Job ID: 199216

Postdoctoral Researcher or Doctoral student working on Material Point Method modelling of Dynamic Soil Exchange

Aalto University

  • Nov. 10, 2022
  • Postdoctoral Researcher or Doctoral student working on Material Point Method modelling of Dynamic Soil Exchange
  • T214 Civil Engineering
  • Aalto University

  • Open until filled
  • Available immediately
  • Graduate Student
  • Civil Engineering
Aalto University is a community of bold thinkers where science and art meet technology and business. We are committed to identifying and solving grand societal challenges and building an innovative future. Aalto University has been ranked the 9th best young university in the world (Top 50 under 50, QS 2018) and one of the world’s top technology challenger universities (THE 2017), for its outside-the-box thinking on research collaboration, funding and innovation. Aalto has six schools with nearly 11 000 students and 4000 employees of whome close to 400 are professors. Our main campus is located in Espoo, capital area of Finland.

We believe that people from diverse backgrounds can together reach the best results. Diversity is part of who we are: for example, over 40% of our academic faculty comes from outside Finland. We warmly encourage qualified candidates from all backgrounds, especially minorities, to apply, as we want to ensure our community’s diversity and inclusiveness in the future as well. We are committed to equal and transparent recruitment procedures.

 At Aalto, high-quality research, art, education and entrepreneurship are promoted hand in hand. Disciplinary excellence is combined with multidisciplinary activities, engaging both students and the local innovation ecosystem. Our main campus is quickly transforming into an open collaboration hub that encourages encounters between students, researchers, industry, startups and other partners. Aalto University was founded in 2010 as three leading Finnish universities, Helsinki University of Technology, the Helsinki School of Economics and the University of Art and Design Helsinki, were merged to strengthen Finland’s innovative capability.

We are now looking for a Postdoctoral Researcher or Doctoral student working on Material Point Method modelling of Dynamic Soil Exchange

Problem to be solved

Are you interested in your research having an impact on engineering practice? Are you interested in contributing to a reduction of material use and CO2 emissions in construction? We are now looking for a researcher who would work on an Academy of Finland project developing Granular Material Point Method and simulate impact compaction and dynamic soil exchange.
The impact compaction methods of soil improvement are much more environmentally friendly than most used alternatives like piling or soil mixing. The research should provide basis for a wider application of impact compaction and dynamic soil exchange for soil improvement in Finland and abroad. This will help to reduce the cost and the CO2 emissions related to construction, aiding Finnish goal of being carbon neutral in 2035.

Your first task will be to replicate with Granular Material Point Method the observed soil behaviour during the impact compaction both at the laboratory scale and field scale. Later, you will use the validated simulation framework to investigate the use of impact compaction in a new environment, as well as check how to reduce the impact of vibrations on the neighbourhood. Based on your research you should be able to give updated guidelines for the design and application of dynamic compaction and dynamic soil exchange. Additionally, you will contribute to the development of Material Point Method and numerical algorithms, as well as to other research related to soil improvement.

Your network and team

Your research will build on more than a decade of successful research on the Material Point Method in the group of Prof. Sołowski that led to the development of the Granular Material Point Method, a numerical method now suitable for simulation of material mixing. In your research, you will cooperate with the researchers in the group of Professor Sołowski, who are working on the development of the Granular Material Point Method and the industrial and academic partners of the project.
The partners of the project include global companies, such as Menard, ELU Konsult, AFRY, Ramboll as well as Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (Väylävirasto). The academic partners are Chalmers University, the University of Utah and the Silesian University of Technology. The project will include research visits abroad.

Your experience and ambitions

To be successful in the offered post, you need to be motivated and willing to succeed in performing world-class research. You will be working and developing Uintah software, a very powerful C++ code developed in Utah, US, as well as at Aalto University. Hence, general knowledge of programming and a good knowledge of C++ or fluency in another programming language is necessary. Uintah software runs in Linux operating system and basic knowledge of Linux would help in starting your work smoothly. Furthermore, you need to know continuum mechanics well, as well as how constitutive models of materials are defined in the continuum mechanics framework. You also need to have knowledge of numerical methods and algorithms they use, as well as the basic knowledge of the differential equations describing material behaviour, including its behaviour under dynamic impact. In case you apply for postdoctoral position, your research experience should support the research subject.

