(Poistunut julkaisusta)

Research Professors, Solutions for natural resources and environment

Alkuperäinen julkaisupäivä 29.5.2018

Form of employment: Full time, Fixed term
Locations: Espoo / Tampere / Jyväskylä, Finland
Application period:  May 25, 2018 - June 25, 2018

We are looking for research professors in three fields: food innovations, smart bio-based materials and bioengineering.

Research professors are key experts in VTT’s research network contributing to implementation of VTT strategy. Research professor’s role is to promote and lead innovative research in a defined research area taking care of competence gaps and supporting competence development for future need. In addition, the research professor support challenge-driven way of working and ensures scientific excellence in his/her field. The research professor is expected to build strong research project portfolios, manage large research openings and projects, actively collaborate with academic and industrial partners and stimulate active use of research results by beneficiaries, and publish and disseminate scientific results. The research professor is also expected to create international networks and collaborations and influence research and innovation agendas.

Do you want to join us in creating scientific and technological excellence for the benefit and competitiveness of companies and the society?


VTT paves the way to sustainable, smart, consumer-driven food production, where food increases the well-being of both the people and the planet. Our vision roadmap, Food Economy 4.0, deals with the fourth revolution currently underway in food production. The current agriculture and mass production of food are challenged by megatrends such as globalisation, digitalisation and climate change, which are shaping the latest revolution. Trends specific to the food system, such as health, personalisation, convenience, pleasure-seeking, transparency, sustainable production and safety also need to be addressed.

We concentrate on raw material efficiency in food manufacture, as a large part of the raw materials does not currently end in food use and is used either as feed or even wasted. Smart holistic use of raw materials to amplify food yields from the current agro input is therefore in our focus. There is a large need for new dietary protein sources, which is one key area of work at VTT. We also produce raw materials without fields, developing new concepts of cellular agriculture from cellular to process engineering. Another important topic is development of new concepts for more personalised food offering, i.e. using additive manufacturing and automated rapid food production. This also means moving from centralised food production and distribution towards more agile processing models.

As a research professor, you will be responsible for creating scientific and technological excellence in the field of agile, sustainable and consumer-centric food production. The focus is in technologies and processing for sustainable and healthy ingredients and foods. You should develop bioprocesses and biomaterial conversions from lab to pilot scale, from idea to proof of concept. Your work should contribute to agile food manufacturing and development of new food delivery concepts. VTT´s Food Economy 4.0 roadmap is the starting point of your work, and you should implement and build it further by initiating and leading large multidisciplinary national and international collaborative consortia. Close interaction with industrial stakeholders in the value-chain is a necessity.

The applicant should have a proven record on multi-disciplinary approach for food systems. He or she should have solid knowledge on food material science, food processing and understanding of food product design and quality attributes. Competence in bioprocessing, automation and agile manufacturing and delivery systems and service design are regarded an advantage.


Our vision focuses on the next generation of the forest-based value chains, where multi-product bio-refineries will play a central role and the growth opportunities rely on the exploitation of the renewable and versatile materials, especially on the cellulose-based emerging materials. We foresee that the next generation lignocellulose-based solutions draw inspiration from plant-based structures and functions. We want to exploit the inherent features of those materials in biomaterials engineering and design to obtain new high-value added sustainable applications for future, e.g. solutions for clean water and air, functional bio-composites, intelligent packaging materials, wearables, structured materials, energy harvesting devices, energy storages, biosensors and optoelectronic systems.

One of the key elements for this work position is to have strong expertise in physical chemistry and materials chemistry in complex biomaterial systems with thorough understanding of the structure-function interdependencies and decisive role of interfaces. It is important to understand the interactions between biomass structural materials and other substances. Water interactions are at heart of biomass engineering. From the applicant, strong record on accomplishment of multidisciplinary approach in biomaterials design from nanoscale architecture towards high performance materials solutions and broad application related awareness is expected. Proven record in working closely with industry and understanding industrial needs are of great benefit.

