Doctoral studies in Biology

Lund (Stad), Skåne (SE)
11 Nov 2020
End of advertisement period
09 Dec 2020
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Doctoral studies in Biology

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 40 000 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. 

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 microbial control of C exchange between soil and atmosphere during drought cycles.

Subject description and work duties
This project will improve our understanding of the soil C feedback from microorganisms due to climate change induced drought. Microorganisms play a crucial role in the global C cycle. The balance between the microbial release of C to the atmosphere due to respiration and microbial use of C for growth – and subsequent potential sequestration in soil – will determine if terrestrial systems become sources or sinks for atmospheric CO2. A primary physiological factor that determines how microorganisms partition their C-use into catabolic energy generation or for anabolic growth is the carbon-use efficiency (CUE). Climatic change induced alternation in moisture availabilities will affect the activity and enviromental adaptation of microorganisms, however, the microbial feedback to these changes remain unknown. This microbial C-feedback to the atmosphere is probably one of the most critical, yet least known, parts of climate-C cycle modelling; emphasizing the urgency for this research. The main objective of this laboratory intensive project is to determine the effects of cyclic droughts on microbial CUE in different biomes and across seasons. As such the central objective is to assess the moisture dependences of microbial growth and respiration in different biomes and how they vary over seasonal change, to elucidate the type, magnitude and speed of microbial adaptation to climate change.

You will primarily work with your supervisor Johannes Rousk (, and the ecological understanding will be translated into information for ecosystem models advised by your assistant supervisors Albert Brangarí and Lettice Hicks.

Candidates should have an advanced university degree (M.Sc. or equivalent experience / competence) in biology, biogeochemistry, environmental science, or equivalent fields, preferably with a focus on microbial ecology. Proficiency in English is a requirement. Documented experience with research (e.g. master thesis or equivalent), and with laboratory methods relevant to the project are important merits.

Admission requirements
A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he or she:

  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or 
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or 
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad. 

Assessment criteria
Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student’s potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following:

Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study. An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems. Written and oral communication skills Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience.

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

Terms of employment
Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies at LTH consist of full-time studies for 4 years. A doctoral studentship is a fixed-term employment of a maximum of 5 years (including 20% departmental duties). Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§.

Instructions on how to apply

The application should include a letter that includes the motivation for PhD studies, and a description of previous education and research interests (max 2 pages). It should further include a curriculum vitae (CV), copies of degrees and transcripts of academic records, and contact information (phone, email) for at least two personal references. Relevant publications can also be enclosed, including accepted academic papers and research theses (e.g. master thesis).

Type of employment
Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset. We kindly decline all sales and marketing contacts. 

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