PhD fellowship in Environmental Chemistry

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at University of Copenhagen in collaboration with Department of Ecoscience at Aarhus University invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in “Phosphorus Biogeochemistry  in Wetlands”. The project is part of the research project "Mapping phosphorus hot spots – the ticket to carbon sequestration in lowland soils (PhosCarb)", which is financed by  The Indenpendent Research Fund Denmark under the Green Transition track. The project is a collaborative project with Aarhus University and other partners.

Start date is 1st of May 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project
Rewetting of lowland agricultural soils is an important mitigation tool to reduce emission of green house gases by recovering aerobic soil conditions. However, at the same time iron bound phosphorus may be released from the rewetted soil due to abiotic and biotic driven ferric iron reduction and presumably other biogeochemical processes. In the PhosCarb  project the PhD student will investigate the  iron and phosphorus mobilisation from newly rewetted soils both in the field but also under laboratory conditions. The investigation of different scales is devoted to understand and eventually model the phosphorus cycling upon rewetting of long-term drained wetlands.

Who are we looking for?
We are looking for candidates within the field(s) of environmental chemistry/microbiology, soil chemistry and/or geochemistry. Applicants should be familiar with element cycling and chemical/microbial processes in soils. Experimental experience with soil analyses, geochemical and microbiological methods applied to soils and water will be an advantage. The applicant should be interested in both field and laboratory work and need to hold or obtain a drivers licence. There will be secondments to Aarhus University for the field work part and a study stay at University of Tübingen, Germany, for work on microbiology.

Our group and research – and what do we offer?
You will be affiliated with the research group in Environmental Chemistry, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of SCIENCE, University  of Copenhagen. We deal with contaminant  fate in soils and water with specific focus on processes at solid-solution interfaces. We have a long record working with phosphorus and iron biogeochemistry. We also have major activities on fate and remediation of pesticides, natural toxins, heavy metals/REE, drainage water filtration technologies, as well as biochar-catalyzed transformation reactions in soils and sediments. When located at Aarhus University you will be affiliated with the wetland research group in section of catchment science and environmental managment at Department of Ecoscience. We study and measure biological and chemical processes as well as the interactions between elements such as nutrients, hazardous substances, biological structure and climate changes. We cover topics such as lake and stream restoration, nutrient dynamics, the importance of water holes, small lakes and other wetlands in the uptake and release of greenhouse gases, biodiversity and the interaction between catchment areas and freshwater areas and develop models for calculating nitrogen and phosphorus losses from fields and transport through freshwater systems to the marine environment.

We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environments. Our research facilities include modern laboratories with facilities for both advanced solution and solid phase anaysis.

Principal supervisor is Professor Hans Christian Bruun Hansen, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences,, Direct Phone: +45 24942607. Co-supervisor at Aarhus University is senior scientist Dominik Zak,, +45 93508477

The PhD programme
To be eligible for the regular PhD programme, 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. environmental chemistry, geochemistry, or soil chemistry. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.

Terms of employment in the regular programme
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.

The terms of employment and salary are in accordance to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). 

Responsibilities and tasks in the PhD programme

  • Complete and pass the MSc education in accordance with the curriculum of the MSc programme

 (ONLY when you are attending the integrated MSc and PhD programme)

  • 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

We are looking for the following qualifications:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other relevant professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in biogeochemistry as  basis for developing solutions for sustainanble and climate smart land use
  • Good language skills

Application and Assessment Procedure

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

Please include

  1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  2. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  3. Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or 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.
  4. Publication list (if possible)
  5. Reference letters (if available)

Application deadline:
The deadline for applications is Sunday the 30th of January 2022, 23:59 GMT +1.

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 the 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 conclude whether each applicant is qualified. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at

Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in week 9.

For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website:

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

Deadline: 2022-01-30 at 23:59
Unit: Faculty of Science

Read the job description at the university homepage or Apply.

Post expires on søndag januar 30th, 2022