To the top

Page Manager:
Last update: 2/23/2017 10:15 AM

Tell a friend about this page
Print version

Vacancies-details - About the University, University of Gothenburg, Sweden Till startsida
To content Read more about how we use cookies on


OPEN POSITIONS PhD Position in Natural Science, specialising in Environmental Science

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 GU:s facilities in Gothenburg Botanical Garden, at Medicinaregatan 18A in Gothenburg and at Kristineberg Marine Research Station. The current position is placed at Medicinaregatan 18A, Gothenburg.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 860720

In order to be approved for MSCA financing the applicant, at the time for the application, should not
have resided in Sweden more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date.
Moreover the applicant must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of
their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree.

Project description

In this PhD project, the chronic toxicity of microplastics (MP) in fish will be investigated with a focus on metabolism and general stress in laboratory experiments. Several ecologically relevant fish species may be used, all of which have well-known physiology and genetics: stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), perch (Perca fluviatilis), or brown trout or rainbow trout (Salmo trutta and Oncorhynchus mykiss). The candidate will assess the toxicity of biodegradable and conventional MP polymers. The endpoints will focus on life cycle parameters (growth, condition factor, RNA/DNA, reproduction), metabolism (energy storage, lipids, and lipid classes), stress (stress proteins, hormones, oxidative stress), and behavior endpoints (prey capture and predator avoidance). Proteomics will be considered to gain further insights into altered metabolism or mechanisms. Fish species with different feeding strategies and/or also different life-stages (larval, juvenile, adult) will be considered for the study of MP uptake to obtain a picture of species sensitivities and vulnerabilities under real conditions. Biodegradable and conventional MP polymers will be compared. In addition, the toxicity of leachates from conventional and biodegradable polymers will be tested in vivo, using acute fish toxicity testing, and in vitro, in fish embryos or fish cell cultures (e.g. rainbow trout gut cell line and liver cell line, RTL-W1). The candidate will complete a 6 month secondment at the polymer chemistry of biodegradable polymers at Universität Bayreuth (UBT), Bayreuth, Germany.

This PhD position is one of 15 positions within a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network. “LimnoPlast - Microplastics in Europe's freshwater ecosystems: From sources to solutions” is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network) and offers 15 fully funded PhD positions (for early-stage researcher (ESR)) with an attractive stipend, complementary training activities and generous travel, laboratory and research budgets. The successful candidates will be hosted by a member of a European Consortium of universities, research institutions and companies in Germany, Denmark, France, Slovenia, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and The Netherlands. Successful candidates will have a natural, environmental, technical or social-science based research interests and will participate in a transdisciplinary network of research and training aimed at accelerating the start of the applicants’ scientific career.

LimnoPlast will for the first time bring together environmental, technical, and social sciences with the vision to transform a new understanding of freshwater microplastics to innovative solutions.

LimnoPlast will:
• Train a new type of scientists (ESRs) able to tackle the complex plastics issue holistically and contribute to Europe’s innovation and Circular Economy capacity. Working at the interface of three usually very distant disciplines, they will promote a step change in how we deal with this and future environmental challenges.
• Provide the first comprehensive assessment of the sources and impacts of freshwater MP based on the analysis of three major urban areas as hotspots of plastic pollution.
• Innovate technological solutions to the plastics issue, including novel processes to remove MP from municipal and industrial wastewater as well as bio-degradable, environmentally sound polymers.
• Promote societal change by understanding the economic, legislative and social context of freshwater MP.
• Transform science into a set of specific solutions, including (I) the prioritization of actions based on the sources and impacts of MP, development of (II) better processes and polymers, (III) risk communication strategies and societal interventions, (IV) effective policy and legislative interventions.
• Transfer the LimnoPlast outcomes to European decision makers, stakeholders and the public to enable and promote action on freshwater MP using an innovative communication and dissemination strategy.

LimnoPlast will offer early stage researchers world class technical training in the respective host institute, through research secondments (six month research stay at complementary partner institution) and training events. LimnoPlast will significantly enhance the ESRs’ career perspective by providing a unique set of skill they will exploit throughout their professional lives:

• Excellence in transdisciplinary research, including the wider societal context of research,
• Excellence in environmental, technical, and social science, with a unique, individual scientific profile,
• Capacity to transform an environmental challenge into innovative solutions,
• Capacity to effectively communicate science and to integrate the contrasting stakeholder perspectives,
• Insights in standardisation, economic aspects, and entrepreneurship,
• Transferable skills (creativity, problem solving, intercultural and team competence, leadership).

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. Techniques used within the project include in vivo and in vitro testing. Analytical methods will include molecular, biochemical, and physiological techniques and, potentially, behavioral assessments. The studies will be conducted mostly as laborative studies. Specific research topics associated with the research project include assessment of toxicity of microplastics and leachates from biodegradable polymers on fish.

Third cycle education

Admission to third cycle education is aiming at a PhD in Natural Science, specializing Environmental Science. 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.


To be eligible for third-cycle studies, the applicant must meet both the general and specific entry requirements. A person meets the general entry requirements for third-cycle courses and study programs if he/she:
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 subject for the planned third-cycle education includes ecotoxicology, chemical toxicity.


Rules regarding education and employment on a doctoral level you will find in Högskoleförordningen (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.

We are seeking a motivated person for PhD studies in ecotoxicology and/or fish physiology with emphasis on mechanisms of toxicity. Applicants should have experience in working in a laboratory.
Excellent communication skills, written and spoken, in English are necessary since we work in an international environment.

Skills and types of experience that are beneficial include experience in conducting in vivo experiments with fish, working with cell cultures, performing biochemical/molecular analyses. Basic knowledge in polymers and microplastic research is a merit.

The application should be written in English and must include:

• A short cover letter with the applicant’s justification for the application, i.e., that describes 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)
• Employments certificates and other documents deemed important by the applicant

The top ranked candidates will be selected for an interview, which might be held in English and could also 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. The selection of candidates is made on the basis of the qualifications registered in the application.

For further information please contact

Bethanie Carney Almroth, Senior Lecturer
Phone: +46 31 786 3673


Henrik Aronsson, Professor and Head of Department
Phone: +46 31 786 48 02


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.

The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 47 500 students and 6 400 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.

Page Manager:|Last update: 2/23/2017

The University of Gothenburg uses cookies to provide you with the best possible user experience. By continuing on this website, you approve of our use of cookies.  What are cookies?