PhD Student in Analysis of Environmental DNA, “eDNA” from Marine Organisms

tirsdag 10 mar 20

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Frist 15. april 2020
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Within the research area “Population Genetics” at The National Institute for Aquatic Resources, DTU Aqua (, we offer a 3-year PhD position in the field of environmental DNA analysis. The fellow will be employed at DTU Aquas´s location in Silkeborg, Jutland, which besides the Population Genetics group also hosts the section for Freshwater Fisheries and Ecology (FFE). The starting time is negotiable, but preferably around June 1st 2020.

The successful candidate will work on a number of funded projects within the topic of environmental DNA from marine organisms. The main focus will be on development of methods to reliably and cost-effectively to assess bycatch rates in industrial landings and determine species composition in “unwanted catches” in landings of fish for consumption under the “EU landing obligation”. DNA based methods are envisioned to be able to provide faster and more precise estimation of catch composition, but there is a strong need for calibration and validation of methods for routine and forensic application. In addition, development of methods for detecting and monitoring the distribution of invasive marine species in the arctic using water samples will also be part of the PhD.

The population genetics group at DTU Aqua has three senior researchers (one professor, two senior research scientists), one researcher, three postdoc, three laboratory technicians, PhD and masters students (currently three PhD and one MSc student). Our main research focus is on Fisheries and Conservation Genetics, i.e. to apply molecular genetic tools to solve problems in fisheries science and conservation biology in order to contribute to long term sustainable management of marine resources and biodiversity. Our project portfolio ranges from basic science to projects directly targeted at providing specific management advice, and most projects encompass both basic and applied aspects. In recent years the group’s main focus has shifted from genetics to genomics. Thus, most ongoing projects include genomic analysis. The facilities in Silkeborg comprise a fully equipped state of the art genetics laboratory, including DNA clean-lab facilities for manipulating sensitive DNA samples.

The DTU Aqua Silkeborg location currently employs around 35 people including six PhD students. The young researchers work on a diversity of projects related to fish ecology and genetics aiming at fisheries resource management and biodiversity protection. They actively interact through various fora including regular seminars and the local study group in population ecology and genetics.

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

We invite applications from Master of Science level researchers with a background in eDNA analysis or related research fields. In particular experience in designing, testing and applying qPCR assays for species specific identification and quantification will be considered an asset. As we are in a process to expand the group’s competences with respect to genomic analysis, we strongly encourage applicants with previous bioinformatics experience in relation to handling and analysing genomic data. The candidate will be selected based on previous experience and qualifications of relevance to the described projects. Candidates should have a MSc. degree or equivalent.

Approval and Enrolment

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

Further information 
For further information please contact the Population Genetics research coordinator, professor Einar Eg Nielsen (, tel +45 3588  3115.

You can read more about DTU Aqua at

Salary and terms of employment

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

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Candidates applying from outside Denmark can be eligible to a tax deduction upon application.

Starting date is negotiable.

Please do not send applications to Principal Investigators, instead apply online as described below.

Application procedure
Please submit your online application no later than 15 April 2020 (23:59 local time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out 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)
  • Your application
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • If applicable, other material that you would like to be included in the evaluation.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

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

The purpose of DTU Aqua is to provide research, advice and education at the highest international level within the sustainable exploitation of living marine and freshwater resources, the biology of aquatic organisms and the dynamics of ecosystems as well as their integration in ecosystem-based management. DTU Aqua has 260 employees, of whom a third are scientific staff. The institute is organised into eight scientific sections which carry out the research, educational and advisory activities. In addition, the institute has a number of scientific and administrative support functions, including the research vessel DANA. DTU Aqua has employees in Charlottenlund, Hirtshals, Silkeborg as well as on Dana.


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DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 11,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.