Doctoral student in Biology/Biogeochemistry (MSCA COFOUND project PRISMAS)

Lund University
May 02, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:fixed term position
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A
Lund University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world's top 100 universities. The University has around 46 000 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.

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, co-funded by theHorizon 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 bring 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. Complemented 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.

Description of the workplace

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Sciences. The Faculty is organized into nine departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees. The Biology Department has approximately 450 students, 75 postgraduate students and 300 employees.

Biology is the broad subject about all living things. It encompasses everything from processes at the molecular and cellular level to global processes at ecosystem level. The subject is divided into a range of sub-disciplines and specialisations. The PhD programme at the Department of Biology includes many of these specialisations, from molecular biology to applied ecology, from viruses and individual cells to evolutionary biology and global biodiversity. Taking on research studies at the Department of Biology generally means focusing on a delimited part of the research area of biology and may include field studies, experiments, theoretical studies, or a combination of those. The advertised project requires an interdisciplinary approach, and the team of researchers to support the project has been assembled to include expertise in biogeochemistry, fungal taxonomy, metabolic strategy and the expertise to probe transformation and mobilization of Fe and OC. Main supervisor will be Prof. Emma Kritzberg with a background in aquatic biogeochemistry with a particular focus on links and transformations between and across compartments of the landscape (https: // kritzberg). Kritzberg's group has made important contributions to current knowledge about freshwater browning, and been pioneering when it comes to the role of iron to this process and linking browning to land-use change. Her group has through interdisciplinary collaborations contributed to much of the novel knowledge about transport and transformations of Fe that provides the starting point for the proposed project.

Other key persons to the project are Prof. Håkan Wallander (Dept of Biology), Dr. Dimitrios Floudas (Dept of Biology), Prof. Per Persson (Centre for Environmental and Climate Research) and Dr. Susan Nehzati (Max IV).


Škerlep M, Nehzati S, Johansson U, Kleja DB, Persson P, ES Kritzberg. 2022. Spruce forest afforestation leading to increased Fe mobilization from soils. Biogeochemistry 157: 273-290 10.1007/s10533-021-00874-9

Björnerås C, Persson P, Weyhenmeyer GA, Hammarlund D, ES Kritzberg. 2021. The lake as an iron sink - new insights on the role of iron speciation. Chemical Geology 584:120529 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2021.120529

Herzog SD, Persson P, Kvashnina K, ES Kritzberg. 2020. Organic iron complexes enhance iron transport capacity along estuarine salinity gradients of Baltic estuaries. Biogeosciences. 17: 331- 344 10.5194/bg-17-331-2020

What we offer

Lund University is a public authority which means that employees get particular 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. Supporting your mobility, it createsperfect conditions for strengthening your international network.

Work duties and responsibilities

The role of fungal communities in controlling mobilization of organic carbon (OC) and iron (Fe) from forest soils.

This project aims to synergize forestry management with sustainability. The scientific goal is to understand how fungal communities influence mobilization of iron (Fe) and organic carbon (OC) from forest soils. In the background are striking increases in terrestrial export of Fe and OC to surface waters resulting in browning of aquatic systems. Coniferous afforestation has been shown to contribute to these trends, e.g. mobilization of Fe and OC is enhanced under mature spruce forests. This may link to differences in the fungal community, where brown-rot and white-rot fungi dominate in coniferous and deciduous forests respectively. It may also be linked to the practice of ditching peatsoils to promote forestry which increases activity of mycorrhizal fungi. We expect that differences in fungi-induced biogeochemistry have a strong impact on the decomposition processes and thereby the leakage of Fe and OC to surface waters. The project combines controlled laboratory experiments and field-based investigations. Synchrotron-based imaging and spectroscopy of wood/soil/soil solution will monitor structural and chemical modification during fungal decomposition. Complementary vibrational spectroscopic techniques will track decomposition and mobilization. By integrating experimental and observational efforts we can reveal which process/es underpin transformations and fluxes observed in the field.

You will be responsible for performing field measurements and laboratory experiments, with the overall objective to enhance our knowledge of how fungal communities influence Fe and OC mobilization from soils to water. You will apply advanced methods to characterize fungal communities, organic matter composition and Fe speciation. You will with increasing degree of responsibility analyse and interpret data, and present and discuss results in manuscripts to be submitted to scientific journals. You will take courses to provide you with knowledge and tools to manage the research project and to become an increasingly independent researcher.

At times the research will require long workdays over prolonged periods of time and travels within and outside of Sweden, and it is therefore essential that the candidate shows flexibility. You will present results from the research project at international conferences. The training implies a secondment of 3-12 months at MAX IV laboratory in Lund, Sweden


  • Master's degree or equivalent in biology, biogeochemistry, environmental science or equivalent fields, preferably with a focus in biogeochemistry.

  • Knowledge and a strong interest in biogeochemical processes in soil and/or water.

  • It is an additional qualification if you have knowledge and a strong interest in fungal communities and their decomposition processes.

  • It is an additional qualification if you have knowledge, experience and a strong interest in applying synchrotron based and spectroscopic techniques.

  • Previous experience of field work, laboratory work, experimental work, applying analytical methods to quantify and characterize organic matter and metals, characterizing microbial communities with genetic methods, and analysing complex datasets are additional merits.

  • A driver's license is highly beneficial, but not mandatory in terms of qualification.

  • Important personal qualities are to be creative, good at problem solving, collaborative, independent and to demonstrate strong organizational skills and a strong work ethic.
  • Eligibility criteria

    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 2020-05-01 to 2023-05-02 for work or studies as main occupation.

    By the employment date (before 01/09/2023) 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, including a degree project in the relevant subject comprising at least 30 credits, or have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

    In addition to the criteria above mentioned, you must have fulfilled a second cycle education in a relevant field, such as Biology/Biogeochemistry/Environmental Science or equivalent fields.

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

    Job assignments

    The position is a fixed term position for four years at 100 per cent of full time and foreseen to start on 01/09/2023.

    The holders of these positions have a primary obligation to successfully fulfil their postgraduate (third cycle) education ending with a doctoral degree (PhD). A position as doctoral student can contain some limited teaching or other departmental work at the Department of Medical Radiation Physics. The maximum amount of such work is 20%.

    How to apply Applications are to be submitted via the online Lund University VARBI portal 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.)

  • These 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.

    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 foundhere: How to apply – MAX IV (

    Contact For more detailed information on the position or the research project, please contact: Professor Emma Kritzberg, [email protected]

    If you have questions on the selection process, please contact: [email protected]

    For questions on the employment conditions and the university, please contact: Ewa Kralik, HR-administrator, [email protected]

    The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Science. The Faculty is organized into nine departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

    We kindly decline all sales and marketing contacts.

    Type of employment Temporary position

    First day of employment 2023-09-01 Salary Monthly salary Number of positions 1 Full-time equivalent 100 City Lund County Skåne län Country Sweden Reference number PA2023/659 Union representative

  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-2229362
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, [email protected]
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-2229366
  • Published 02.Mar.2023 Last application date 02.May.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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