Uppsala University, Department of Chemistry - Ångström Laboratory

Uppsala University strives to be an inclusive workplace that promotes equal opportunities and attracts qualified candidates who can contribute to the University’s excellence and diversity. We welcome applications from all backgrounds and experiences.

PRISMAS - PhD Research and Innovation in Synchrotron Methods and Applications in Sweden – is a new doctoral network training the next generation of 40 leading synchrotron experts, co-funded by the Horizon Europe MSCA COFUND Programme.

As a PRISMAS PhD student, you will have the chance to conduct cutting-edge research in your field, taking advantage of state of the art tools that will bring to attractive future job opportunities in academia or industry. Moreover, you are part of designing the future of synchrotron technology and instrumentation and using these to tackle some of the most significant global challenges the world faces today while acquiring interdisciplinary and intersectoral knowledge. Being part of the PRISMAS programme gives you the one-of-a-kind experience in form of a secondment at the world´s first 4th generation synchrotron, MAX IV in Lund, Sweden. Complemented with a tailored training programme, including courses to build scientific and technical competence as well as strengthen transferrable skills, PRISMAS provides you with the skills, knowledge and competence needed to successfully achieve your doctoral degree.

The Department of Chemistry - Ångström laboratory in Uppsala, Sweden conducts research and education in the chemistry field. The department has more than 260 employees and has a turnover of 290 million SEK. The Department of Chemistry – Ångström aims to ensure a positive work environment and that all employees have the same possibilities to pursue a career within academia and the University. We have a large number of externally funded research projects, often with international cooperation and we see continued good growth in our subject area. It is one of Europe’s best equipped Materials Research Laboratories.

The PhD student will be based within the Structural Chemistry program which includes the Ångström Advanced Battery Center (ÅABC). ÅABC involves the full-time activities of above 100 researchers, of whom 13 are Senior Staff; the remainders are PhD students, postdocs, researchers, technical staff and assistant professors. It is the leading research environment for the development of electrochemical storage materials and advanced battery technology in the Nordic countries.  

The student will be working within the research group of Dr William Brant who specializes in the synthesis and operando characterization of positive electrode materials in lithium and sodium ion batteries. Dr Brant has a background in materials chemistry and crystallography and focuses on studying the structural and electronic evolution of materials during synthesis and operation in a battery. This highly applied research sits on the interface between academia and industry.

Dr Brant’s group consists of four PhD students and two postdocs. They collaborate heavily with major facilities, such as the MAXIV laboratory in Lund, DESY in Hamburg Germany and the ISIS neutron spallation source in the UK, to continually develop advanced operando characterization tools for batteries. The hired PhD student will take on a specialist role developing analysis tools which interface with these methods, building a characterization platform compatible with a broad range of battery chemistries.

The Department of Chemistry – Ångström aims to ensure a positive work environment and that all employees have the same possibilities to pursue a career within academia and the University.


Gustafsson, O.; Schökel, A.; Brant, W. R., Mind the miscibility gap: Cation mixing and current density driven non-equilibrium phase transformations in spinel cathode materials. Frontiers in Energy Research 2022, 10

Gustafsson, O.; Schökel, A.; Brant, W. R., Design and Operation of an Operando Synchrotron Diffraction Cell Enabling Fast Cycling of Battery Materials. Batteries & Supercaps 2021, 4 (10), 1599

Nielsen, I.; Dzodan, D.; Ojwang, D. O.; Henry, P. F.; Ulander, A.; Ek, G.; Häggström, L.; Ericsson, T.; Boström, H. L. B.; Brant, W. R., Water driven phase transitions in Prussian white cathode materials. Journal of Physics: Energy 2022, 4 (4), 044012

What we offer:

Read more about our benefits and what it is like to work at Uppsala University

The MSCA COFUND project PRISMAS offers you outstanding opportunities as well as a stimulating and inspiring surrounding for performing cutting-edge research. Supporting your mobility, it creates perfect conditions for strengthening your international network.

Energy storage devices such as lithium ion batteries are exquisitely complex chemical systems with multiple components interacting in ways dependent on the operating conditions. The intertwined reactions subsequently create changes that manifest over multiple length and time scales. Consequently, developing tools that enable the simultaneous measurement of atomic and electronic changes together with properties is critical to understand performance. The PhD project aims to utilize simultanously combined operando X-ray diffraction and X-ray absorption spectroscopy during rapid electrochemical cycling of batteries to gain a multi-perspective insight into the mechanisms responsible for aging and degradation. Cross correlation of results from different simultanously measured complemental techniques will be a particular focus of this project. For this, you will formulate robust data analysis routines from raw data towards physical and chemical observables. This will create a profound basis for future automation in data analysis, which paves the way for  high throughput studies providing unprecedented insight to the chemical mechanisms responsible for battery performance.

