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Department of Agriculture and Ecology, Faculty of Life Sciences at University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD scholarship commencing 1st February 2011 or soon thereafter. The application deadline is 15 December 2010.
Project description
Petroleum hydrocarbons have been extensively exploited through human activities for many years and mineral oil contaminations of soils, sediments and groundwater represent a huge problem world-wide. Bioremediation, which is the use of living (micro)organisms for removal of contaminants from the environment, is today a cost-efficient approach to treat soil and sediments contaminated by PAHs.
Importantly the limited bioavailability / bioaccessibility of the hydrophobic PAHs represents an important bottleneck leading to low rates of pollutant loss. The challenge posed by limited PAH bioavailability / bioaccessibility may be addressed by addition or in-soil production of biosurfactants. Addition of biosurfactants is already known to lead to increased solubility of PAH compounds further stimulating biodegradation. In situ production of biosurfactants are documented to play important roles in bacterial motility, affecting attachment / detachment to surfaces and biofilm formation, whereas there are few (if any) reports addressing the significance of in situ production of biosurfactants for biodegradation at a mechanistic level.
The aim of the PhD project is to reveal the significance of in situ production of biosurfactants in PAH-degrading bacteria for their ability to access and degrade hydrophobic oil contaminants in soil as determined by degrader gene expression and contaminant turn-over.
The hosting laboratory has extensive experience in molecular microbial research related to soil microbiology in general and bacterial soil and rhizosphere colonization, metabolic and degradation activity, gene expression, etc. The project will be associated with the Center for Environmental and Agricultural Microbiology – A VKR Centre of Excellence, hosted by the laboratory and further takes advantage from ongoing project collaborations with Danish, industrial partners within in soil remediation and with international research partners in Germany and Spain.
Principal supervisor
Associate Professor
Ole Nybroe
Direct Phone: (+45) 35 33 26 29
Department of Agriculture and Ecology
Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD fellow at LIFE are:
  • Manage and carry through your research project
  • Take PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Participate in international congresses
  • Stay at a research institution abroad for a few months
  • Teach and disseminate your research
Key criteria for the assessment of candidates
  • A master´s degree related to the subject area of the project
  • The grade point average achieved
  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD programme
  • Previous publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other professional activities
  • Language skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Marks obtained during the first year of study on the master programme (only relevant for applicants applying for a 4-year scholarship)
Formal requirements
The positions are available for a 3-year period for applicants holding a relevant master´s degree or for a 4-year period for applicants who are already enrolled or are accepted to be enrolled at one of the Faculty´s master´s programmes.
At the time of commencement, applicants for the 4-year period must have approximately one year of study remaining before graduating from their MSc programme.
The successful applicant of the PhD scholarship must pass an enrolment in the LIFE Graduate School before the Faculty can finish the letter of employment.
Graduate School of Faculty of Life Sciences, LIFE strives to give our students the best international career prospects within our main research areas.
Specific requirements
The appointee should have a background in molecular microbiology and/or molecular microbial ecology including previous experience with research, analytical work and data analyses.
Terms of employment
The position will be filled according to the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The post is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.
Application Procedure
All applicants must use the formal PhD application form, F1, the specified annexes, excl. annex 3, are to be included in the application.
Applicants whose principal language of instruction during their BSc/MSc was not Scandinavian or English must enclose IELTS or TOEFL test scores.
The application should be submitted in one signed printed copy and one complete PDF file on a CD-ROM or USB memory stick (i.e. forms F1 and all enclosures gathered in a single PDF file).
It is not possible to submit the application via e-mail.
The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation Executive Order no 284 of 25. April 2008.
By the end of December 2010, all applicants will have received information regarding the evaluation of their application. Receipt of the application will not be acknowledged.
The application, marked 625/05414-298 should be sent to:
Faculty of Life Sciences
Dept. of Agriculture and Ecology
The Secretariat
Thorvaldsensvej 40, 2, 3.
1871 Frederiksberg C.
The application must be received no later than 15 December at 12.00 pm (noon). Applications received later than this will not be considered.
For specific information about the PhD scolarship, please contact the principal supervisor.
General information about PhD programmes is available at
About LIFE
Based in a country that has the world´s most environmentally friendly agricultural production and located in Medicon Valley, among global pharmaceutical, biotech and food companies, the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Copenhagen is situated in the heart of one of the world´s strongest life science environments.
Deadline: 15-12-2010
Publisher: Det Biovidenskabelige Fakultet