PhD fellowship in Plant-soil-insect Interactions in afforestation

Copenhagen University
April 05, 2024
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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The Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management (IGN) invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in afforestation and the role of the microbiome in the early phase of tree growth. The position is a part of the Novo Nordisk Foundation research project “Silva Nova-Restoring soil biology and soil functions to gain multiple benefits in new forests”.

Start date is 15 August 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project We seek a talented and highly motivated applicant to study interactions among tree seedlings, insects, and their associated microbiome in the early phase of afforestation. The PhD project will make use of state-of-the-art next generation sequencing to advance our understanding of microbiome recruitment in seedlings of forest tree species, mainly pedunculate oak ( Quercus robur ). The aim is to address various aspects of microbiome in seedling establishment and growth in former agricultural soil. The study will further analyze the impact of soil inoculation on seedling performance. The work will take place in mesocosms and large-scale field experiments. There will be a considerable amount of field work in close collaboration with other PhDs, Post Docs and seniors. The PhD student will be responsible for sample collections and processing, laboratory work, statistical analysis, and dissemination of the generated results to both academics and stakeholders.

Who are we looking for? We are looking for MSc candidates within the fields of biological sciences or other relevant areas. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications, emphasis will also be on relevant work experience, publications or other relevant professional activities. The successful applicant is expected to have obtained outstanding grades during the MSc studies, and to be proficient in spoken and written English.

Key criteria for the assessment of candidates:

  • A master's degree in biology, ecology, forestry or similar.
  • Experience with above- and below-ground processes is an advantage.
  • Knowledge on plant microbiology and/or insect ecology, microbiome and next generation sequencing and/or eDNA is an advantage.
  • Experience with conducting field work, experimental design and statistics is an advantage.
  • Good language and cooperation skills plus networking capacity
  • A car driving license valid in Denmark
  • Our group and research- and what do we offer?

    The group is a part of Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. We are located at the Frederiksberg Campus in Rolighedsvej 23, Frederiksberg C.

    IGN has a basis in natural science with 20 research groups covering a broad range of topics within geography, geology, landscape architecture, forestry and nature to provide knowledge and education to help solve the big societal challenges, such as climate change and increased pressure on natural resources.

    The candidates will be affiliated to the Section for Forest and Landscape Ecology (FLE), which has >60 employees, and a strong research focus on biogeochemistry and biodiversity within the context of forest and nature management and land-use change. We work with basic science as well as nature- based solutions, teaching and supervision.

    The 3-year PhD scholarship is part of the Silva Nova project https: // headed by IGN in collaboration with partners in Estonia and the Netherlands. The Silva Nova project received a 6-year grant by the Challenge Programme of the Novo Nordisk Foundation to study ecosystem- and landscape-scale effects of afforestation. The aim is to provide basic understanding of ecosystem succession on former agricultural soil and to develop soil restoration strategies that support forest productivity and resilience, improve forest-related species diversity and increase benefits from ecosystem services (clean water, C-sequestration, GHG emission reduction, forest associated plant and soil biota communities) after afforestation of former agricultural soil. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment within a team of 25 members.

    Supervisors: Professor Inger Kappel Schmidt ([email protected]; +45 3533 1668), Associate professor Chatchai Kosawang ([email protected]; +45 3533 7960)

    Educational qualifications To be eligible for this PhD position, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master's degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. MSc in biological sciences. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.

    Terms of employment Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

    Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

    Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

    Responsibilities and tasks

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision

  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE

  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project
  • Application and Assessment Procedure

    Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

    Please include :

  • Cover letter stating the motivation for your application (max. one page)
  • Curriculum vitae including information about your education, work experience (if possible), language skills and other skills relevant for the position.
  • Original diplomas Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  • Publication list (if possible)
  • Reference letters (if available)
  • Application deadline:

    The deadline for applications is 5 April 2024, 23:59 GMT +2.

    We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

    The further process After deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified whether you will be passed for assessment.

    The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above-mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will determine whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at https: //

    Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held as soon as possible after the submission deadline.

    Questions For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact Professor Inger Kappel Schmidt ([email protected]; +45 3533 1668) or Post doc Mathias Just Justesen, [email protected]; +45 2612 2126

    General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School's website: https: // www.

    The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position.

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