Lund University, Faculty of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Sciences

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.

PRISMAS - PhD Research and Innovation in Synchrotron Methods and Applications in Sweden – is a new doctoral network training the next generation of 40 leading synchrotron experts and is co-funded by the Horizon Europe MSCA COFUND Programme.

As a PRISMAS PhD student, you will have the chance to conduct cutting-edge research in your field, taking advantage of state of the art tools that will lead to attractive future job opportunities in academia or industry. Moreover, you are part of designing the future of synchrotron technology and instrumentation and using these to tackle some of the most significant global challenges the world faces today while acquiring interdisciplinary and intersectoral knowledge. Being part of the PRISMAS programme gives you the one-of-a-kind experience in form of a secondment at the world´s first 4th generation synchrotron, MAX IV in Lund, Sweden. With a tailored training programme, including courses to build scientific and technical competence as well as strengthen transferrable skills, PRISMAS provides you with the skills, knowledge and competence needed to successfully achieve your doctoral degree. 

Description of the workplace

The position will be in the research group of Machining Research, Material Synthesis and Characterization within the Division of Production and Materials Engineering (Iprod) at the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences. The research groups consists of ca 15 people including one professor, two adjunct professors, two associate professors, two senior lecturers, three postdoctoral fellows and four PhD students, embedded in a larger group at the department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences. 

The research group focus is on the study of material processing and machining process with strong focus on developing fundamental machining science at the intersection of mechanics, thermodynamics, materials science, and tribology. 

The PI holds an Adjunct Professorship appointment at Lund University within Iprod and is also co-founded by the Swedish foundation for strategic research (SSF) and Seco Tools AB to support the development of in-situ/in-operando investigation methods for studying the degradation mechanisms of cutting tools and coatings materials for metal cutting applications. He is a fellow of the international academy of production engineering (CIRP), has co-supervised 12 PhD students, 4 postdoctoral fellows and is currently co-supervising one PhD student at Lund University and one at the University of Sheffield.

The project is also closely connected with an international multidisciplinary collaborative research team bringing together academics from Lund University, Chalmers, Imperial College and the University of Oxford, and two industrial partners (Seco Tools and Element 6) covering topics related to material science and processing of ultrahard materials and coatings, advanced material characterization, micromechanical testing, and synchrotron X-ray analysis.

The project is primarily experimental and will require extensive work at synchrotrons in Sweden, Germany, France and other countries. Prior knowledge and experience of X-rays is not a formal requirement; this will form a part of the training as required. 

Work duties

The project aims to focus on three main goals where, as a doctoral student, you will have the responsibility to:

  • Support the development a high-temperature heater for in-situ X-ray study of the thermo-oxidative degradation of different ultrahard materials (PCBN)/coating compositions currently being developed for cutting tool applications.
  • Subsequently investigate the impact of thermal degradation on the micromechanical properties and damage tolerance of the tool/coating interfaces via in-situ indention testing under synchrotron X-rays.
  • Develop software for data analysis, in particular for scanning XRD / WAXS.

The combination of in-situ experiments at the selected MAX IV beamline (NanoMAX) with post-degradation characterization of the materials using HR-SEM/HR-TEM methods will give a much deeper understanding of these novel ultrahard coated tool materials. 

The activities are placed at Lund University at the Division of Production and Material Engineering, the Division of Synchrotron Radiation Research and MAX IV Laboratory. Visits and experiments at other laboratories will also take place during the course of the project as well as short term visits at the two industrial partners locations in Sweden and England. Participation in summer schools and national and international conferences is encouraged.

The training implies a secondment of 3-12 months at MAX IV laboratory in Lund, Sweden. Additional secondments and/or short stays may be arranged in agreement with the supervisor of the research project. Moreover, you will attend international conferences, participate in periodical project meetings and training schools as well as in specialised courses at different universities to complement your knowledge.  A certain amount of travelling is foreseen in relation to these activities.

