Lund University, Faculty of Science,

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top universities. The University has around 45 000 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.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

Subject description
Environmental science is the scientific study of environmental problems resulting from human activity, including climate change. The subject combines the study of human impact on natural processes and the measures and strategies that can be implemented to prevent, avert, or counteract environmental problems and achieve long-term sustainable development. Environmental science research is based on a fundamental understanding of natural processes and how they are affected by human activity and therefore has a broad foundation in traditional subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and physical geography. It also includes the study of relevant measures and strategies to tackle environmental problems. This enables the research to be based on interdisciplinary approaches in collaboration across traditional subject boundaries.

Work duties
We are looking for an independent and technically mature candidate to be a PhD student within the programme BIOPATH, funded by the Foundation for Environmental Strategic Research (MISTRA). BIOPATH aims to assess, develop and test existing and novel approaches for the integration of biodiversity into financial decision-making in collaboration with financial and industrial partners. The PhD student will be involved with developing and using quantitative models to assess trends and impacts on biodiversity resulting from decisions by companies and financial actors, including both detrimental actions (such as tree logging for forestry) and positive ones (such as efforts to conserve or restore ecosystems). The PhD student will work with a range of methods, including artificial intelligence, process-based statistical tools, causal analyses and optimization of conservation actions. This will be done using both computer simulations and empirial biological data. The student is expected to review and develop methodological aspects, to consider alternative biodiversity metrics, to handle knowledge gaps and to characterise uncertainty. The performance of the models developed in this project in a real-world scenario will be evaluated in a case study about integrating biodiversity in forest management.

This project will be supervised by Ullrika Sahlin (Lund University), Daniele Silvestro (University of Fribourg and University of Gothenburg), and Henrik Smith (Lund University) but will involve strong interactions with other leading scientists within the BIOPATH programme, in Sweden and abroad. The work may include research visits to the University of Gothenburg, University of Fribourg (Switzerland), University of Exeter (United Kingdom), and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (United Kingdom).

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).

Admission requirements
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.

A person meets the specific admission requirements for third cycle studies in Environmental Science if he or she has:

  • Completed an independent project, or in some other way demonstrated expertise on the subject comprising at least 30 credits

Additional requirements:

  • Very good oral and written proficiency in English.
  • Knowledge and experience in statistical modelling or machine learning

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 relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study. 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.

Other assessment criteria:

  • Experience of programming in Python or R
  • Proven experience on quantitative biodiversity modelling

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. Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§.

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 accordning to agreement
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2023/1006
  • Ullrika Sahlin, senior university lecturer, +46462226831,
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-2229362
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet,
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-2229366
Published 22.Mar.2023
Last application date 05.May.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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