PhD Scholarship in Trait Based Marine Ecology and Modelling

DTU Aqua
Friday 05 Jan 18

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Apply no later than 15 February 2018
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Centre for Ocean Life ( offers a 3-year PhD fellowship in trait-based ecological modelling within the general topic of trait-based marine ecology. The fellows will be employed at DTU Aqua (The National Institute for Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark).

We expect the PhD candidate to develop, implement and analyse trait-based models of marine ecosystems. The focal traits could be any behavioral or life-history traits; currently we are working with body size, defense and behavior, shell formation, jellyness, and diazotrophy. The models could describe any life-form in the ocean. Our current focus is on communities of unicellular plankton, copepods, and fish. The models may be implemented as food-web models, embedded in physical models of a water-column, or in global circulation models. Alternatively, the project could start from analysis of trait-patterns as observed in nature, and use that to develop a mechanistic understanding of life in the ocean. Overall, there in considerable freedom to formulate projects within the general frameworks described above and applicants are encouraged to present their own ideas and/or to contact us to discuss specific projects.

The application should contain a motivation for why you want to work in the Centre for Ocean Life.  The application may include a description of your own project ideas in accord with the goal of the Centre, perhaps inspired by the current running projects outlined on our home pages (, and The final PhD project will be developed in collaboration with the relevant principal investigator(s) in the Centre.

The PhD candidate will become part of the vibrant, cross-disciplinary, and international research environment at the Centre for Ocean Life that is a Villum Kann Rasmussen Centre of Excellence. The centre is a collaborative effort to develop a fundamental understanding and predictive capability of marine ecosystems through the use of trait-based approaches. We currently have a group of about 20 young scientists associated the Centre (PhD and Postdocs). They are working on various aspects of marine life using diverse approaches (observational, experimental, theoretical) while collaborating through weekly science meetings, annual science retreats, numerous working groups, and collaborative projects. Their backgrounds are as diverse as are those of the PIs of the Centre, from physics and mathematics to biology and chemistry, and we spend considerable effort developing cross-disciplinary communication and projects since we believe that the potential for discovery and progress may be achieved by confronting the different disciplines.

We are looking for physicists/mathematicians/engineers with a keen interest in marine ecology, or ecologists with documented quantitative skills.
Candidates should hold a MSc degree (or something equivalent) in physics, biology, mathematics, engineering, or similar.

Approval and enrolment
PhD scholarships are subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the PhD studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and an academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

The successful candidate is expected to start spring 2018 or soonest thereafter. Candidates that complete their MSc before then, can apply.

Further information
For further information about the positions and the projects please contact Professor Ken H Andersen (DTU Aqua, e-mail: or Professor Andy Visser (DTU Aqua, e-mail:

Please do not send applications to the above e-mail addresses and follow the electronic application and submission procedure as explained below.

You can read more about the Centre for Ocean Life at: Centre for Ocean Life, the associated project “mechanistic approach to plankton ecology”, and the National Institute of Aquatic Resources at: DTU Aqua.

Application procedure
Please submit your online application no later than 15 February 2018.

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae and Publication list,
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Possible outline of project ideas
  • Other material that you would like to be included in the evaluation.
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 11,000 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.