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PhD scholarships within computational discovery of organic ferroelectric materials

Deadline: 15.06.2020

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

NMBU has a special responsibility for research and education that ensures the basis of life for future generations.

Sustainability is rooted in everything we do and we provide knowledge for life.

NMBU has 1700 employees and 5200 students and is organized in seven faculties. NMBU has a campus in Ås and in Oslo. In 2021 we are co-located on Ås. Further information on NMBU is available at www.nmbu.no.

About The Faculty of Science and Technology

The Faculty of Science and Technology (REALTEK) develops research-based knowledge and educates civil engineers and lecturers needed to reach the UN's sustainability goals. We have approximately 150 employees, 70 PhD students and soon 1500 students. The education and research at REALTEK cover a broad spectrum of disciplines.

This includes data science, mechanics and process engineering, robotics, construction and architecture, industrial economics, environmental physics and renewable energy, geomatics, water and environmental engineering, applied mathematics as well as secondary school teacher education in natural sciences and use of natural resources such as in agriculture, forestry and aquaculture. The workplace is in Ås, 30 km from Oslo.

Take part in discovering the new sustainable electronic materials using quantum mechanical simulations!

About the position

The Faculty of Science and Technology at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has two vacant three-year PhD–positions related to computational discovery of organic ferroelectric materials.

Ferroelectric materials are materials which host a switchable internal electronic polarization. This property makes them important for many technologies, such as non-volatile computer memory and sensors. An issue, however, with conventional ferroelectric materials is that they have high processing costs and often consist of toxic elements.

All-organic ferroelectrics stand out as a cheap environmentally friendly alternative and could also fill new niches such as in flexible electronics.

First, however, novel organic ferroelectric materials must be discovered, and their properties must be better understood. In this project, we will use script-assisted screening of material databases and density functional theory (DFT) calculations to reach this goal.

The research is part of the Young Talented Researcher grant: “FOX: New ferroelectric organic molecular crystals through computer design and experimental realization”, funded by the Norwegian Research council. The research will take place at material theory group of Assoc. Prof. Kristian Berland and involve experimental collaboration with the Department of Chemistry at University of Oslo and partners worldwide.

The positions are available from 15. August 2020.

Main tasks

Research tasks can include:

  • Data mining
  • High-throughput DFT simulations
  • In depth analysis of selected materials based on DFT and molecular dynamics simulations
  • Organic crystal structure prediction

The successful candidate is expected to enter a plan for the progress of the work towards a PhD degree during the first months of the appointment, with a view to completing a doctorate within the PhD scholarship period.

Qualification requirements, desired experiences, knowledge and personal qualities

The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD programme at NMBU. The applicant must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are at master's degree level (candidates submitting MSc thesis by 15 June 2020 may also be considered). The applicant must have a documented strong academic background from previous studies and document proficiency in both written and oral English. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD Regulations and the relevant PhD programme description. The applicant must document expertise and interest in the research subject.

Required Academic qualifications:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in condensed-matter physics, chemistry, material science or related fields.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills in English.

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Experience with research in material science.
  • The candidate should possess strong scripting skills, Python preferably.
  • Experience with density functional theory codes is highly desirable, especially periodic-boundary condition codes such as VASP.
  • Experience with one or more of the following is also beneficial: molecular dynamics simulations, feature-construction in machine learning, and data management.

You need to:

  • be dedicated and quality-oriented
  • have an analytical mindset.
  • possess good collaborative skills.
  • enjoy openly discuss ideas and share knowledge.
  • be eager to learn and develop.

Remuneration and further information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD. Fellow. PhD. Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 479.600) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

Terms of employment are governed by Norwegian guidelines for PhD fellowships at Universities and University Colleges.

For further information, please contact:

Information for PhD applicants and general Information to applicants


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 15.06.2020

Applications should include (electronically) a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, full publication list, copies of degree certificates and transcripts of academic records (all certified), and a list of two persons who may act as references (with phone numbers and e-mail addresses). Publications should be included electronically within the application deadline. The relevant NMBU Department may require further documentation, e.g. proof of English proficiency.

Printed material which cannot be sent electronically should be sent by surface mail to the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, within 15.06.2020. Please quote reference number 20/01619.

If it is difficult to judge the applicant’s contribution for publications with multiple authors, a short description of the applicant’s contribution must be included.

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