PhD Scholarship in Coastal Habitat Modelling

DTU Aqua offers a 3-year PhD fellowships in coastal habitat modelling. The fellow will be employed at Section for Coastal Ecology, DTU Aqua (National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark).

Responsibilities and qualifications
We are looking for a candidate with a strong academic background in environmental engineering, marine ecology, geography, statistics or a closely related field preferable with GIS experience.

We expect the candidate to develop, implement and analyse predictive spatial-temporal GIS based models of coastal habitats addressing interactions between combined pressures, habitat distribution and quality and coastal biodiversity. 

Coastal habitats such as eelgrass meadows, soft sediments, mussel beds and stone reefs play a key role for marine biodiversity and coastal resilience. Pressures due to human activity have induced loss of habitat distribution and quality and although anthropogenic pressures such as eutrophication have been reduced, the current habitat distribution and quality is still not good, and the recovery path for restoring ecosystem structure and function is largely un-known and might be hampered by climate change. Predictive habitat suitability models can be used to detangle the impact of multiple pressures, predict present and future distribution and quality of key habitats and identify priority conservation areas. 

The overall aim of the project is to provide insights into the role of natural variability and combined anthropogenic pressures for the current distribution and future development of coastal habitats and the implications for coastal biodiversity and ecosystem resilience.  Main focus will be on light dependent habitats (e.g. eelgrass and macroalgae) and predictions of changes in habitat suitability to support benthic vegetation as a response to changes in eutrophication level and climate change but also including other pressure factors and natural conditions affecting (re-)colonization of benthic vegetation.       

The project will be based on advanced GIS modelling that may include elements of dynamic modelling and involve handling, interpolation and combination of large datasets originating from monitoring, hydrodynamic models and remote sensing. The project is not directly linked to an externally funded project.

You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

The candidate will become part of a cross-disciplinary and international research environment at Section for Coastal Ecology at DTU Aqua. The research covered by the section include the ecology of the coastal zone from nutrient dynamics to fish including sustainable resource utilization. We study the environmental impact of multiple pressures (e.g. agriculture, fishery, invasive species) using models, experiments and field work and provide scientific advice to managers on a sustainable use of the coastal zone.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

The place of employment will be DTU campus Lyngby.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

The successful candidate is expected to start in 2021 preferably before October. Candidates that complete their MSc before then can apply but cannot begin before having received it.

Further information
For further information about the positions and the projects please contact Professor Karen Timmermann ( or Professor Jens Kjerulf Petersen (

You can read more about the Section for Coastal Ecology and DTU Aqua (the National Institute of Aquatic Resources) at: DTU Aqua.

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 31 July 2021 (Danish time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter) incl. motivation for why you want to work with coastal modelling in the Section for Coastal Ecology.
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Publication list
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Description of your own project ideas (the final PhD project will be developed in collaboration with the supervisors).
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • Other material that you would like to be included in the evaluation

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.

Deadline: 2021-07-31 at 23:59
Unit: DTU Aqua

Read the job description at the university homepage or Apply.

Post expires on Saturday July 31st, 2021