Doctoral education pilot / Six (6) Doctoral Researchers in PREIN

We are seeking to recruit six (6) Doctoral Researchers for a fixed term of three years to the PREIN Doctoral education pilot at the Faculty of Mathematics and Science. The positions are filled to our departments of Chemistry, Physics, and Biological and Environmental Science. We expect applicants to be ready to start on 1.8.2024 or 1.1.2025 and to be motivated to complete their dissertation within the three-year target period and to be employed in Finland after graduation.

The Flagship for Photonics Research and Innovation (PREIN) leverages the interactions between light and matter for science and technology. Controlling light with matter has been key to countless innovations, such as lasers, lighting, screens, optogenetics, and biomedical imaging. Research at Laserlab-NSC is at the interface of photonics and advanced materials, both of which are considered Key Enabling Technologies (KET) for Europe’s future prosperity by the European Commission. Research and innovation in these areas have been identified as necessary for advancing both the green and digital transition, but skill shortages in Finland are currently damaging the growth prospects.

In response to this demand, the new doctoral education pilot will provide researchers with skills across the photonics and advanced materials interface, an interface that is, by its very nature, inter-sectoral, requiring collaboration and communication between industry and academia, and interdisciplinary, requiring researchers with skills and project-related knowledge of concepts across photonics, chemistry, material science, photophysics, molecular biology and device engineering.

The doctoral education pilot is a programme funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture for the period 2024-2027 and implemented by Finnish universities, which will fund a total of up to 1,000 new fixed-term doctoral researcher positions and part of the associated supervision. The programme will develop new practices in doctoral training that will enable doctoral researchers to complete their dissertations in three years and support their employment in a wide range of sectors of the Finnish society. Read more about the doctoral education pilot programme at the University of Jyväskylä.

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Who we are looking for

We will provide a broad scientific and personal training programme for our students, enabling them to confidently meet the challenges of the increasingly interdisciplinary, international, and inter-sectoral job markets. We aim for our researchers to become creative, critical, and autonomous intellectual risk-takers, who push boundaries of fundamental and materials research and drive Finland’s research and innovation of the future. To achieve this aim, we will recruit, train and mentor six doctoral students to work on the following research themes:

  • Topological spin-photonics in silicon - enabling a novel quantum information processing platform - Supervisor: Prof. Juha Muhonen: The project aim is to create an integrated silicon spin-photonics chips by combining single photon emitters with an active spin degree of freedom (T-centres) with silicon photonic crystal structures. This is done to enhance the emitters’ coupling to relevant photonic modes and hence couple the emitters to on-chip photonics structures. The goal will be a platform that combines the quantum computing capabilities of silicon spins with the commercial attractiveness of silicon photonics. Additionally, we will use polarization dependent photonic pathways (topological edge modes) so that the emitter spin state and emitted photon direction are coupled. This allows studying the rich phenomena of non-reciprocal physics. This is an experimental project involving both single-photon emitter characterization, nanofabrication of the photonic crystal structures and optical simulations.
  • Ultrafast energy transfer for light harvesting by relaxation pathways of hybrid light-matter states, polaritons, in nanophotonic structures - Supervisor: Prof. Jussi Toppari: The objective is to determine the relaxation pathways and energy transfer within polaritons formed by strong light-matter coupling between organic molecules and confined light mode, such as surface plasmon or Fabry-Pérot cavity mode. We provide systems where molecules with a variety of chemical dynamics are coupled to the same confinement light mode. This allows guiding of the excitation energy from a vast number of molecules to a few or even a single one, through long distances. The above experiments will provide the grounds for developing an efficient light harvesting method resembling the method used by nature in photosynthesis. The work will involve spatially and temporally resolved ultra-fast spectroscopic measurements.
  • Understand, predict and design nanophotonic structures for controlling matter with light - Supervisor: Prof. Gerrit Groenhof: Whereas matter can be routinely used to control light, controlling matter with light remains challenging. Recent developments suggest that such control is possible if matter is placed near plasmonic nanostructures, but our current theoretical understanding of the observations is too limited for a systematic exploitation of this effect in applications. The aim of this project is to bridge this gap by merging nanophotonics (Macroscopic QED and Quantum Optics) with computational chemistry (electronic structure theory and molecular dynamics). In collaboration with Prof. Johannes Feist at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain, we will implement these developments into the GROMACS molecular dynamics program ( With this program, we will then design and optimize nanophotonic structures for controlling the properties of materials in general, and chemical reactions in particular.
  • Biological photosensing – ultrafast photoisomerization and its related structural changes - Supervisor: Prof. Janne Ihalainen: Biological systems need to sense light for their growth and well-being. In this project we aim to enlighten (bio)physical pathways how photons are converted to chemical and then biological information. For this we use biological photosensors, bacteriophytochromes, provided in our biochemical laboratory and ultrafast lasers present in our laser laboratory. Our time-resolved spectroscopic studies will test the photoisomerization models of the chromophore inside the protein and compare with the theoretical studies in the literature, as well as studies that we have reported with free-electron lasers. With this program, we will design modified bacteriophytochrome samples and study their ultrafast photoreactions in various conditions. This provides fundamental information about the early events of photosensing inside living organisms.
  • Understanding the relation between chemical and electronic structure in novel single-benzene fluorophores - Supervisor: Dr. Tatu Kumpulainen: Single-benzene fluorophores (SBF's) are one of the smallest possible fluorophore scaffolds and have emerged as an alternative for larger aromatic systems. SBF's offer great tunability, high quantum yields and efficient solid-state emission, thus being highly suitable for various optoelectronic applications, but their photophysical properties have not been investigated in detail. The project aims to gain a thorough understanding of the influence of chemical structure on the electronic properties of SBFs. This will be achieved by detailed photophysical studies by means of steady-state and time-resolved (femtosecond) spectroscopies on a library of recently synthesized SBFs.
  • Optical modification of graphene and other 2D materials - Supervisors: Prof. Mika Pettersson, Dr. Andreas Johansson (2 groups): The project aims for development of various applications based on optical modification of graphene and other 2D materials. We have developed two-photon oxidation and defect engineering (optical forging) techniques that can be used for innovative applications including area-selective functionalization with materials or proteins, modification of optical or mechanical properties, tuning of electronic devices, or enhancement of sensor response. In the project, these techniques will be further developed and applied to bioelectronic devices and sensors.

