The department of Forest Biomaterials and Technology (SBT) forms part of the Faculty of Forest Sciences, has about 50 employees and is located in both Umeå and Uppsala. The department carries out high quality research and under- and postgraduate education on a high international level and collaborates with society and industry to develop a bio-based economy where forest biomaterials are an important resource. The major focus in Umeå lies on value chains in the bio-based industry, where different components of forest biomaterials are collected, characterized, separated, modified / processed, used and re-used cost-effectively for different purposes while forest ecosystem services are managed sustainably. In Uppsala, the focus lies on wood science and technology with research and education on wood materials from nano to macro levels and with accredited testing of wood products and treatments for the market.

Background and goals:

One of the obstacles to easy recycling of wood composites is the thermosetting adhesives used in their production. Increasing the recyclability of composites could be achieved by developing bio-based bonding materials that will decompose under specific conditions. Bio-based adhesives such as those based on starch and microfibrillated cellulose have been demonstrated to form strong bonds with wood and wood composites. However, they require significant amounts of, usually synthetic, cross-linking agents to improve their moisture resistance, and unfortunately, these agents significantly reduce the recyclability of such adhesives.

A radical approach is to graft functional groups on to lignocellulosic substrates and to starch or microfibrillated cellulose, which will allow bonding and de-bonding at relatively low reaction temperatures. Thermally healable and reversible bio-based adhesives will allow for a revolutionary recycling concept of both the adhesives and wood components. This concept has been proven in other disciplines but not optimized in any way for wood composites, and this will be the objective of the project.

Work and duties:

The work involves laboratory work to modify (a) hydroxyl containing biopolymers (starch, microfibrillated cellulose) to act as binders and (b) lignocellulosic substrates (wood fibres/ chips, veneers) so that they can bind with the compounds above at low temperatures. In the next step, it will be investigated the bonding and debonding mechanisms of the components. Collaboration with leading Swedish and international producers of renewable polymers and wood products is envisaged. The doctoral student combines both PhD-courses and practical research work. Lecturing and course management duties up to 20% of work time in the subject wood science and technology may be possible, with corresponding prolongation of employment time if needed.


Students with a master’s degree (or equivalent) in chemical engineering, polymer chemistry, wood technology, or material science are eligible to apply for this position. Fluent English language, both in writing and speaking is required. Much emphasis in the evaluation of applications is placed on analytical and problem-solving capacity, motivation and ability to collaborate as well as work individually. Experiences of academic publication is seen as a merit.

Place of work:


Form of employment:

Temporary employment, 4 years



Starting date:

The position may start as agreed between both parties.


We welcome your application no later than 2021-01-04, use the button below.

An assessment and evaluation of applications is based on a written application that should contain a CV, thesis project report, possible additional publications, information about reference persons.

More information about SLU’s doctoral education is available at:

Academic union representatives:

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) develops the understanding and sustainable use and management of biological natural resources. The university ranks well internationally within its subject areas. SLU is a research-intensive university that also offers unique degree programs in for example rural development and natural resource management, environmental economics, animal science, and landscape architecture. SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students, and a turnover of 3 billion SEK. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses in Alnarp, Umeå, and Uppsala. SLU is an equal opportunity employer.


Contact person

Stergios Adamopoulos


+4618-67 24 74

Dan Bergström

Docent / Vice-head of department for post-graduate education


Michael Finell


090-786 87 96