Doctoral Researcher in Sustainability of Wooden Construction

Doctoral Researcher in Sustainability of Wooden Construction

The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry at the University of Helsinki invites applications for the position of a Doctoral researcher in Sustainability of Wooden Construction (puurakentamisen kokonaiskestävyys). The Doctoral researcher will work at the Department of Forest Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry at University of Helsinki and the doctoral studies will be carried out within the doctoral program AGFOREE (Doctoral Programme for the sustainable use of renewable natural resources).

The Doctoral researcher will be appointed for a fixed-term 3-year contract (start date: March 4, 2024 or as agreed) to work in a project entitled “Hyytiälä Living Lab – Sustainable wood construction and human health’. The project will be supervised by Professor, Dean Ritva Toivonen and Postdoctoral researcher Jaakko Jussila (Department of Forest sciences, University of Helsinki), and Research professor Katja Lähtinen (Natural Resources Institute Finland, LUKE)

The “Hyytiälä Living Lab – sustainable wood construction and human wellbeing” -project aims at designing, building and pilot testing a physical, experimental, and multidisciplinary research environment to University of Helsinki Forest Research Station in Hyytiälä (Juupajoki, Pirkanmaa). The research project will utilize modern massive timber buildings (conference/learning and catering building and accommodation buildings constructed during 2021-2023). The project consists of several interrelated infrastructure and research projects. 

The work of the Doctoral researcher entails delivering new research knowledge on assessing overall multi-dimensional sustainability of wood construction and covering the building life-cycle (from raw material production to construction, use of building, and material recycling after the use-time of the building). Various sustainability dimensions (economic, ecological, social/cultural) and their potential interrelatedness are considered, as well as dimension-related indicators/criteria. The appointee’s research aims to understand how particularly human health and wellbeing are related to the dimensions, or how climate and biodiversity impacts, technological advancements, or financial viability of wood construction may be related to sustainability. It is also of interest to better understand potential inter-relatedness, or trade-offs, between sustainability impacts by life-cycle phases, or to whom do they accrue.

One goal for the research is to develop a framework/model that provides one basis for systematic (multi-dimensional) overall sustainability assessment of wood construction over the building life-cycle. The framework would also support assessing the impacts of improved sustainability from the point of view of various actors (incl. businesses, society and citizens). The research will utilize the new Hyytiälä Living Lab environment and the related data as the research material when relevant.

Doctoral researcher: We are looking for a highly motivated, skilled researcher with a Master’s degree, who is experienced in forest economics/environmental economics, wood construction/building technologies, or related field(s). Experience in quantitative methodologies (e.g., life-cycle analysis, statistical modeling), and knowledge on building/housing are considered assets.

A successful candidate should be able to:

  • Independently design, conduct, and report research within the scope of the project.
  • Contribute to undergraduate student supervision and teaching within the department.
  • Engage with the scientific community, and the wider public, internationally and domestically through scientific publications, conference presentations, blogs etc.

The candidate is expected to have:

Education, experience and technical skills

  • A relevant Master’s degree as described above.
  • Fluency in English, including excellent writing skills. Skills in the official languages of Finland (Finnish, Swedish) are an asset.
  • Experience in working within wood-forestry sector and construction/housing industry are considered an advantage.
  • Interest and experience in collaborating with forest/construction industry.

Personal attributes and competencies

  • Strong motivation in participating and implementing scientific research.
  • Excellent analytical research skills, active and goal-oriented approach.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Experience and willingness to work within multicultural and multidisciplinary teams.
  • High motivation and skills in working and communicating in academic-practice interface.

The appointee should either already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki by the start of the appointment or apply for the right and obtain it within the probationary period of six months of their appointment. If the candidate does not already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, it is to be applied for separately, please see:

The starting salary of the Doctoral researcher will be based on level 2 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on personal performance. The starting salary of the Doctoral researcher will be ca. 2400-2600 euros/month, depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience.

The University of Helsinki offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care, health insurance, unemployment and pension fund, a holiday package, sports facilities, and opportunities for professional development. A six-month trial period will be applied, and the workplace of the position is Helsinki. 

Image by rzoze19 –

  • Deadline: 31 January 2024
  • Type: PhD position
  • Location: University of Helsinki, Finland