I have been awarded the Academy of Finland Research Fellow position (see official decision). This is a fully-funded 5-year personal fellowship that also includes funds for start building (in our case consolidate) a research group, enough to cover one researcher at the postdoctoral level. The project will focus on the development of flexible machine-learning-based reactive force fields, able to deal with the complex chemistry of CHO (carbon-hydrogen-oxygen) containing systems. This is a very challenging problem since accurate inclusion of electrostatic interactions in ML potentials requires rethinking many of the design choices currently in place (mostly related to the assumption of locality for interatomic interactions).
We will use the new interatomic potential to study the chemistry of cellulose, a renewable material which is a critical asset to the Finnish economy and is used, for example, to produce carbon microfibers. There are significant ongoing efforts into cellulose research at Aalto University, notably the Academy of Finland funded FinnCERES competence center, which we will join in the context of this new project.
The grant includes about 438k EUR personal funding plus up to 400k EUR funding for research costs (including personnel) that are allocated separately in two stages.