Principal Scientist, Lignin Valorization

Are you interested in development of novel sustainable bio-based materials solutions and looking for a new job opportunity in the field? Would you like to do impactful research in the cutting edge of natural sciences with superb colleagues who are top expert in their field? Do you want to build a science career and work in a versatile role at the interface of academy and industry? VTT might be just the place for you.

VTT is one of the leading applied research organisations in Europe. What unites us are curiosity, a passion for learning and a purpose: to solve the biggest challenges of our time and turn them into sustainable growth and well-being. Our cross-disciplinary community of over 2000 brilliant minds is focused on creating impact through science-based innovation. Get to know us further by exploring VTT’s research infra at VTT World

We are now looking for a Principal Scientist focusing on valorization of lignin for versatile high value end-use applications to join our Biorefining Chemistry team.

In this position, you will have an essential role to

  • define the focus areas for the lignin development
  • build high value research collaboration
  • coach  your colleagues in their early career
  • collaborate with our industrial partners

Our team, Biorefining Chemistry, is focusing on development of resource efficient biorefinery concepts, enabling optimal conversion of biomass and currently underutilized side-streams into sustainable high-performance materials and products, with special emphasis in the valorization of lignin side-streams. Biomass fractionation, characterization and upgrading of the components to versatile bioproducts, by using chemical, thermal and enzymatic processing techniques, are in the very core of the team’s competence.

As Principal Scientist, you will: 

  • Develop novel approaches to valorise lignin for versatile high value end-use applications.
  • Be responsible for carrying out and applying for research and customer projects in the field of biomass processing towards sustainable products.
  • Identify and establish contact with potential customers and research partners along the value-chain and take the lead in offering our R&D expertise and know-how
  • Act as a role model in scientific excellence, supporting younger research scientists.
  • Participate in project and task management in internal and external projects and provide scientific and technical expertise to the projects.

Who we are looking for:

  • You are an international level top expert in lignin chemistry and lignin based end-use applications
  • You have a proven track record in driving excellence and impact in the research area and in solving practical problems through innovative approaches
  • You have strong expertise in applying public funding and in building national and international consortium
  • You have solid experience in working in customer interface with business-oriented mind-set
  • You have strong networks in the field and thus ability to build high value research collaboration in the area
  • PhD or Master’s degree in biomass processing, biomaterials, organic or polymer chemistry, or related field
  • Minimum 5 years of research work experience, past involvement in an industrial setting is considered as a benefit

As a person, we hope that you are:

  • An open-minded and innovative person with a vision on longer term research needs.
    You enjoy challenges and have a strong passion for work. You are eager to work with new topics, even out of your comfort zone to achieve the set ambitious goals.
  • You have a good balance of scientific and business-oriented mind-set in order to turn research results into commercial solutions. We appreciate the capability to communicate and engage with research partners and customers in order to create new research and business opportunities. You are a team-player with good communication and interpersonal skills.  

With VTT, you’ll enjoy:

  • Natural sciences with an impact. VTT works on the cutting-edge of natural sciences, and we’ve invested into building state-of-the-art research facilities for natural sciences, such as the Bioruukki pilot infrastructure for bio- and circular economy. Our research agenda is dedicated to solving systemic and technological challenges, such as reaching carbon neutrality and unleashing the power of synthetic biology. That means that at VTT, your expertise in natural sciences will go towards creating real impact. Read more about our strategy – the path of exponential hope.
  • Superb colleagues and community. With VTT, you’ll join a community of over 2000 multidisciplinary experts who foster a culture of trust, openness and sharing knowledge. We work truly across disciplines, and house all the cutting-edge sciences from quantum computing to synthetic biology under one roof. Collaborating with superb colleagues is a source of learning, inspiration, and fun.  
  • Excellent career in research. At VTT, excellence in research is a strategic priority. We offer long-term positions and stable career paths in top-level research. People tend to stay with us over 10 years since there are always new roles and responsibilities to grow into. A combination of cutting-edge academic research and applied customer projects keeps your career path interesting.
  • Support for your well-being. Our people are our main asset, so we take good care of them. We aim to nurture great team spirit and leadership and offer versatile well-being services to enable a good work–life balance. On top of 6 weeks of paid holidays we offer exercise and culture benefits, hobby clubs, and voluntary well-being services such as meditation programmes and trainings on cognitive ergonomics.     

Apply now and join our community of brilliant minds!

Please send your CV and application with your salary request via our recruitment system as soon as possible but at the latest by 30 of September 2021. We will process applications as they come in and fill in the position as soon as we find the right candidate.

Interested and want to hear more?

For further information, please contact:
Stina Grönqvist, Research Team Leader,, + 358 40 820 7508
Atte Virtanen, Vice President,, +358 50 577 9770

We look forward to hearing from you!

Location: Espoo, Finland

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Employment type: Full time, Permanent


VTT is a visionary research, development and innovation partner. We drive sustainable growth and tackle the biggest global challenges of our time and turn them into growth opportunities. We go beyond the obvious to help the society and companies to grow through technological innovations. We have over 75 years of experience of top-level research and science-based results. VTT´s turnover and other operating income is 258 M€. VTT is at the sweet spot where innovation and business come together.

VTT – beyond the obvious.

Location: Espoo


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