Environmental DNA analyses of Danish marine biodiversity

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Bioscience programme. The position is available from 1 November 2018 or later. Deadline for application is 1 August 2018.

Title:
Environmental DNA analyses of Danish marine biodiversity


Research area and project description:                                               
As part of a research project funded by the Velux foundation: “Exploring Danish marine biodiversity using environmental DNA”, we are seeking a candidate for a 3-year PhD position. The project will use high-throughput sequencing of environmental DNA (eDNA) from seawater and sediment samples collected along the Danish coasts coupled with oceanographic and environmental data, in order to investigate which factors are important for the distribution of marine biodiversity in Denmark. The project will apply a multi-taxon approach to retrieve comprehensive information on the diversity of marine life. The project builds on a partnership with other universities, Danish Society for Nature Conservation and Danish aquariums. We seek a highly-motivated PhD student who will work with eDNA metabarcoding and marine environmental data to further expand and advance the field of marine ecology and conservation. There will furthermore be opportunities for developing and carrying out new methodological advancements related to eDNA.

Qualifications and specific competences:
Applicants must have an M.Sc. degree or equivalent, or have submitted their M.Sc. thesis for assessment before the application deadline.

We seek a candidate with strong documented skills in:

  • molecular work (preferably eDNA)
  • bioinformatics of next-generation sequencing data
  • analyses of marine ecological data
  • statistical analyses using R
  • scientific publishing
  • writing and communication in English
  • scientific collaboration

A keen interest in natural history is also considered an important qualification

Place of employment and work:
The PhD student will be part of a new research group on environmental DNA led by Associate Professor Philip Francis Thomsen. At the time of employment, the group will consist of ca. 2 postdocs and 1 PhD student also working on eDNA, but is expected to include more people in the near future. The place of employment and work is Section for Genetics, Ecology and Evolution, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. More information about the people and research activities of the group can be found at http://bios.au.dk/en/about-bioscience/organisation/geneticsecologyandevolution/

Starting date: 1 November 2018 (somewhat flexible).

Contacts:
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

Philip Francis Thomsen (pfthomsen@bios.au.dk).


Application procedures

Before you apply

Information and attachments:
Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills: 

The English language requirement at Graduates School of Science and Technology is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”). 

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” is documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test, minimum score: 560 (paper-based test) or 83 (internet-based test). The paper-based test must have a “total score”. From August call 2019, GSST no longer accepts the paper-based test.
    Aarhus University does not accept the TOEFL ITP test. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935. You must request that the test centre send your test results to Aarhus University, in order to enable verification of your test results.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate  with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to sphd@psys.au.dk no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, or United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at Aarhus University for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section” Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants able to document that English was the language of instruction during the whole period of their Bachelor’s and/or Master’s programme. This must be documented by uploading an official document from the institution stating this under “language skills documentation”. The onus is on the applicant to provide this information as GSST will not pursue information regarding language of instruction for any programmes or institutions.

The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to http://talent.au.dk/phd/scienceandtechnology/opencalls/
Choose August 2018 Call with deadline 1 August 2018 at 11.59 PM MET.
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme 'Bioscience'

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: "Environmental DNA analyses of Danish marine biodiversity"
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

Please note that all information in the application must be in Danish or English.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts and diploma(s)
  • Project description (½-4 pages). For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. When - as here - you apply for a specific project, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed. The e-mail will also include a link to the application – GSST urges you to check that all mandatory data, marked with an asterisk (*), is registered correctly and all attached files are readable. In case of significant errors, you should reply to the confirmation e-mail with the correct details before the application deadline.

GSST reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSST application guide here.  

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.