KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Postdoctoral scholarship – Investigating Structure-Property Relationships in Lignin-based Materials

KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Stockholm, Sweden

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 center 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.

The workplace

Wallenberg Wood Science Center (WWSC) is a research center which started in 2009 and is funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation. WWSC is a multidisciplinary collaboration between Chalmers, KTH and Linköping University striving for scientific excellence, and the overall aim is to develop new materials from trees. The mission of the center is to create knowledge and competence as a basis for eco-friendly materials for the future. For more information: www.wwsc.se and www.kth.se/fpt

The post doctors will work directly with Assoc. Professor Martin Lawoko and Professor Lars Berglund.

Project Description

Environmental concerns have prompted the necessity to adopt the usage of materials based on sustainable resources. Lignin is the most abundant renewable source of phenolic compounds and an attractive alternative to fossil-based ones, currently in the markets e.g. bisphenol-A, that are used as polymer precursors for synthesis of thermosets, adhesives etc. However, available technical lignins are highly heterogeneous and may require costly refining to obtain fractions that are better suited as polymer precursors. New extractions protocols developed in our laboratory will be adopted and optimized to produce homogeneous lignins with desirable qualities as polymer precursors.

This project will focus on structure-property relationships in Lignin-based materials, which will be studied systematically using lignins obtained by mild extraction techniques from various wood species, including transgenic woods. The detailed lignin structure will be studied by advanced 1D, 2 D NMR techniques and Size Exclusion Chromatography. Subsequently, different formulations will be adopted to synthesize lignin-based materials. The thermomechanical properties of such materials will be thoroughly studied using TGA and DMA techniques, and related to molecular properties of lignin. The post doctors are funded by Knut and Alice Wallenberg’s foundation.


The applicant must have completed a doctoral degree in polymer chemistry, organic chemistry, or other related field. The degree must have been obtained within three years from the application deadline.

We seek candidates with skills in polymer- or organic synthesis skills and some knowledge of/experience with NMR analysis. Previous experience with analysis of lignin or other wood biopolymers is advantageous but not necessary.

We are looking for candidates who are able to work independently with high productivity and efficiency. Good communication- and laboratory skills are important. Critical thinking, good planning and flexibility are desirable qualities.


Apply to this scholarship by e-mail to kajsau@kth.se. You are the main responsible to ensure that your application is complete according to the ad. Your complete application must be received at KTH no later than 2019-12-31. Mark your application with reference number C-2019-2129.

The application must include the following documents:
• Curriculum vitae
• Cover letter (detailing both your previous scientific work experience and your interest in this position)
• Contact information for two references

Please observe that you apply for a scholarship, not an employment.

About the position

Period: 1 year (with possibility to extend to 2 years)
Extent: Full-time
Number of scholarship: Up to two (2)
Amount of scholarship: According to agreement
Location: Stockholm

Martin Lawoko, Associate Professor
WWSC, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH)
E-mail: lawoko@kth.se

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


Apply with CV and Cover Letter

Must be a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file and no larger than 1MBMust be a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file and no larger than 1MB

Postdoctoral scholarship – Investigating Structure-Property Relationships in Lignin-based Materials