Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top universities. The University has around 45 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

Description of the workplace

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 and is 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 lead 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. 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 student will be employed in the Centre for Analysis and Synthesis (CAS) in the Chemistry Department at Lund University. CAS teaches both science and engineering students and research in CAS is broad and multidisciplinary, covering analytical, inorganic, materials, polymer and organic chemistry. More information on CAS can be found at

The Edler group research focuses on understanding the formation of functional hierarchically structured materials in order to apply that understanding to make new materials. We use self-assembly, driven by interactions between nanoscopic species (micelles, nanoparticles, polymers) in solution and at interfaces to form materials with organized structures from nm to cm. Characterisation of our materials using X-ray and neutron scattering techniques is central to our work. At present research areas in the group include self-assembly in deep eutectic solvents, nanoparticle growth, gels and emulsions prepared using partially oxidised cellulose nanofibrils, novel bio-derived surfactants, mesoporous inorganic materials and polymer-stabilised lipid nanodiscs for membrane protein supports. Extensive collaborations with other groups in industry and academia apply the novel materials synthesised in our group to applications from delivery of active species, to catalysis and “green” gels or emulsions. This position will continue our work on nanocellulose suspensions studying alignment, rheology modification and formation of thin films, using scattering techniques to understand how nanostructures affect macroscopic properties.

The main supervisor, Prof Karen Edler is expert in nanoscale structure determination using X-ray and neutron scattering, in particular small angle scattering from cellulose gels and surfactant-cellulose solutions. She moved from the University of Bath, UK to Lund University in May 2022. Her group has 5 PhD students and 2 postdocs in Lund. The Edler group webpage is at

The project will be co-supervised by Prof Roland Kádár at Chalmers where he runs the Rheology Lab in the Rheology and Processing of Soft Matter group, arguably the most advanced in the Nordic countries. Within the Chalmers – MAX IV cooperation the two labs share instrumentation, which includes measuring geometries but also bringing to MAX IV a state-of-the-art rheometer for niche experiments. Furthermore, the current postdoc shared between the group at Chalmers and MAX IV, Dr. Marko Bek, will be a key cooperation partner for the PhD student.


Schmitt, J, Calabrese, V, Edler, KJ, et al (2023). Surfactant induced gelation of TEMPO-oxidised cellulose nanofibril dispersions probed using small angle neutron scattering  J. Chem. Phys158(3) 034901 (2023) DOI: 10.1063/5.0129276.

Bryant, SJ, da Silva, MA, Edler, KJ et al, (2021). Non-Volatile Conductive Gels Made From Deep Eutectic Solvents and Oxidised Cellulose Nanofibrils, Nanoscale Advances 3(8), 2252 DOI: 10.1039/D0NA00976H.

Kádár, R., Terry, A., Nygård, K. et al (2023). Challenges in nano-structured fluid flows for assembly into hierarchical biomaterials. AIP Conference Proceedings, 2997.

Project description

Cellulose is one of the most abundant materials on the planet, and cellulose fibrils are strong, lightweight and biodegradable. Key to their future use as rheology modifiers in e.g. paints or cosmetics, in cellulose packaging films or in 2D or 3D printing inks, is control of their hierarchical structure. Elucidating the multiscale behavior in flow as well as when formed into films remains a challenge. In a collaboration between Lund University (Prof Karen Edler), Chalmers (Prof Roland Kádár) and the ForMAX beamline at MAX IV (Dr Kim Nygård), this project will combine rheology, polarized light imaging and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) on suspensions and dynamic mechanical analysis with SAXS on thin films in new simultaneous measurements, developed recently at MAX IV. Shear-aligned nanocrystals give structural colour, so printing cellulose suspensions could avoid use of toxic inks on biobased packaging. We will also study nanocellulose films: film flexibility, strength, and response to humidity are key for packaging. This project will be the first to apply these two unique techniques to the understanding and development of novel nanocellulosic materials.

