Department of Physical Geograhy and Ecosystem Science

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

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


Climate change has an amplified impact on the Arctic, which is warming two to three times faster than the rest of the world. These fast changes can lead to large climate feedbacks through a change in the land-atmosphere exchange of energy and carbon. Accurate predictions of future arctic climate feedbacks require well-informed land surface models (LSMs) that are able to simulate the complex snow-vegetation-permafrost interactions responsible.  

Despite strong advances in recent years, LSMs are still missing key winter-time processes. Observations have shown that large bursts of methane and CO2 can be released from permafrost soils during the autumn freeze-in, while winter extremes can cause widespread damage to shrubs – contributing to arctic browning. The poor representation of the cold season in LSMs adds to the large uncertainty of the future trajectory of the arctic carbon cycle.

We seek a PhD student to work on development, testing and application of wintertime processes in the land surface model LPJ-GUESS, which has been developed at the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science (INES), Lund University. The appointee will be based at INES and a member of the LPJ-GUESS modelling group. The LPJ-GUESS model is widely used in a variety of projects in and outside Lund University (e.g. the Strategic Research Areas MERGE,, and BECC,

Job assignment

The successful candidate will carry out development, testing and application of modelling code within the framework of the dynamic global vegetation model LPJ-GUESS and the regional climate model RCA-GUESS. INES heads an international consortium engaged in the ongoing development of LPJ-GUESS and support to its worldwide community of research users. The model simulates vegetation dynamics and biogeochemical exchange between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere from plot to global scale. It is used in a wide range of projects in which INES is involved. The research focuses on the development of new cold season processes in LPJ-GUESS related to soil gas fluxes, frost tolerance of vegetation and snow cover dynamics, which will be tested at the site level and the pan-Arctic scale. Once the new modules are operational, coupled model runs in RCA-GUESS will be used to quantify the role of changing arctic winters on permafrost carbon release and arctic vegetation trends. The research will be carried out at INES, Lund University and is tied to a partner project at the University of Oslo, Norway, which also focuses on the representation of winter-time processes in land surface models. The specific focus of these two projects will be closely coordinated with each other, and the PhD fellow is expected to go on an extended visit to Oslo (~3 months) and attend annual meetings. Participation in international meetings and workshops, and communication activities related to the research work is expected.


Applicants must hold a university degree (MSc. or equivalent) in ecosystem ecology, physical geography, the biogeosciences or another subject of relevance to the appointment. Prior experience working with ecosystem or climate models is expected. Advanced knowledge of quantitative or numerical methods in the context of environmental research is highly advantageous. Applicants must demonstrate experience in computer programming, preferably in the C/C++ language family, or should be able to provide convincing evidence of aptitude enabling them to acquire such skills promptly upon appointment. Familiarity with command-language scripting in Unix or Linux environments is an advantage. An excellent command of written and spoken English is required. Prior experience of the application of terrestrial biosphere modelling to the study of terrestrial carbon cycling and biosphere-atmosphere carbon exchanges, is a strong advantage. Applicants must be willing to work in a multidisciplinary manner, drawing on both the fields of physical geography and ecosystem ecology. The successful candidate will be a service-minded, focused and well-organised individual with an equal ability to work independently or as part of a team. Candidates for these fellowships are expected to be in the upper segment of their class with respect to academic credentials.

Students with basic eligibility for third-cycle studies are those who- have completed a second-cycle degree- have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, or- have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

The employment of doctoral students is regulated in the Swedish Code of Statues 1998: 80. Only those who are or have been admitted to PhD-studies may be appointed to doctoral studentships. When an appointment to a doctoral studentship is made, the ability of the student to benefit from PhD-studies shall primarily be taken into account. In addition to devoting themselves to their studies, those appointed to doctoral studentships may be required to work with educational tasks, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the ordinance.

Type of employment
Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§.

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
First day of employment 2018-09-01
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100 %
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2018/1202
  • Frans-Jan W. Parmentier/Project leader, +47 22 85 58 14/
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-222 93 62
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, 046-222 93 64
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-222 93 66
Published 11.Apr.2018
Last application date 15.May.2018 11:59 PM CET

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