemical Engineering at Aalto University, has an internationally leading reputation in basic and applied research for the development of advanced materials from natural resources. It is one of the leading European research and higher education institutions in the field of sustainable chemistry and engineering based on the utilization of renewable resources. Bio2 aims to contribute to the development of novel solutions to move towards sustainable primary production and processing systems that can produce materials with fewer inputs, less environmental impact and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Within bioscience, the department has research in bioprocess technology, molecular biotechnology, enzyme technology, metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, biomolecular, and biohybrid materials. Other strengths of the department include sustainable materials and products based on lignocellulose, ranging from nanomaterials to novel cellulose-based textiles.

About the Bioinnovation Centre (more info here)

Aalto University Bioinnovation Center is an interdisciplinary research and learning center targeting to accelerate the transition to a circular economy and bioeconomy, and to create opportunities for sustainable economic growth in Finland. The Bioinnovation Center focuses on innovations in sustainable bio-based materials, with special focus on textiles and packaging.

The Bioinnovation Center was established in 2021 with a 10.5 M€ grant from Jane and Aatos Erkko foundation. The Center operates in interdisciplinary research fields, facilitates educational efforts in bio- and circular economy at Aalto University, and strives towards ground-breaking new technologies and innovations.

Your role and goals

The successful candidates will be working in a multidisciplinary team covering academic and industry case studies of bio-based products production pathways. There are two opportunities open now, one focuses on chemical engineering process design and techno-economic analysis (TEA) and the other on environmental assessment.

The candidates are expected to have the following qualities:

Process Design and TEA
  • Practical understanding of process design (scaling up and mass and energy balances)
  • Familiarity with and enthusiasm to learn about and create TEA and market studies to help development of the bioeconomy
  • It is seen as an asset if the candidate has experience with process simulation software, such as AspenONE, at an academic or/and professional levels

Environmental Assessment
  • Practical understanding of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) - ISO and its potential applications in research and industry
  • Familiarity with and enthusiasm to learn and develop environmental indicators for supporting development of the bioeconomy
  • It is seen as an asset if the candidate has experience with LCA tools (e.g. GaBi or SimaPRO) at an academic or/and professional level

In addition, the candidates in both roles are expected to have the following qualities:
  • Master of Science or equivalent degree in a relevant field such as chemical engineering, process engineering, environmental engineering, biomass refining, etc.
  • Great written and oral communication skills in English
  • Strong critical analysis, data mining and processing skills
  • Fundamental understanding in lignocellulosic materials and chemistry
  • Eagerness to collaborate and work in a multidisciplinary team

What we offer

Sustainable Nature-based Innovations is a new group that Professor Luana Dessbesell is building at Aalto. The group is centered on people, and if you join the team, you will be working in a nurturing environment where success also means being happy with the work you are developing.

With us you will:
  • Help others identify practical applications of promising biorefining processes
  • Work with tangible case studies that can help more innovations spin out of universities
  • Discuss with people from various expertise and disciplines including the brilliant minds of Aalto, extended collaborations with industry, and the bioeconomy community in Finland and internationally
  • Contribute to unveiling the sustainability aspects from all perspectives of sustainability driven by science, factual and practical evidence helping to reduce risks and speed the development of truly sustainable nature-based innovations

If you are chosen for this position, you will apply for the study right in doctoral studies at Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering. Thus, please check the student information and admission criteria at In particular, please pay attention to the mandatory skill level in English.

The doctoral studies at Aalto University take approximately four years. The candidate will be granted a one-year contract with possibility of extension. The expected starting salary for a Doctoral Researcher is about 2540 €/month and will increase with responsibilities and performance over time. In the Doctoral Researcher position, you will have the time to grow as a professional and create a network of brilliant individuals while developing your technical expertise.

The expected starting date(s) for the position(s) are in late summer 2023 and/or fall 2023.

Our facilities are located at Aalto University Otaniemi campus in Espoo, Finland. The employment contract includes occupational health care, and Finland has a comprehensive social security system. Aalto University provides excellent learning and development opportunities, and a commuter ticket benefit.  Unisport offers versatile sports facilities and exercise services with a staff discount.

Ready to apply? 

If you want to join our community, please submit your application through our online recruitment system no later than 23.04.2023 by using the link on Aalto University’s webpage (“Apply now”). If you are an Aalto employee, please apply via Workday system (internal jobs). 

To apply, please include the following documents in English and as a single pdf document:
  • CV
  • Motivation letter
  • Scanned copy of the master’s degree diploma & transcript of records for master’s degree (or equivalent)

For further information about the position, please contact Professor Luana Dessbesell (luana.dessbesell(at) In recruitment-related questions, please contact HR Partner Noora Katisko (noora.katisko(at)

Want to know more about us and your future colleagues? You can watch these videos: Aalto University - Towards a better world, Aalto People, and Shaping a Sustainable Future. You can also check out our webpage about Aalto and Finland: and check out our new virtual campus experience: 

About Finland 

Finland is a great place for living with or without family - it is a safe, politically stable, and well-organized Nordic society. Finland is consistently ranked high in quality of life and was just listed again as the happiest country in the world: For more information about living in Finland: For international staff | Aalto University   
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.

More about Aalto University:

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