Lund University, Faculty of Science, 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.

Europe’s forests are highly valued for wood production, conserving biodiversity and climate change mitigation, among many other services. They are also increasingly under stress from the changing climate. Identifying how vulnerable different forests and parts of forests are to climate stress opens up the possibility to adapt the way forests are managed to mitigate risks. Forest models allow to explore how forests can be expected to respond to particular climate or management scenarios. However, simulating the impacts of climate stress, especially with relation to vulnerability to mortality is still a challenging frontier of research. In this PhD project you will develop and apply forest modelling techniques to improve our understanding of drought stress risks in Swedish forests. You will work with a state-of-the-art version of the LPJ-GUESS forest ecosystem model and in close collaboration with partners from the forest industry and The Swedish Forest Agency. The project is funded by the Swedish research council Formas.

You will become part of the very active ecosystem modelling group at Lund University, including a substantial team working on forest modelling in Europe and beyond. You will also become part of the BECC ( and MERGE ( research platforms which brings together a community of several hundred researchers working on the topics related to biodiversity, ecosystem services and climate modelling. 

Work duties

Supplement with further details about the research project and 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 (no more than 20%). The student will develop and apply the LPJ-GUESS dynamic vegetation model, working with other researchers currently developing ground-breaking new capabilities to represent forests. Tasks will include planning research studies, model development, the development of experimental protocols, carrying out the related simulations and analysis, and leading the writing of peer-reviewed papers based on the results. Work plans will be agreed in discussion with the supervisors but will be developed in the context of the WiSdoM project, including ensuring that relevant project milestones and deliverables are met. Participation in national/international meetings and workshops relevant to the above is expected, as is carrying out related administration and communication 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 (M.Sc. or equivalent) 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 Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science if they have passed an independent project (for example a degree project) of at least 30 credits in a relevant subject and have very good oral and written proficiency in English.

Here, “relevant subject” is taken to mean physical geography, environmental science, ecology, forest science, environmental engineering or similar.

Additional requirements:

  • High-quality research work (e.g. Masters/Bachelors thesis) evidencing substantial potential as a researcher.

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, including grades.
  2. An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.
  3. Written and oral communication skills in English.
  4. Capacity to develop computer code, including level and type of experience in languages such as Python, R, C++ and similar.

Other assessment criteria:

  • Level of subject knowledge relating to forestry, forest ecology, forest ecophysiology.
  • Quality and level of previous research work.
  • A genuine interest in using research to inform practice.

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 of maximum 2 pages 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.). Please do not upload whole theses or publications.

Welcome to apply!

Type of employment Temporary position
First day of employment 2024-09-01 el enl överenskommelse
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2024/344
  • Thomas Pugh, +46462220000
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-2229362
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet,
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-2229366
Published 02.Feb.2024
Last application date 05.Mar.2024 11:59 PM CET

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