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Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)
Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)

PhD Research Fellowship in Theoretical Chemistry

Deadline: 29.05.2021

Universitetet i Oslo

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest rated institution of research and education with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. Its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally esteemed research communities make UiO an important contributor to society.


Hylleraas Centre for Quantum Molecular Sciences operates under the aegis of the Department of Chemistry at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

The Department of Chemistry is Norway's largest institution within research and education in chemistry. Our research excels internationally and we educate students to a wide variety of jobs in industry, academia, research institutions, schools and public administration. Our research ranges from the core topics of chemistry to applied science within in environmental, health, energy and materials. The Department has extensive contacts with industry, research and educational institutions at home and abroad. As partner in the Centre for Materials Science and Nanotechnology our researchers contributes to a significant interdisciplinary efforts in cooperation with the Department of Physics. The Department of Chemistry has its own school laboratory as a great resource for teachers, public outreach and the didactics of chemistry.

Job description

Applications are invited for a 3 year position in a Research Fellowship as a PhD Candidate in Theoretical Chemistry to be based at the Department of Chemistry / Hylleraas Centre for Quantum Molecular Sciences , University of Oslo.

Starting date no later than 30.09.2021.

More about the position

This project is dedicated to the study of the structure and reactivity of main-group Grignard-like organometallic compounds by computational approaches under the supervision of Profs. Michele Cascella and Odile Eisenstein. The research if part of the project: MetalSynergy - Revealing the elusive world of main-group organometallic chemistry: An adventure with computational chemistry, funded by Pioneering Research Grant scheme of the Research Council of Norway.

The research promotes the rational design of more sustainable and eco-friendly reactions that employ polar organometallic compounds by computational modelling. Alkali and alkaline-earth organometallic reagents are used daily in academy and industry for organic synthesis and constitute today a critical asset for the synthesis of a broad range of valuable compounds, from anticancer drugs to soil-enriching fertilisers. Despite their extensive use, the molecular structures in solution and associated reaction mechanisms of these main group organometallic reagents are little known or understood.

The objective of the project is to apply ab initio molecular dynamics and multi-scale modelling to characterize the elusive chemistry of Grignard reagents in the presence of additives like organolithium or other salts containing main group cations, similarly to what done in recent seeding works about the Grignard reagent and the Grignard reaction (Peltzer et al., J. Phys. Chem. B 2017, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020).

The core of the research will be about developing realistic structural models for the compounds of interest, studying them by adequate computational tools (mainly ab initio molecular dynamics and enhanced sampling methods), predicting properties and reactivity and designing chemical modifications able to improve them. Computational predictions will be tested in the partner experimental laboratory of Prof. Eva Hevia (University of Bern, Switzerland).

The future student is expected to spend some time in Bern for scientific visit aimed at familiarising with experimental setup and data, and improving the exchange of ideas between the experimental and computational points of view.

The student will take part in all research and professional development activities of the National Centre of Excellence - Hylleraas Centre for Quantum Molecular Sciences. The Hylleraas Centre is shared between the University of Oslo and the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø, and it is devoted to the development and applications of molecular simulations methods for systems of chemical relevance, with strong focus on complex systems.

Evt.: The applicant must, in collaboration with her/his supervisor, within several months after employment, have worked out a complete project description to be attached to the application for admission to the doctoral program. For more information, please see our web site.

Qualification requirements

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences has a strategic ambition to be among Europe’s leading communities for research, education and innovation. Candidates for these fellowships will be selected in accordance with this, and expected to be in the upper segment of their class with respect to academic credentials.

  • Applicants must hold a Master’s degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Physics, Computer science or similar fields.
  • Documented training in either theoretical, computational chemistry, condensed matter theory, molecular physics or close/equivalent topics is required
  • Programming skills are highly desired
  • Basic knowledge of organic/organometallic chemistry is desired
  • Basic knowledge of statistical mechanics is desired
  • Experience with molecular modelling and molecular dynamics codes is desired
  • The candidate must have fluent oral and written communication skills in English
  • The applicant must be willing to spend periodic visits to collaborators abroad

Candidates without a Master’s degree have until 15 August, 2021 to complete the final exam.

Grade requirements:

The norm is as follows:

  • the average grade point for courses included in the Bachelor’s degree must be C or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • the average grade point for courses included in the Master’s degree must be B or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • the Master’s thesis must have the grade B or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English. evt. and preferably aa Scandinavian language.

English requirements for applicants from outside of EU/ EEA countries and exemptions from the requirements:

The purpose of the fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a PhD degree.

The fellowship requires admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The application to the PhD programme must be submitted to the department no later than two months after taking up the position. For more information see:

http://www.uio.no/english/research/phd/

http://www.mn.uio.no/english/research/phd/

We offer

  • Salary NOK 482 200 - 526 000 per annum depending on qualifications and seniority as PhD Research Fellow (position code 1017)
  • Attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement
  • Vibrant international academic environment
  • Career development programmes
  • Oslo’s family-friendly surroundings with their rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities

How to apply

The application must include

  • Cover letter. Statement of motivation and research interests
  • CV (summarizing education, positions and academic work - scientific publications)
  • Copies of educational certificates, transcript of records and letters of recommendation
  • Documentation of English proficiency
  • Ev. list of publications and academic work that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee
  • Names and contact details of 2 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and telephone number)

The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system, please follow the link “Apply for this job”. Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University's grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English (or a Scandinavian language).

Applicants may be called in for an interview.

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Research Fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo.

According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

The appointment may be shortened/given a more limited scope within the framework of the applicable guidelines on account of any previous employment in academic positions.

The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results etc.

Inclusion and diversity are a strength. The University of Oslo has a personnel policy objective of achieving a balanced gender composition. We also want to have employees with diverse expertise, combinations of subjects, life experience and perspectives. We will make adjustments for employees who require this.

If there are qualified applicants with special needs, gaps in their CVs or immigrant backgrounds, we will invite at least one applicant in each of these groups to an interview.

Contact information

Applications are to be submitted online and NOT sent to contact persons below.

However, for information about the position, applicants may contact: Prof.Michele Cascella, e-mail: [email protected]

For question regarding our recriutment portal, please contact HR Adviser Ørjan Pretorius, e-mail: [email protected].

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