PhD Scholarship in Environmental Science Focusing on Phytoplankton Sensitivity to Mixtures of Chemical Pollutants

International students are invited for a PhD scholarship in environmental sciences at Stockholm University. The funding allows successful candidate to work for four years. This position is closed on January 19, 2020.

The Department of Environmental Science is one of the biggest departments at the Faculty of Science. The department consists of four units with more than 170 researchers, teachers, doctoral students and technical/administrative staff. Research and teaching focuses on Contaminant Chemistry, Exposure and Effects, Atmospheric Science and Biogeochemistry. As an employee atThe Department of Environmental Science you will be part of a dynamic environment with research in leading research areas and with a strong international profile.

Research on the Contaminant Chemistry Unit focuses on pollutants in the environment, addressing fundamental questions such as where they come from, where they go, and who gets exposed. Areas of particular focus include the discovery of new contaminants, understanding the chemical, physical and biological pathways that contaminants follow, and the development of novel tools and techniques.

Project description

The position will be associated with a research project funded by the Swedish Research Council. The project is interdisciplinary and bridges between environmental chemistry, ecology, ecotoxicology and plankton physiology, and is a collaboration between Associate Professor Anna Sobek (Stockholm University), Professor Clare Bradshaw (Stockholm University), and Associate Professor Elin Lindehoff (Linnus University). The overarching aim of the research is to explore the mechanisms underlying sensitivity of phytoplankton to chemical mixtures. Phytoplankton play a key role in global biogeochemical cycling, yet knowledge of how their functioning is affected by environmental exposure to mixtures of chemical pollutants is lacking. Using chemical activity as a quantitative measure of chemical mixtures, we can generate new process-based understanding of ecological and ecotoxicological effects caused by chemical mixtures in phytoplankton, and how environmental conditions may infer higher sensitivity to pollution due to regulation of lipid content and composition.

The project is structured around laboratory experiments in which phytoplankton will be exposed to chemical mixtures, and the tasks include preparation of chemical mixtures, chemical analysis, analysis of ecological and ecotoxicological effects in phytoplankton, handling of phytoplankton cultures and analysis of biochemical parameters in phytoplankton.

Qualification requirements

To meet the general entry requirements, the applicant must have completed a second-cycle degree, completed courses equivalent to at least 240 higher education credits, of which 60 credits must be in the second cycle, or have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere. In order to meet the specific entry requirements, for doctoral studies in Environmental Science, at least 45 of the credits at the second cycle must be in one of the natural sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Physics, or Meteorology) including a 30 credits thesis project. The applicant should also have 30 credits in other natural science subjects different from the major.


The selection among the eligible candidates will be based on their ability to successfully pursue the research education. Special emphasis is put on the applicant's knowledge and skills within the subject area, ability to express her/himself verbally and in writing, analytical aptitude, creativity, initiative and independence, and a capacity for working together with others. The evaluation will be made based on the relevance of past education and experience, grades from previous university courses (in particular at the advanced level), the quality and ambition of the independent project work, references, a cover letter motivating the candidate's interest, and interviews. Knowledge and experience of applying concepts and methodologies in environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology will be a strong asset. Further, knowledge in phytoplankton physiology, ecology and cultivation will be a merit. The candidate should have an interest in interdisciplinary research.

Admission Regulations for Doctoral Studies at Stockholm University are available and regulations.

Only a person who will be or has already been admitted to a third-cycle programme may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. The term of the initial contract may not exceed one year. The employment may be extended for a maximum of two years at a time. However, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study.

Doctoral students should primarily devote themselves to their own education, but may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20 % of a full-time position.

Please note that admission decisions cannot be appealed.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.


For more information, please contact Associate Professor Anna Sobek, Application

Apply for the PhD student position at Stockholm University’s recruitment system by clicking the “Apply” button. 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.Please include the following information with your application and, in addition, please include the following documents

Stockholm University contributes to the development of sustainable democratic society through knowledge, enlightenment and the pursuit of truth.


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