The main task for the doctoral student will be to conduct research education which includes work with research but also completing graduate courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties to a maximum of 20 %. The successful candidate will be given opportunity to assist in the supervision of master students.

References of relevant publications.

Makgae et al., 2023, Visualising microstructural dynamics of titanium aluminium nitride coatings under variable-temperature oxidation,

Gordon et al., 2022, Influence of microstructural assemblage of the substrate on the adhesion strength of coated PcBN grades,

Bushlya et al., 2021, Tool wear mechanisms of PcBN in machining Inconel 718: Analysis across multiple length scale,

Admission requirements 

A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if the applicant: 

  • 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 Mechanical Engineering Sciences if the applicant has: 

  • at least 90 credits of relevance to the field, including at least 60 second-cycle credits, or;
  • a second-cycle degree in a relevant field.

Additional requirements:

  • Very good oral and written proficiency in English. 
  • The position requires a master’s degree in Materials Engineering, Materials Science, Applied physics, or similar. Note that the degree does not have to be completed at the time of application.
  • To comply with the mobility rule of the MSCA COFUND programme, you are eligible if you have not resided in Sweden for more than 12 months during the period 2020-10-30 to 2023-10-31 for work or studies as main occupation.
  • You are eligible for the PRISMAS programme if you qualify for a doctoral candidacy, i.e., are not already in possession of a doctoral degree.

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: 

  1. Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study.
  2. An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.
  3. Written and oral communication skills.
  4. Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience. 

Other assessment criteria:

For the present position, competence in Material Characterisation and Micromechanical property testing are of special value.

Additional assessment criteria are (the order of the list carries no significance):

  1. Knowledge of Ceramic materials and thin film processing technologies
  2. Experience in X-ray diffraction or other X-ray analysis methods
  3. Experience in data analysis and programming, preferably in Python

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

We offer

The position is fully funded and salaried. Lund University is a public authority which means that employees get particular benefits, generous annual leave and an advantageous occupational pension scheme. Read more on the University website. Work at Lund University

The MSCA COFUND project PRISMAS offers you outstanding opportunities as well as a stimulating and inspiring surrounding for performing cutting-edge research. By supporting your mobility, it creates perfect conditions for strengthening your international network.

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 position is a full-time, fixed term employment for four years, foreseen to start on 1/3/2024. Admission to the doctoral studies takes place at Lund University. 

The holder of this positions has a primary obligation to successfully fulfil their postgraduate (third cycle) education ending with a doctoral degree (PhD). 

How to apply

Applications are to be submitted via the VARBI and must include the following documents: 

  • CV in Europass format
  • A two-page cover letter, justifying your interest in the position and how it matches your qualifications as well as the prioritization in case of applying to several PRISMAS positions.
  • at least one reference letter.
  • an evidence of English 3 proficiency (minimum B2 level).
  • Copy of academic records, including marks for all coursework with a transcript of diploma in English,
  • and any other document to which you would like to draw attention (details of referees, letters of recommendation, etc.)
  • You are also asked to answer the selection questions

All documents should be uploaded (pdf) in the job application portal. Exam certificates and other documents on paper should be scanned or photographed before being uploaded.

In regard to incomplete applications (especially if lacking the abovementioned documents), the PRISMAS Management reserves the right to exclude them in the selection process, without any additional notification to the applicant. The application will be evaluated based on scientific excellence, the adequacy of your career plan and your thesis project as well as your research experience. 

Details on the novel, unique and common selection process for all the PRISMAS positions can be found here: How to apply – MAX IV (

Welcome to apply!

For more detailed information on the position or the research project, please contact:

Rachid M’Saoubi :

If you have questions on the selection process, please contact: 

For questions on the employment conditions and the university, please contact: 

Erika Dynell

Type of employment Temporary position
First day of employment 2024-03-01
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2023/2821
  • Rachid M'Saoubi,
  • Erika Dynell,
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-2229362
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet,
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-2229366
Published 20.Sep.2023
Last application date 17.Nov.2023 11:59 PM CET

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