Depending on the project, applicants should have a suitable background in chemistry, physics, biology, or engineering. Experience in lasers, spectroscopy, optics, optoelectronics, computer programming, nanofabrication, or quantum chemistry, is considered advantageous.

Eligibility for the positions requires a degree at the Master’s level. The Master’s degree must be completed by the start of the employment relationship. In addition, the Doctoral Researcher must have a permission for post-graduate studies at the University of Jyväskylä. If the applicant does not have permission for post-graduate studies, it must be applied with a separate application procedure from the Faculty of Mathematics and Science after selection for the position.  There is a six-month trial period at the beginning of the employment.

The positions are intended for new doctoral researchers. No applicants can therefore be considered who have obtained doctoral study rights before 1 November 2023. The duties, qualification requirements, and the language skills of Doctoral Researchers are stipulated by The University of Jyväskylä Regulations and language skills guidelines (Doctoral Students).

The place of employment is Finland. Permits and registrations are required for non-Finnish nationals to work in Finland. The University’s International Staff Services team will assist selected employees in applying for these.


At the University of Jyväskylä, you are a recognized member of our community with an ample opportunity to be drawn into international research. You get to participate in our international and multidisciplinary community, where everybody’s welfare is essential. You will work in an inspiring and lively campus area and an environment that supports a healthy and active lifestyle. To find useful information about the University of Jyväskylä, the City of Jyväskylä, and living in Finland, see the University's Handbook for international staff and visitors.

The annual salary will be approximately 30,000 EUR (gross income, including holiday bonus). As the dissertation work progresses, the salary will be revised in accordance with the General Collective Agreement for Finnish Universities.

Doctorates from our renewed doctoral programmes will give you the skills to work as an independent researcher or in challenging specialist roles in academia, industry, or other sectors of working life. To support your employment in Finland, we offer you the opportunity to study Finnish during your assignment as a Doctoral Researcher.


How to apply?

Please attach the following documents in PDF format to your online application:

  1. Curriculum vitae written in accordance with the responsible conduct of research and, if possible, using the template for researcher’s curriculum vitae from the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity, and including contact details of 1-2 referees.
  2. Motivation letter, also stating clearly which research theme you are applying to.
  3. A numbered list of publications (if applicable).
  4. Master’s degree certificate and transcript of records in English, Finnish or Swedish.

Please submit your application using the online form at the latest on April 19, 2024. The applications sent via emails are not considered.

Eligible candidates will be evaluated based on the submitted documents following the national recommendations for responsible researcher evaluation in Finland and the principles of the DORA Declaration. For further information, please contact Professor Mika Pettersson,, or the research theme supervisors.

Faculty of Mathematics and Science

Ever since the Faculty of Mathematics and Science of the University of Jyväskylä was founded in 1965, we have been looking for answers and striving to improve our understanding of the Universe and World around us. We want to share our expertise and be influential in shaping the future by solving problems which affect us all. We aim to provide solutions, for example in climate change, in fighting the decline in biodiversity, developing new technological innovations or in building more sustainable living habits.  In collaboration with the international scientific community, we search for the answers to the biggest questions in science, especially in the fields of evolution, sustainable use of natural resources, mathematical analysis, multidisciplinary nanoscience, resource wisdom and subatomic physics. Our research has impact at the international level and our partners include the European Space Agency ESA and the European Organisation for Nuclear Research CERN.

The University of Jyväskylä is a human-centered environment of 2,500 experts and 14,500 students. Our goal is to create wisdom and wellbeing for all. JYU's naturally beautiful campus is located in the heart of the city of Jyväskylä. JYU is the third largest employer in Central Finland.

Location: Seminaarinkatu 15

Doctoral education pilot / Six (6) Doctoral Researchers in PREIN

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