Lund University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology

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.

Subject description

Biology is the broad subject about all living things. It encompasses everything from processes at the molecular and cellular level to global processes at ecosystem level. The subject is divided into a range of sub-disciplines and specializations. The PhD programme at the Department of Biology includes many of these specializations, from molecular biology to applied ecology, from viruses and individual cells to evolutionary biology and global biodiversity. Taking on research studies at the Department of Biology generally means focusing on a delimited part of the research area of biology and may include field studies, experiments, theoretical studies, or a combination of these.

Work duties

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, up to 20%.

How do migratory birds perform their migration? Are there physiological, behavioral or environmental limitations to how birds can manage their migration? During the last decade, tracking studies have yielded important new knowledge about spatial and temporal patterns of bird migration. But previous studies that investigated patterns of bird migration have been limited by loggers that could only collect spatiotemporal data at rather poor resolution (roughly telling us when birds are where). Now, new tracking technology developed at Lund University also allow recording of detailed behavior of free-flying birds throughout their entire migratory journeys. The few studies that have yet employed this technology have open windows towards stunning new insights and seriously challenged previously assumed limits on peak flight altitudes, in-flight changes of altitudes and duration of individual flights, opening the field to a number of new research questions. The overarching goal of the proposed PhD project is to reveal the behavioral and physiological adaptations that make the extreme journeys of migratory birds possible. This will be accomplished by comparing tracks of different species, populations and age groups.

The project will include state-of-the-art tracking techniques of free-flying birds throughout the annual cycle (multisensor data loggers and GPS), analysis of detailed individual tracking data (behavioral and spatiotemporal) and modelling of environmental data. The PhD project is suitable for candidates with a background and a strong interest in migration ecology and behavior.

The project includes field work (4–10 weeks per year) and at times the research might require long workdays over prolonged periods of time. In addition, the candidate will attend international conferences and participate in specialized courses at various universities. A certain amount of travelling is foreseen in relation to these activities.

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 Biology if he or she has passed an independent project (for example a degree project) of at least 30 credits in a relevant subject and have good oral and written proficiency in English.

Additional requirements

For this position we seek a solution-oriented, independent yet collaborative, and highly motivated candidate with strong interest in the outlined project, with the following merits:

  • A MSc in biology (or equivalent) with a specialization in migration ecology/behavioral ecology or a closely related area.
  • Experience in field work, including bird species identification, capturing, and handling wild birds and, not least, attaching loggers is strongly meritorious.
  • Demonstrated ability of proactive and independent work.
  • Excellent oral and written proficiency in English.
  • Experience in basic statistical analyses in R
  • Driver’s license (equal to a Swedish b-license for passenger car).

In addition to the mandatory requirements, documented experience in the following areas will be considered as strong merits:

  • Experience in analyzing large data and/or spatiotemporal data in R
  • As the project may often involve communication with land owners, the ability to speak Swedish is considered a merit.

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, for example professional experience.

Consideration will also be given to strong collaborative skills, independence and interest in the outlined project, 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 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 §§.

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 postgraduate education programme 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, etcetera).

Type of employment Temporary position
First day of employment Preliminary start date 2024-01-01
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2023/3162
  • Sissel Sjöberg, Researcher,
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-2229362
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet,
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-2229366
Published 16.Oct.2023
Last application date 06.Nov.2023 11:59 PM CET

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