PhD Scholarship in Fish Stock Assessment and Fisheries Dynamic Modelling Investigating Sustainability of Potential Mesopelagic Resource Exploitation

torsdag 10 sep 20

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Frist 1. november 2020
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A PhD Scholarship in adaptation of Fish Stock Assessment Tools and Fisheries Bio-Economic Dynamic Models for investigating potential sustainable exploitation of mesopelagic fisheries resources is available at the Technical University of Denmark, National Institute of Aquatic Resources (DTU Aqua) with expected starting date 1st December 2020. The scholarship is financed by the European Union H2020 project MEESO. The project work will primarily be carried out at the Section for Ecosystem-based Marine Management, which is located in Kongens Lyngby, Denmark.

Project description
The MEESO (Ecologically and economically sustainable mesopelagic fisheries, is a European project under the framework of Horizon 2020 with focus on investigating ecological and economic sustainability of potential exploitation of mesopelagic fishery resources with focus on two fish species (Maurolicus muelleri and Benthosema glaciale), as well as developing optimal fishing and fish processing methods and processes for such exploitation. The associated PhD Project will focus on adaptation and further development of stock assessment methods for data limited stocks to evaluate sustainability of exploitation of the two species, as well as adaptation and further development of an agent-based fisheries behavior dynamic model evaluating biological sustainability and economic viability of the large-scale pelagic fishery including potential exploitation of mesopelagic resources.

The research with data poor fish stock assessment methods will focus on length based assessment methods such as the TropFishR method ( and the S6 method ( with the aim of investigating sustainability of potential exploitation. The work will include review, sampling, database extraction, compilation and extensive analyses of fish demographic, fish survey and fisheries data to estimate population dynamic parameters for the two species informing the models. The research with the individual vessel based and spatial fisheries dynamic model DISPLACE (, will focus on investigating current large scale mesopelagic fisheries with the aim of investigating potential sustainable exploitation of mesopelagic resources with focus on the two mesopelagic fish species. This includes review, sampling, database extraction, compilation and extensive analyses of fisheries dynamic, behavioral and economic data to parameterize the model.  

The candidate must hold:

  • A relevant Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in aquatic science, marine biology, environmental engineering or similar
  • Mathematical modelling skills and experience with programming (e.g. in R, MatLab, or Python)
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English
  • Experience with fish stock assessment and fisheries evaluation would be advantageous

In the assessment, particular focus will be given to:

  • Experience in statistical methods and modelling (with focus on R);
  • Experience in fish stock assessment and fisheries dynamics analyses and modelling;
  • Interest in studying the sustainable resource exploitation under an ecosystem based approach to fisheries management;
  • Experience in communicating the scientific results to both the academic and as well the general public
  • Interest in communication with stakeholders;

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Prof. J. Rasmus Nielsen, Prof. Ken H. Andersen, Scientist Alexandros Kokkalis, and Sen. Scientist Francois Bastardie (all at DTU Aqua).

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.

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 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 upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
For further information about the project, please contact Professor J. Rasmus Nielsen (

Please submit your online application no later than 1 November 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 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
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • Brief research proposal (1-2 pages) presenting ideas on how to address the research topics given in the short description of the PhD project above.

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.

The research of the Section for Ecosystem-based Marine Management aims to develop knowledge and tools that can be used as the basis for advice on ecosystem based fisheries management taking overall environmental goals as reflected in environmental policy into account. The research spectrum of the section involves four main themes covering i) Development of fisheries management evaluation methods,   and advice on spatial fisheries management measures; ii) Quantitative analyses of indicators and indicator thresholds in relation to the definition of good environmental status under the EU Marine Strategy Directive; iii) Development of methods to minimize unwanted by-catch of e.g. mammals and implementation of alternative fishing gear to minimize negative interactions between marine mammals and fisheries; and iv) Assessment of the effects of interactions with predator and prey fish stocks.    

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 other employees are assistant biologists, laboratory technicians, IT employees, administrative staff, ship’s crew, student assistants etc. The institute is organized 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 Lyngby, Silkeborg, Nykøbing Mors and Hirtshals as well as on Dana. You can read more about DTU Aqua on

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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 12,000 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.