PhD Scholarship in Natural Science Specialising in Environmental Sciences

University of Gothenburg, Sweden is inviting excellent students to apply for a PhD position in sustainable development. Successful candidate will have funding to work and study for four years in Sweden. The deadline to apply is June 09, 2019.

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 organisation 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 in the Botan-building in Gothenburg.

Project description

This PhD project will study biocide mixtures, which combine high efficacy at target sites with low environmental impacts. Combining biocidal synergy with smart and controlled release systems might considerably reduce biocide emissions and, consequently, the environmental impact of antimicrobial products.

The aim of the project is to provide a proof-of-concept and make use of synergistic effects to formulate sustainable state-of-the-art fiber-based materials for a range of applications, e.g. for antibacterial materials used in hospitals and similar applications. Biocides will be embedded in microcapsules from which their release is controlled at the lowest possible rate over a prolonged time. If successful, the conceptual idea can also be applied in a range of other biocidal materials, e.g. for disinfection and antifouling purposes.

The PhD position is placed in the interdisciplinary project SynCap - "Smart, benign and synergistic antifouling cocktails for achieving a non-toxic environment: formulation and ecotoxicological evaluation". SynCap is funded by FORMAS, which is the Swedish research council for sustainable development and will directly contribute to the non-toxic environment by developing a sustainable and implementable antifouling/antimicrobial technology.

The project is implemented in close co-operation with research groups at RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden AB) and Chalmers University of Technology. The project is also linked to the FRAM center for future chemical risk assessment and management.

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.

The PhD student shall, in close collaboration with supervisors and other project members, first develop the conceptual idea of the project into specific, testable hypotheses. These will then be investigated experimentally by systematic high-throughput screening of promising biocide combinations in microbial test systems, which will, at a later stage, be completed by ecotoxicological testing using a range of non-target organisms.

Additionally, the PhD student shall, in close collaboration with experts from RISE and Chalmers, apply various techniques for the preparation of biocide-loaded microcapsules and wet-spinning techniques to produce cellulose fibers with embedded microcapsules. The overall aim is to provide a proof-of-concept for the whole process of producing antimicrobial materials that have at least the same performance as current materials, but, at the same time, have a substantially lower environmental footprint.

Third cycle education

Admission to third cycle education is aiming at a PhD in Natural Science, specializing in Environmental Sciences. 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. This work can never be more then 20% during the whole PhD period.


To be eligible for third-cycle studies, the applicant must meet both the general and specific entry requirements.

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 subjects for the planned third-cycle education are ecotoxicology, microbiology, or environmental sciences. Assessments

We are seeking a motivated person for PhD studies in Environmental Sciences with emphasis on Ecotoxicology, to engage in an interdisciplinary project focusing on biocide combinations and mixture optimization for efficacy and (eco)toxicity, which involves the systematic experimental characterization of biocide mixture effects on target and non-target organisms. A specialization in microbial ecotoxicology or microbiology as well as proven experience in experimental design, biostatistics, standard and advanced ecotoxicological biotests and chemical risk assessment are all advantageous. Basic knowledge in material sciences, especially the production of cellulose-based fibers (wet-spinning) and microencapsulation is a merit but not necessary.

Excellent communication skills in written and spoken English are essential, as we work in an international environment.

The employment

Rules regarding education and employment on a doctoral level are given in Hgskolefrordningen (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.

The employment is planned to start in September 2019 or upon agreement. The University practice a local agreement about wage setting for PhD students.

A short cover letter with the applicant's justification, describing how the applicant meets the selection criteria

A list of qualifications (CV)

Examination certificates and a transcript of courses with grades

A copy of the Master thesis (or equivalent)

Employment certificates and other documents deemed important by the applicant

At least two former supervisors, teachers or managers, as references, with contact details.

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

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.

For further information please contact

Thomas Backhaus, Professor

Phone: +46-31-786 2734




Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:

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.

Deadline: June 09, 2019
Apply Link:

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