Skip to main content

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

KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has grown to become one of Europe’s leading technical and engineering universities, as well as a key centre of intellectual talent and innovation. We are Sweden’s largest technical research and learning institution and home to students, researchers and faculty from around the world. Our research and education covers a wide area including natural sciences and all branches of engineering, as well as architecture, industrial management, urban planning, history and philosophy.

Project description

Third-cycle subject: Chemistry

Our current climate emergency demands the transition to a biobased and circular economy, where multiple products can be derived from renewable resources. The PhD student will be involved in the BioUPGRADE project (FET-Open program), whose vision is to integrate functional genomics and material science to transform nature’s structural polymers into a cascade of bioproducts. The candidate is expected to participate in all activities of the project including research, meetings, dissemination, and guidance of undergraduate students.

The PhD student will apply enzymes for the modification of natural polymers, with a focus on hemicelluloses, towards applications in hydrogels for health and personal care. The PhD student will develop the biocatalytic modification routes, and will perform morphological and functional characterization of the derived materials.

The other partners in the BioUPGRADE project include Prof. Emma Master at Aalto University (Finland), Prof. Raúl Pérez-Jiménez at Nanoscience Cooperative Research Center CIC nanoGUNE (Spain) and Dr. Janak Sapkota at UPM-KYMMENE (Finland).

 Supervision: The doctoral student will be supervised by: Associate Professor Francisco Vilaplana

What we offer


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 degree at advanced level,
  • completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, of which at least 60 higher education credits at advanced level, or
  • in any other way acquired within or outside the country acquired essentially equivalent knowledge.
  • Requirements for English equivalent to English B/6, read more here.
  • The potential candidate must have a Master’s degree in biotechnology, material sciences, or chemical sciences and engineering. Previous knowledge/experience in the field of lignocellulose biomass, polysaccharide (bio)chemistry, and/or macromolecular/polymer science is an advantage. Previous knowledge/experience in enzyme production and handling would also be valuable.


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.
  • excellent communication skills in written & oral English

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 & 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. (max. 2 pages long)
  • Copies of diplomas & 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
  • 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 & 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 longer than 6 months
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
Working hours 100%
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number C-2021-0608
  • Francisco Vilaplana, +46 70 166 7417 or
Published 08.Apr.2021
Last application date 29.Apr.2021 11:59 PM CEST

Return to job vacancies