PhD Candidate in Biology (PA2024/1040)

WorkplaceLund, Skåne, Sweden
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Lund University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top universities. The University has around 47 000 students and more than 8 800 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

Work duties The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties, up to 20%.

The major theme of this PhD project is to test key hypotheses in life history, telomere ecology and ageing research, using a songbird as study system. The aims are to conduct detailed studies of key life stages, such as early-life and annual events (breeding investments, migration costs (efforts and infections)), to investigate how these will affect body maintenance (e.g., telomere shortening/elongation) and ultimately ageing and fitness. Key questions are, for example: Can moderate costs (e.g., accrued from migration and breeding efforts) induce ’scars’ that remain ’hidden’ but accumulate over life eventually causing severe problems reducing lifespan and fitness? Are early-life conditions crucial in setting out the foundation for these processes and the pace of life?

The PhD candidate will generate new and work with already collected samples and data in the 40 years long-term study system of the great reed warblers (GRW) of Lake Kvismaren. In Lund, the daily work will involve analysing samples in the DNA lab (DNA extraction, qPCR to measure telomere length, multiplex PCR to measure malaria infection) and using statistical tools to analyse large long-term data sets. Each year, there will also be several months of intense fieldwork at Lake Kvismaren, in Närke (southern Central Sweden), involving daily observations of all singing and breeding GRW, finding all nests, collect blood samples from all adults and their nestlings, and gathering data of breeding performance and survival of all individuals. Hence, the project is an excellent opportunity to learn both wet (DNA) lab techniques, statistical methods, and fieldwork techniques.

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.

A person meets the specific admission requirements for third cycle studies in Biology if he or she has passed an independent project (for example a degree project) of at least 30 credits in a relevant subject and have good oral and written proficiency in English.

Additional (mandatory) requirements We seek a highly motivated candidate with genuine interests in animal ecology, behavioural and evolutionary ecology. The applicant should have:

a MSc in biology, with specialization in animal ecology/behavioural ecology and molecular ecology, or a closely related area,

excellent oral and written proficiency in English,

driving licence (B- ),

experience and demonstrated skills in relevant laboratory work: DNA extraction, PCR and qPCR analyses, analytical skills using R and demonstrated knowledge of analysing life history and fitness data in combination with DNA data (in particular malaria, telomere length) are requested, experience of field work on birds is very important, and high motivation and a sincere interest in this particular project is crucial.

In addition to the mandatory requirements, documented experience in the following areas will be considered as very strong merits:

extensive experience of field work on great reed warblers is a very important extra plus.

experience of qPCR-based telomere length analyses is an important extra plus.

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, for example professional experience or previous volunteer work.

Consideration will also be given to personal drive and ability to work both in team and independently, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programe.

Terms of employment Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies 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 Applications should be written in English and include a cover letter stating the reasons why you are interested in the postgraduate education programme and in what way the research project corresponds to your interests and educational background. The application must also contain a CV, degree certificate or equivalent, and other documents you wish to be considered (grade transcripts, contact information for your references, letters of recommendation, etcetera).

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Science. The Faculty is organized into eight departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD candidates and 700 employees.

We kindly decline all sales and marketing contacts.

Type of employment
Temporary position

First day of employment
According to agreement

Monthly salary

Number of positions

Full-time equivalent


Skåne län


Reference number


Dennis Hasselquist, professor,

Union representative

OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-2229362

SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet,

SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-2229366


Last application date
24.Apr.2024 11:59 PM CEST

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In your application, please refer to and reference JobID 2866641.