Lund University, Department of Physical Geograhy and Ecosystem Science

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.


Clouds control the Earth's radiation budget as they are so numerous globally, covering about half of the globe at any instant.  A weakness of global atmospheric models, such as those predicting climate change, is that clouds are too small to be resolved in detail. Clouds must instead be treated statistically with 'parameterisations' based on simplifications that introduce errors.

Consequently, in a joint project involving Lund University and other institutions in Sweden (e.g. SMHI), a novel approach to climate prediction will be innovated by means of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques.  Machine learning will afford a new representation of the effects from clouds efficiently and in detail.   A scientific goal will be to characterise and understand the cloud-radiation feedback in climate change, which governs contemporary global warming.

A PhD position is to be filled within this wider project.  The work will involve numerical modelling of clouds and climate, applying machine learning tools.

Work duties

Generally at Lund University, the main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses.

Specifically, in the first year of this PhD project, the student will compare a 1D version of a climate model simulation with aircraft/satellite observations for a given location and 3D high-resolution cloud model for a storm case (continental USA, spring). In the second year, the student will simulate global climate for doubled CO2, inferring cloud-radiation feedbacks.  In the third year, the student will assist staff at SMHI, translating predicted climate change in Sweden to optimum locations/seasons for solar radiation, wind-power and hydropower models.  Changes in power output from these renewable energy sources willl be estimated.

Admission requirements

Students with a background in numerical modeling and knowledge about physics and/or meteorology are encouraged to apply.  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.

Specifically, a person meets the specific admission requirements for third cycle studies in this PhD position of climate modelling if he or she has:

  • a bachelor's or master’s degree in physics or equivalent field (equivalent to 60 credits in the Swedish system)
  • good spoken and written proficiency in English

Additional requirements:

  • Applicant should have experience of FORTRAN in a UNIX (or linux) environment.
  • In the application, applicants should provide evidence of how they meet these requirements.

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 from prior university education relevant to the project, especially in these areas:
    Mathematics, especially differential equations
    Numerical methods and/or computer programming
    Physical meteorology (e.g. cloud physics).
  • 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, e.g. professional experience.

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

Terms of employment

Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies at LTH 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 §§.

The employment will start on 31 March 2021 or at a date mutually agreed.  It will be full-time (100% FTE).

Enquiries can be made to Vaughan Phillips (

Instructions on how to apply

Applications shall be written in English and include a cover letter stating the reasons why you are interested in the position 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, etc.). 

Type of employment Temporary position
First day of employment 2021-03-31
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2020/3852
  • Vaughan Phillips, +46462221732,
Union representative
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, 046-222 93 64
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-222 93 66
Published 25.Nov.2020
Last application date 10.Jan.2021 11:59 PM CET

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