PhD Position in Natural Science, specialising in Environmental Science (with focus on microbial ecology/ecotoxicology) 59 views

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At the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences (BioEnv) we have teaching and research activities that stretch from the alpine ecosystem, through forests, cultivated land and streams, all the way into the marine environment. In these environments we study different levels of biological organization from genes, individuals and populations, to communities and ecosystems. We work within ecology, evolution, physiology, systematics and combinations of these fields in order to understand the impact of natural and anthropogenic changes of the environment.

The department is placed at three different localities: in Gothenburg Botanical garden, at Medicinarberget in Gothenburg, and at the marine research station-Kristineberg. The current position is placed at Gothenburg Botanical garden.

Project description

Aquatic biofilms are benthic communities of microorganisms (bacteria, cyanobacteria, algae, fungi and protozoa) that control many biochemical cycles in fluvial ecosystems, and at the same time are very sensitive to toxicants exposure. To date, the role of biofilms to biodegrade organic pesticides and reduce their toxicity in fluvial ecosystems is not well known. This PhD project aims to quantify the capacity of aquatic biofilms to degrade pesticides, to identify microorganisms associated with higher pesticides biodegradation rates and, to determine enzymes and genes that participate in the metabolic pathways of biodegradation. Thereby, this research will provide crucial inputs about the potential of aquatic biofilms for pesticides bioremediation in polluted rivers.

This project will be conducted with the support of an interdisciplinary research team including researchers at the home university, University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology. The research team has expertise in freshwater ecology, microbial community ecology/ecotoxicology, metagenomics and bioinformatics.

Job assignments

The main task is to conduct the PhD thesis work under supervision, which includes development of the PhD student’s methodology experience, analytical skills, and theoretical depth and breadth. Techniques and approaches used within the project include degradation kinetics tests with labelled pesticides to assess chemical fate, dose-response toxicity tests, microcosms experiments to assess adaptation and community effects upon exposure to organic pesticides and, microbial genomics to identify microorganisms associated with higher pesticides biodegradation rates, enzymes and genes that participate in the metabolic pathways of biodegradation. The applicant will combine field and laboratory approaches.


Third cycle education

Admission to third cycle education is aiming at a PhD in Natural Science, specializing Environmental Science. The education runs for four years of fulltime studies, containing three years of thesis work and one year of academic education (i.e. course work and literature studies). A selection of courses at the Department/Faculty is available, but national/international courses can also be selected.  Some teaching and/or course administration can be included which extends the contract to the same extent.


To be eligible for third-cycle studies, the applicant must meet both the general and specific entry requirements. A person meets the general entry requirements for third-cycle courses and study programs if he/she:
1. has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
2. has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle, or
3. has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

To meet the specific entry requirements for third-cycle studies, applicants must:
1. have a second-cycle (advanced-level) degree in a relevant* subject area in the natural sciences, or
2. have completed studies for at least 60 higher education credits at a second-cycle level in relevant subject areas in the natural sciences, or
3. have completed a corresponding programme of relevance to the planned third-cycle programme, in Sweden or in another country, or have equivalent qualifications.

*Relevant subject for the planned third-cycle education is biology, ecology, microbiology, ecotoxicology, environmental sciences, microbial genomics and systems biology.


Rules regarding education and employment on a doctoral level you will find in Högskoleförordningen (HF, SFS 1993:100). Only applicants who are admitted to the postgraduate level may be hired. Upon appointment the degree of ability to successfully complete the PhD program must firstly be evaluated.

We are seeking a motivated person for PhD studies in microbial ecology/ecotoxicology with emphasis on pesticides biodegradation and eco-systems biology. The applicant should possess:

  • Experience or motivation in experimental approaches and tools for microorganism’s ecology/ecotoxicology.
  • Experience of sampling, microorganism’s cultivation, analytical methods for microorganisms, experience of planning and setting up experiments, molecular methods, microbial genomics and bioinformatics are considered as additional merits.
  • The applicant shall be able to work independently and have good cooperation skills.
  • Experience of research in international environments is an advantage.
  • Good communication skills, written and spoken, in English are necessary.

The application should preferably be written in English and must include:

  • A short cover letter with the applicant’s justification for the application, i.e., that describes how the applicant meets the selection criteria
  • An attested list of qualifications (CV)
  • Examination certificates and a transcript of courses with grades
  • A copy of the Master thesis (or equivalent)
  • Employments certificates and other documents deemed important by the applicant

The top ranked candidates will be selected for an interview, which might be held in English and could also be performed by phone /skype.


Starting upon agreement

How to apply

In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system . It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline. The selection of candidates is made on the basis of the qualifications registered in the application.

For further information please contact

Natàlia Corcoll, Associate Professor / Senior lecturer
Phone: 46 31 786 4807


Henrik Aronsson, Professor and Head of Department
Phone: +46 31 786 48 02


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:

Information for International Applicants

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The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity.

Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.

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