School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health at KTH

Project description

Third-cycle subject: Chemical Science and Engineering

Wallenberg Wood Science Center (WWSC) is a research center striving for scientific excellence, with a focus on new materials from trees. The center creates knowledge and builds competence for an innovative and sustainable future value creation from forest raw materials. WWSC is a multidisciplinary collaboration between KTH, Chalmers, and Linköping University. The base is a donation from Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, and the forest industry is supporting WWSC via the national platform Treesearch.

Wood is a formidable composite material with unique biological functions and outstanding properties in material applications. Hemicelluloses are key components in wood interlocking cellulose microfibrils and lignin. We have previously demonstrated that wood hemicelluloses have regular repeating motifs that modulate the interactions with cellulose fibre surfaces. This enables hemicelluloses to assemble into rigid and flexible domains on the surface of cellulose fibres. This research program will exploit the biological function of hemicelluloses for the enzymatic surface functionalization of wood fibres. The PhD candidate will study the surface interactions between wood hemicelluloses and cellulose fibres using simulations and experimental approaches. The candidate will investigate the mechanisms of enzymatic action towards hemicelluloses adsorbed onto cellulose surfaces, and how the introduced functional groups influence the stability and rheological properties of the wood fibres using spectroscopic and scattering techniques.

Supervision: Franciso Vilaplana is proposed to supervise the doctoral student. Decisions are made on admission

What we offer

  • The possibility to study in a dynamic and international research environment in collaboration with industries and prominent universities from all over the world.Read more
  • A workplace with many employee benefits and monthly salary according to KTH’s Doctoral student salary agreement.
  • A postgraduate education at an institution that is active and supportive in matters pertaining to working conditions, gender equality and diversity as well as study environment.
  • Work and study in Stockholm, close to nature and the water.
  • Help to relocate and be settled in Sweden and at KTH.
  • Membership in the graduate school WWSC Academy, where ca 70 PhD students have been educated over the last 13 years and afterwards found attractive jobs both in academia, start-ups and industry.
  • The PhD student will be a part of the Division of Glycoscience at the Department of Chemistry at KTH, which is a multidisciplinary environment with competences on molecular biology, biochemistry and materials sciences towards the use of natural polymers for the environment and health.

Admission requirements

To be admitted to postgraduate education (Chapter 7, 39 § Swedish Higher Education Ordinance), the applicant must have basic eligibility in accordance with either of the following:

  • passed a second cycle degree (for example a master's degree), or
  • completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, of which at least 60 second-cycle higher education credits, or
  • acquired, in some other way within or outside the country, substantially equivalent knowledge

The potential candidate must have a Master’s degree on chemical sciences and engineering, biotechnology, or biochemistry. Previous knowledge/experience in the field of lignocellulose biomass, polysaccharide (bio)chemistry, and/or macromolecular/polymer science is an advantage.

In addition to the above, there is also a mandatory requirement for English equivalent to English B/6, read more here


In order to succeed as a doctoral student at KTH you need to be goal oriented and persevering in your work. During the selection process, candidates will be assessed upon their ability to:

  • independently pursue his or her work
  • collaborate with others,
  • have a professional approach and
  • analyse and work with complex issues.
  • The applicant must be able to speak and write scientific English, and speak English fluently as it is a language spoken at the department.
  • The applicant should have documented skills in summarizing research results in written and oral presentation.

After the qualification requirements, great emphasis will be placed on personal competency. 

Target degree: Doctoral degree

Information regarding admission and employment

Only those admitted to postgraduate education may be employed as a doctoral student. The total length of employment may not be longer than what corresponds to full-time doctoral education in four years ' time. An employed doctoral student can, to a limited extent (maximum 20%), perform certain tasks within their role, e.g. training and administration. A new position as a doctoral student is for a maximum of one year, and then the employment may be renewed for a maximum of two years at a time.

Union representatives

You will find contact information for union representatives on KTH's website.

Doctoral section (Students’ union on KTH Royal Institute of Technology)

You will find contact information for doctoral section on the section's website.


Apply for the position and admission through KTH's recruitment system. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the advertisement.

Applications must be received at the last closing date at midnight, CET/CEST (Central European Time/entral European Summer Time).

Applications must include the following elements:

  • CV including your relevant professional experience and knowledge.
  • Application letter with a brief description of why you want to pursue research studies, about what your academic interests are and how they relate to your previous studies and future goals. (Maximum 2 pages long)
  • Copies of diplomas and grades from previous university studies and certificates of fulfilled language requirements (see above). Translations into English or Swedish if the original document is not issued in one of these languages.Copies of originals must be certified.
  • Representative publications or technical reports. For longer documents, please provide a summary (abstract) and a web link to the full text.

Other information

Striving towards gender equality, diversity and equal conditions is both a question of quality for KTH and a given part of our values.

For information about processing of personal data in the recruitment process please read here.

We firmly decline all contact with staffing and recruitment agencies and job ad salespersons.

Disclaimer: In case of discrepancy between the Swedish original and the English translation of the job announcement, the Swedish version takes precedence.



Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment According to agreement
Salary Monthly salary according to KTH's doctoral student salary agreement
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number C-2022-2043
  • Francisco Vilaplana, +46(0)701667417
Published 06.Oct.2022
Last application date 20.Jan.2023 11:59 PM CET

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