Would you like to start your career in a European training network of leading research universities and professionals from the industry? Then you might be interested in this PhD position, which will enable you to join the PICKFOOD project. PICKFOOD is a top level interdisciplinary training and research programme involving 15 PhD positions across physics, physical chemistry and food science. PICKFOOD aims to create at European level a network of next generation young scientists trained in novel methodologies within Pickering emulsions research enabling the development of safe, healthy and functional foods and at the same time minimizing food waste due to lipid oxidation.
The Active Matter group at the Department of Applied Physics is now looking for an outstanding
to join our group to carry out experimental research within the PICKFOOD project. This is a research project where you will have a chance to make a long-lasting impact on the science and technology of Pickering emulsions with food applications. A public project description is available at https://pickfood.eu/. The topic of the research carried out at Aalto University within the PICKFOOD project is to prepare and study novel Pickering emulsions, with emphasis on temperature and pH responsive food-grade materials.
Your role and responsibilities
The role of the doctoral candidate is to experimentally investigate Pickering emulsions related to food applications. You will seek to identify and prepare food-grade colloidal particles whose state and morphology can be controlled with temperature and/or pH and utilize them for making pH/temperature-controlled Pickering emulsions. You will investigate the stability and dynamics of the emulsions using confocal microscopy in 3D under controlled environments and characterize their rheological and capillary properties. You will carry out the experiments in the facilities of the hosting research group that include a state-of-the-art optical microscopy and physical property measurement laboratory and a chemistry laboratory. You will also utilize the electron microscopy, x-ray scattering, nanofabrication facilities and other sample characterization infrastructures available on the university campus.
The project also includes research visits to the groups of Prof. José M. Lagaron (Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology – Spanish Council for Scientific Research) and Prof. Heloisa N. Bordallo (University of Copenhagen) to further assess the studied materials in food applications and to further characterize the structures and dynamics of the prepared materials using advanced neutron scattering and spectroscopy techniques.
Qualifications and assessment criteria
We are looking for a talented and a highly motivated student with a Master’s degree in physics (e.g. technical physics or applied physics), chemistry (e.g. physical chemistry or chemical engineering) or nanoscience/nanotechnology. We require excellent communication skills (fluency in written and spoken English); excellent problem-solving skills; attention to detail; ability to use the language of physics (models, equations, reasoning) to describe, analyze and model the experimental observations; ability to work independently when needed; and excellent self-management skills (organization of your own time, work, data and notes). Previous experience in experimental physics or chemistry research are considered as strong assets.
What we offer
We offer an exciting and a challenging research topic for a talented doctoral student who wants to work at the very frontier of Pickering emulsions with important applications in food science. You will work within the multidisciplinary Active Matter research group consisting of ca. 4 postdoctoral researchers and 4 doctoral candidates (physicists, chemists and biologists). The group is led by Prof. Jaakko Timonen with a strong track-record and expertise in soft matter science – see e.g. Angewandte Chemie 50, 2080-2084 (2011), Science 341, 253-257 (2013), Nature 559, 77-82 (2018), arXiv:2009.12563 (2020) and Science Advances (2021). You will be supervised by the group leader and receive advising from talented postdoctoral researchers in the group. You will also have the opportunity to design small research projects for undergraduate students working together with you. This position as a doctoral candidate in a lively multidisciplinary research group participating in the European level PICKFOOD network is an excellent opportunity and a stepping stone on your career towards scientific independence or towards a research-oriented position outside academia.
The position is initially filled for 2 years, and following a successful midterm progress review, the contract is continued for another 2 years after which the PhD dissertation is expected to be completed. Aalto University follows the salary system of Finnish universities. The starting salary is approx. 2560€/month, and it will increase with responsibilities and performance over time. The contract includes Aalto University occupational healthcare.
Eligibility and mobility
The applicant shall, at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him or her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited.
The applicant is required to undertake transnational mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up his/her appointment. At the time of recruitment by the host beneficiary, the applicant must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date. Note that the mobility rule applies to Aalto University where the researcher is recruited, and not to co-hosting research groups to which the researcher is sent or seconded.
Ready to apply?
To apply for the position, please submit your application including the attachments mentioned below as one single PDF document in English through through Aalto online recruitment system using the ’Apply’ link at the web page.
– Letter of motivation
– CV including a list of publications
– Degree certificates and academic transcripts
– Letters of recommendation, or contact details of at least two referees