Work duties

The Chalmers – MAX IV cooperation framework has recently developed two key experimental techniques: simultaneous rheology with polarized light imaging and SAXS (rheo-PLI-SAXS) and dynamic mechanical analysis in a moisture-temperature controlled sample environment coupled with SWAXS (DMA-MTC-SWAXS). With rheo-PLI-SAXS we can investigate simultaneously all levels of the cellulose nanomaterials’ hierarchy, from nanoscale to self-assembled mesoscale structures and up to flow scale (e.g. instabilities). With DMA-MTC-SWAXS we can now assess the thermo-mechanical properties of the formed films in a controlled humidity environment, including their long-term properties using non-destructive tests. This project, based at Lund, will therefore link cellulose nanostructures with macroscale properties to enable development of rationally engineered materials. The project will study both aqueous suspensions of cellulose nanofibrils and suspensions in novel deep eutectic solvents, to better understand the role of solvent as well as fibril characteristics in suspension behaviour. The X-ray scattering work will be carried out largely at MAX IV but may also require travel to use other neutron and synchrotron X-ray scattering facilities in the UK and Europe. The student will also spend time working at the Rheology Lab in the Rheology and Processing of Soft Matter group, in Chalmers to use the advanced equipment available there.

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%). 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.

Admission requirements

A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if the applicant:

  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

A person meets the specific admission requirements for third cycle studies in materials chemistry if the applicant has:

  • at least 30 credits of relevance to the subject area, of which at least 15 credits from the second cycle and a specialised project of at least 15 second-cycle credits in the subject, or
  • an MSc in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or Engineering Nanoscience or closely related topic

Finally, the student must be judged to have the potential to complete the programme.

Additional requirements:

  • Very good oral and written proficiency in English.
  • Practical experience gained from research work in chemistry, including characterization of (bio)polymer solutionssafe handling of chemicals and equipment is essential.
  • Strong numerical skills and confident use of software for data analysis is essential.
  • Confidence in handling and assembling scientific equipment is essential.

Assessment criteria

Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student’s potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following:

  1. Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study.
  2. An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.
  3. Written and oral communication skills
  4. Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience.

Other assessment criteria:

  • Background knowledge of structural analysis techniques, such as rheology, X-ray scattering is desirable
  • Knowledge of green chemistry principles and sustainability considerations is desirable.
  • Letters of recommendation from relevant persons/institutions are required

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

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 2020-10-30 to 2023-10-31 for work or studies as main occupation.

By the employment date (before 01/03/2024) you must have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, 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 mentioned above, you must have fulfilled a second cycle education in a relevant field, such as chemistry, nanoscience or chemical engineering

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

We offer
Lund University is a public authority which means that employees get benefits, generous annual leave, and an advantageous occupational pension scheme. Read more on the University website about being a Lund University employee Benefits for employees | Lund University

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

Terms of employment
Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies at LTH consist of full-time studies for 4 years. A doctoral studentship is a fixed-term employment of a maximum of 5 years (including 20% departmental duties). Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§.

How to apply

Applications are to be submitted via the Varbi 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.)

All 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.

In regard to incomplete applications (especially if lacking the abovementioned documents), the PRISMAS Management reserves the right to exclude them in the selection process, without any additional notification to the applicant.

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 (


For more detailed information on the position or the research project, please contact:
Prof. Karen Edler,, +46(0)46-2228734

If you have questions on the selection process, please contact:

For questions on the employment conditions and the university, please contact:
Erik Andersson Jardby, Human Resources Administrator,

LTH forms the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University, with approximately 9 000 students. The research carried out at LTH is of a high international standard and we are continuously developing our teaching methods and adapting our courses to current needs.

We kindly decline all sales and marketing contacts.

Type of employmentTemporary position
First day of employment2024-03-01 or as agreed
SalaryMonthly salary
Number of positions1
Full-time equivalent100
CountySkåne län
Reference numberPA2023/2723
ContactErik Andersson Jardby, Edler,, +46(0)46-2228734
Union representativeOFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-2229362SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet,
Last application date31.Oct.2023 11:59 PM CET

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