For the position, it is recommended, but not strictly required that you took courses on geotechnical engineering and that you know well and understand the limitations of constitutive models for soils, such as Mohr-Coulomb and Modified Cam Clay as those constitutive models will be the starting points for your research. Additionally, some knowledge related to fracture mechanics, water flow in porous media, compaction of granular materials and how material microstructure affects its macroscopic properties is welcome.

The post requires excellent English language skills. For the position, we are seeking applicants that have an ambition to conduct world class research, publish in top journals in the field and become a world-class researcher in the future.

What we offer

We offer work in a very stimulating environment where you will conduct world-class research and publish your research results in leading scientific journals. The project you will be working on will provide you with valuable contacts both at universities and in companies. You will also gain experience on research visits, possible at: Silesian University of Technology, Poland, Chalmers University, Sweden and the University of Utah, US.

Aalto University offers a possibility to work within a well-resourced learning community where students are rigorously selected and highly motivated. According to its strategy, Aalto University targets at shaping a sustainable future by renewing society with research-based knowledge, creativity and an entrepreneurial mindset. The values of the university are responsibility, courage and collaboration.

The initial salary will be defined according Aalto University salary scale for doctoral students or postdoctoral researchers. In addition to the salary, Aalto University provides its employees with occupational health care services and retirement benefits. Finland also has a comprehensive social security system.

Finland offers a safe and healthy environment for living with excellent state-subsidized services including affordable daycare, health care, and free schools ranked among the best in the world. Finland is among the best countries in the world, according to many quality-of-life indicators, including - for the fifth year in a row - being the happiest country in the world (UN study 2022). We are one of the world’s most reliable and stable nations with a high level of safety. With high investments in R&D, a strong innovation culture, open data, and advanced state of digitalization, we are a nation of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Nordic values of equality and co-operation are rooted deeply into our society. Gender equality, flexibility and low hierarchy form the core of our Nordic working environment.

Ready to apply?

If you want to join our community, please submit your application through our electronic recruitment system. A link to the recruitment system can be found at the end of this job advertisement via the text “Apply now”. The position is open until filled.

Aalto University’s employees and visitors should apply for the position via the internal HR system Workday (keyword Find Jobs) by using their existing Workday user account (not via the external webpage for open positions).
If you wish to hear more about the position, you can reach out to Prof. Wojciech Sołowski, In questions related to the recruitment process, please contact HR Coordinator Merja Seppänen .

Your contract duration will be up to 4 years (initially 2 years, followed by a review and another 2 year contract) if you apply for a doctoral student position, or 3 years if you apply for a postdoctoral researcher position. Your salary will follow the Aalto University guidelines for salary range for doctoral students or postdoctoral researchers. The initial salary for doctoral student is 2577 euros and it increases to the maximum of 3223 euros during your studies. The typical starting salary for postdoctoral researcher is 3740 euros.

To apply for a doctoral student position, please supply:

- motivation letter
- resume with names of 2 referees who are willing to give references for you, either in writing or during a discussion on the phone or video call.
- MSc thesis
- courses and grades from your MSc studies (transcript). The transcript should be translated into English, though at the application stage, the translation may be done by you
- certificate of English fluency.

Additionally, you need to satisfy the requirements for becoming a doctoral student at Aalto, see  You will likely be required to apply for the study right in March 2023, as that is likely the nearest application time for a doctoral study right after the completion of the hiring process. Before your study right is granted, you will be hired as a project worker, with the doctoral student position offered after the granting of the study right.

To apply for a postdoctoral position, please share with us:

- motivation letter
- resume with names of 2 referees who are willing to give references for you, either in writing or during a discussion on the phone or video call.
- 3 scientific papers you published with short description of your contribution to the paper and why you consider it one of the 3 best papers you ever published. The papers and descriptions should be combined into a single file (either a .pdf or .zip).
- certificate of graduation with a doctoral degree (can be supplied later).
- doctoral thesis

The position is open until filled. Please expect to be contacted soon after your application (this period is extended to 4 weeks during holiday season). If you are selected for an online interview, you will also be asked to provide a presentation and discuss materials related to Material Point Method and impact compaction simulations.

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Aalto University works in a hybrid way nowadays, the primary workplace is the Otaniemi campus in Espoo. The campus is a thriving and connected community of 100 nationalities, 12 000 students and 4 500 employees. Life at the transformed campus is vibrant and filled with appraised architecture, calming nature, and a variety of cafes, restaurants and other services and excellent commuting connections along the recently opened metro line. For more information about the campus, please take part in a virtual tour:

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