Doctoral student in Ecology, with specialization in disease ecology


Reference number: HR-2023/452

Welcome to Linnaeus University! We meet the societal challenges of today and tomorrow in a spirit of openness, curiosity and creativity. By creating arenas for exchange of knowledge from different subjects, fields and cultures, we open up for new ideas and create new opportunities for long-term sustainable societal development. Linnaeus University – where people grow.

The Department of Biology and Environmental Science is part of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. The research activities within this multidisciplinary department include the areas of aquatic ecology, cell and organism biology, evolutionary biology, microbiology, environmental science and environmental engineering as well as disease ecology.

Field of subject for the appointment: Ecology, with specialisation in disease ecology

Admission subject: Employment as a doctoral student with the final goal of a doctoral degree is time-limited according to HF ch. 5 § 7. The total period of employment must not be longer than what corresponds to full-time postgraduate education for four years.

Placement city: Kalmar, Sweden

Job description

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses have undergone dramatic changes over the last few years. HPAI viruses have long been observed in wild birds, and particularly in waterfowl, but recent rapid adaptation to wild birds as hosts have led to a broadening of their host range to include a large diversity of bird species. This coincided with a change in the persistence of the virus in Europe throughout the year. While previously outbreaks in wild birds were mostly limited to autumn and winter, infections are now being detected throughout the year for the past two years. This suggests that epidemiological changes towards enzootic virus circulation are occurring in Europe.

We are seeking a PhD student to join us in our work on influenza A virus ecology and epidemiology in wild birds. The position is at Linnaeus University but is embedded in a larger European project with connections to several other laboratories. As part of a surveillance network, the candidate will analyze the impact of HPAI on affected wild bird populations. The student will tackle this question through an integrative approach combining the collection of new data on virus occurrence and bird movement, and re-analysis of already existing data from extensive longitudinal sampling and GPS-tracking of wild birds. The project will also include an evaluation of virus detection probability and observer bias in scanning surveillance, through analysis of bird movements and field tests of detection probability by observers. The project is integrated in a larger approach to estimate effects of climate change on HPAI risk on a European level, and depending on the background of the candidate this aspect may be included in the project, too.

We seek you that is a skilled and motivated PhD student interested in disease ecology. Given the broad subject area, we welcome applicants with different backgrounds, including the fields of ecology, ornithology, or veterinary science. Important personal qualities are creativity, independence, resilience, and organizational skills. Locally, the project will be part of the Linnaeus University Centre for Ecology and Evolution in Microbial model Systems (EEMiS).

According to the Higher Education Ordinance a person appointed to a doctoral studentship should primarily devote himself/herself to his/her own studies. An appointee may, however, work to a limited extent with education, research, artistic development, and administration. However, before a doctoral degree has been awarded, duties of this kind may not comprise more than 20% of a full-time post.


A person fulfils the general entry requirements if they:

  • have been awarded a degree on second-cycle level, completed the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits, of which 60 credits on second-cycle level, or in another way, in Sweden or abroad, has acquired principally equivalent knowledge.

Assessment grounds

  • A high proficiency in written and spoken English.
  • Documented experience within the field of ecology (especially disease ecology or movement/migration ecology), ornithology, veterinary science
  • A driver’s license is needed
  • Experience of:
    • Fieldwork techniques of relevance to the project (handling of wild animals, survey work, …)
    • Study and sampling design
    • Spatial and/or quantitative ecological approaches
    • Statistical theory and approaches

For more information, please contact:

Head of Department Professor Jonas Waldenström (, +46-(0)480-446195,

Dr. Mariëlle van Toor (, +46(0)480-447310,

Personnel Officer Marianne Palmér (, +46-(0)480-447303

Welcome with your application no later than April 10, 2023.

To apply:

The application should be in English and contain a CV (with the applicant’s phone number and e-mail, as well as contact details including phone number and e-mail of two reference persons), a cover letter, documentation of exams and grades, copy of passport as well as any other documentation that the applicant wishes to present. The cover letter (1-3 pages) should contain your expectations from, and intention with the Ph.D.-education. Please describe why you are interested in the specific scientific project that has been described above. You should also provide details on how your background and experience is relevant for the scientific project described above.

Linnaeus University has the ambition to utilize the qualities that an even gender distribution and diversity brings to the organization.

Please apply by clicking on the Apply button at the bottom of the ad. The credentials you invoke must be verified with certification and they must be attached digitally in your application. The application and other documents to be marked with the reference number. All documents cited must be received by the University no later than 24.00 (Local time in Sweden) on the closing day.

Read the job description at the university homepage


Post expires on Monday April 10th, 2023