Within the project you will work between the Structural Chemistry group at Uppsala University and the Balder beamline at the MAX IV synchrotron light source in Lund. You will perform combined operando X-ray diffraction and X-ray absorption spectroscopy on various lithium-ion batteries during electrochemical cycling. For this you will develop data analysis routines to cross-correlate measurement results. You will subsequently liase with academic and industrial partners to communicate the results and interpret feedback to improve the data analysis or experimental set up. 

More generally, you will design, plan and execute the experimental work, occasionally in collaboration with other researchers nationally and internationally, critically analyse and discuss the results, and present their work orally at scientific conferences and written in the form of papers in peer-reviewed journals. Attendance at international conferences and travel to synchrotron facilities will be financially supported. The research group is a highly collaborative environment and thus the sharing of expertise and knowledge is expected.

The training implies a secondment of 3-12 months at MAX IV laboratory in Lund, Sweden. Additional secondments and/or short stays may be arranged in agreement with the supervisor of the research project. Moreover, you will attend international conferences, participate in periodical project meetings and training schools as well as in specialised courses at different universities to complement your knowledge. A certain amount of travelling is foreseen in relation to these activities.

You should have:

  • A Masters degree in computational chemistry, physical chemistry, physics or similar area
  • Demonstrated experience with coding in python or similar language
  • very good oral and written proficiency in English.

You are:

  • highly motivated
  • eager to learn new science and willing to ask questions
  • showing strong perserverence in the face of challenging tasks.

Additional qualifications

  • Experience working with batteries or electrochemistry
  • Experience with hard X-ray techniques and experiments, such as diffraction, absorption spectroscopy, pair distribution function analysis, etc
  • Worked within data science, chemometrics or similar areas
  • Previous project work that demonstrates deductive, analytical, and creative problem-solving skills

About the employment
The employment is a temporary position according to the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5 § 7. Scope of employment 100 %. Starting date 2023-09-01 or as agreed. Placement: Uppsala

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).

To comply with the mobility rule of the MSCA COFUND programme, you are eligible if you have not resided in Sweden for more than 12 months during the period 2020-05-01 to 2023-05-02 for work or studies as main occupation.

By the employment date (before 01/09/2023) you must have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses and of those 15 credits are independent assignment, have been awarded a Master´s degree or have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

In addition to the criteria abovementioned, you must have fulfilled a second cycle education in a relevant field, such as computational chemistry, physical chemistry or physics.

You are eligible for the PRISMAS programme, if you are a doctoral candidate, i.e., are not already in possession of a doctoral degree.

How to apply:

Applications are to be submitted via the recruitment system Varbi and must include the following documents:

  • CV in Europass format
  • A two-page cover letter, justifying your interest in the position and how it matches your qualifications as well as the prioritization in case of applying to several PRISMAS positions.
  • at least one reference letter
  • an evidence of English 3 proficiency (minimum B2 level)
  • Copy of academic records (including marks for all coursework) with a transcript of diploma in English,
  • and any other document to which you would like to draw attention (details of referees, letters of recommendation, etc.)

These documents should be uploaded (pdf) in the job application portal. Exam certificates and other documents on paper should be scanned or photographed before being uploaded.

The application will be evaluated based on scientific excellence, the adequacy of your career plan and your thesis project as well as your research experience.

Details on the novel, unique and common selection process for all the PRISMAS positions can be found here: How to apply – MAX IV (lu.se)

For further information about the position, please contact: William Brant, William.brant@kemi.uu.se or Justus Just, justus.just@maxiv.lu.se

If you have questions on the selection process, please contact: prismas@maxiv.lu.se

For questions on the employment conditions and the university, please contact: Martina Hasselgren, martina.hasselgren@kemi.uu.se

Please submit your application by 2st May 2023, UFV-PA 2023/790.

Are you considering moving to Sweden to work at Uppsala University? Find out more about what it´s like to work and live in Sweden.

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 2023-09-01 or as agreed
Salary Fixed salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Uppsala
County Uppsala län
Country Sweden
Reference number UFV-PA 2023/790
Union representative
  • Seko Universitetsklubben, seko@uadm.uu.se
  • ST/TCO, tco@fackorg.uu.se
  • Saco-rådet, saco@uadm.uu.se
Published 03.Feb.2023
Last application date 02.May.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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