Postdoctoral Researcher in machine learning for inferring chemical toxicity 87 views

We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher with expertise in machine learning to work on an exciting collaboration project between Prof. S. Kaski’s team in Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence FCAI at Aalto University and Janssen Pharmaceutica. The exciting research problem is to learn to infer toxicity of chemicals based on the chemical structure, and the great opportunity is that we have unique data for the learning. This is an outstanding opportunity to both develop new probabilistic machine learning methods and to gain necessary skills to place yourself for success both in the pharmaceutical industry as well as in academia. Janssen Pharmaceutica and FCAI support and expect publication of the outcome of this work in top peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences.

The successful candidate will be employed by Aalto University and work in Otaniemi campus (Helsinki, Finland) for the 1st year of the 2-year contract. During the 2nd year, the work will be performed at Janssen Pharmaceutica premises in Beerse, Belgium (about a 30-minute drive east of the main Belgian port city of Antwerp).

The brand Janssen (referring to Dr. Paul Janssen, founder of Janssen Pharmaceutica) unites all pharmaceutical companies under the umbrella of Johnson and Johnson, one of the biggest health care companies in the world. Over the last few years, Janssen has invested substantially in virtualizing part of the research process by introducing large scale machine learning to leverage the extensive datasets accessible to the company: chemical descriptions and biological activity annotations for millions of compounds across thousands of assays, and information rich but hard-to-interpret compound documentation like microscopy images or transcriptomics profiles at fully industrial scale.

The Beerse site, where the successful candidate will work for the second year of this postdoctoral position, has been pivotal in this move. For instance, it has initiated more than half a dozen active collaborative research projects across Europe, involving satellite European sites where helpful.

Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence FCAI is an initiative of Aalto University and the University of Helsinki towards the next generation of AI that is interactive, dependable and data-efficient, partnering with companies and the public sector. For more information, see

Aalto University is located in Otaniemi, within the Helsinki Metropolitan area, which forms a world-class information technology hub, attracting leading scientists and researchers in various fields of ICT and related disciplines. Moreover, as the birth place of Linux, and the home base of Nokia/Alcatel-Lucent/Bell Labs, F-Secure, Rovio, Supercell, Slush (the biggest annual startup event in Europe) and numerous other technologies and innovations, Helsinki is fast becoming one of the leading technology startup hubs in Europe. As a living and working environment, Finland consistently ranks high in quality of life, and Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is regularly ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world.


  • PhD in Computer Science, Statistics, Data Science or a related quantitative field. Experience of interaction with research chemists or biologists in an academic or industrial setting is a plus.
  • demonstrated experience in developing, refining and deploying state-of-the-art machine learning approaches
  • experience with deployment in the cloud and/or at HPC facilities is a definite plus
  • excellent communication, reporting and team interaction skills, self-motivation, proactivity and the ability to work independently

The salary for a postdoctoral researcher starts typically from 3 500  EUR per month and increases based on experience. In addition to the salary, the contract includes occupational health benefits, and Finland has a comprehensive social security system. In addition, reasonable costs directly associated with the two-site collaboration will be covered.


  • A letter of motivation describing the applicant’s previous research experience and future research interests (max one page)
  • CV
  • List of publications
  • Contact details of at least 2 senior academics available to provide references
  • A transcript of the doctoral studies and degree certificate of the PhD degree

All material should be submitted in English. Short-listed candidates may be invited for an interview in Helsinki or for an interview conducted via Skype. We will start reviewing the applications immediately, and the call will remain open until the right candidate is found.


  • Research related information: Samuel Kaski (
  • Application process, practical arrangements: Akseli Kohtamaki (

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 six schools with nearly 11 000 students and nearly 400 professors. Our campuses are located in Espoo and Helsinki, Finland.

As a community of high ethics we want to assure the highest international standard in research, education and teaching. We expect all our community members to respect Aalto values and follow the ethical principles of fair play and integrity in all our activities and the behaviour that we expect from each other. The Aalto University Code of Conduct is applicable to all Aalto community members and it clarifies the values that guide us.

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