An ability to fully exploit the unique combination of VTT research facilities from lab to pilot scale and simultaneously build up strategies how molecular level phenomena can tap into enhanced material performance are needed. Mastering of disruptive technologies, such as additive manufacturing, needs understanding of interactions of sophisticated lignocellulosic structures, inherent properties and requirements of end applications. The exploiting of water interactions over structural hierarchy and generate multiscale approaches, are main competences of work.


VTT has a strong focus on development of biotechnological processes for sustainable production of fuels, chemicals and materials from renewable biomass feedstocks. In the future, increasing emphasis is foreseen in production of biology-enabled value-added chemicals and materials, and use of C1 carbon sources (e.g. CO2) as feedstock. Multidisciplinary approaches are highly appreciated at VTT, e.g. interaction with (thermo)chemistry, material sciences, micro-manufacturing and food technology.

The applicant should have a strong background in metabolic engineering and understanding of biological chemistry as a basis for using microbes as cell factories. She/he should have know-how on modelling of metabolism and cell function, in bioprocess physiology and optimisation, and synthetic biology and automation as tools in strain construction, analysis and product design. Proven record in working closely with industry and understanding industrial needs are of great benefit.

Research professor’s role is to promote and lead innovative research in biotechnology at VTT. He/she is expected to foster collaboration between different expertise for creation of new industrially relevant applications, and on the other hand, to take care that her/his own research is at high international level.

You will be working with colleagues that have a broad know-how on industrially relevant production organisms, in particular yeasts and filamentous fungi, as well as bacteria and plant cell cultures. VTT researches in industrial biotechnology focus on protein production, metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, enzyme discovery and engineering, bioprocess optimisation and scale-up, and process microbiology. The infrastructure available is excellent ranging from advanced analytics, automated robotics systems to pilot scale bioreactors.

We expect you to have

  • Track record on research management and management of national and international projects together with academic and industrial partners
  • Knowledge on national and international innovation system and funding entities as well as proven capability to raise innovation funding
  • Wide international research and industrial networks
  • People and substance matter leadership
  • Excellent communication, presentation and networking skills
  • University degree at PhD level in relevant field
  • Fluent command of English.

As a person you are

  • Visionary, challenge-driven, eager to innovate and go beyond obvious
  • Proactive and open-minded networker and playmaker
  • Inspirational creating positive drive and getting people excited
  • Motivated to share, collaborate and coach young scientists in their career
  • Business-minded striving to create impact rooted in scientific excellence
  • Well-organised and energetic with intrinsic “can do” - attitude

We offer

A great opportunity to develop scientific and technological excellence together with VTT´s top experts in a leading multi-disciplinary RTO and to co-create with industrial customers. You will be a part of a creative and international working environment. The tasks are versatile, independent and challenging, with support and coaching where needed. VTT is a modern, well-equipped working environment with competent, internationally oriented and highly trained personnel assisted by skilled business support professionals.

The position of the Research Professor is fixed-term for 5 years (with possibility of new 5 years period). The salary and benefits will be determined according to the salary level of corresponding positions at VTT. Applicants may also present a salary request.

Requested documents:

The applicants are requested to enclose the following documents with the application:

  • A complete curriculum vitae (including full name, date and place of birth, nationality, current residence, education and degrees awarded, linguistic skills, current and previous positions, major research funding obtained, research leadership, list of supervised PhDs and post-doctoral researchers, other academic merits and memberships, number of peer-reviewed articles, H-index, total citations and average citation per item) maximum 10 pages.
  • A complete list of patents and publications (with citations and impact factors) and copies of ten selected publications most relevant for the professorship
  • Summary of research activities carried out so far (maximum two pages)
  • A research plan and ambitions as a research professor (maximum five pages)

VTT uses external international experts to help evaluate its applicants. All application documents should be in English.

For further information please contact:

Tiina Nakari-Setälä, Vice President, Research (tiina.nakari-setala@vtt.fi)
Arto Forsberg, Vice President, Industrial biotechnology and food solutions (arto.forsberg@vtt.fi)
Jani Lehto, Vice President, Biomass processing and products (jani.lehto@vtt.fi)

Please, don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to know more of the qualifications required.