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PhD Position Avaliable

The position

Your background should be in a quantitative science or engineering, in physics, chemistry, mineralogy, materials science, geochemistry, hydrogeology, biochemistry, engineering, mathematics or other – it does not matter – but we expect you to be competent with physics, chemistry and mathematics.  An interest in surface science or materials and their interactions in nature is important.

No experience is required but keen interest and a drive for solving problems is essential, as is enthusiasm for working in a team with scientists and engineers from other disciplines and other cultures. Facility with English is essential.

To fulfill the university requirements for this position, the candidate must have, or soon have, a degree that permits him/her to enter a PhD program. This might be a Masters degree, a “diplome”, an Honours Bachelor or 4 year Bachelor, or equivalent (i.e. experience in research or other). The successful candidate must not have a PhD.

The position will preferably start in late spring or summer of 2018. In a special case, for a perfect candidate, there is a possibility to hold the position for a few months.

The research scope

The successful candidate will work in a team that crosses disciplines, i.e. behaviour and properties of materials and the preservation of archaeologic artefacts. The ability of organic material to adhere to mineral surfaces is of importance in biomineralisation, the processes by which organisms make hard parts such as teeth, bone and shells, and these materials form an important tool for archaeologists in understanding the past. In order to get full benefit of the information trapped in these materials, it is essential to understand the mechanisms that got them there and keep them there.

The main goal of the PhD project is to understand the interaction of organic compounds, especially proteins or fragments of proteins, with mineral surfaces. The research questions include: “Can we understand the molecular level processes that control the behaviour of organic compounds on mineral surfaces?, “What conditions are optimal” and “What can be predicted about the long term behaviour?”

The research team and facilities

The research will benefit from the close interaction of scientists and engineers across a number of disciplines from two divisions of the University of Copenhagen.  Prof. S. Stipp, leader of NanoGeoScience, a part of the Nano-Science Centre is working with Prof. M. Collins, in the Evolutionary Genomics Section, Natural History Museum. The expertise in these complementary groups will help solve some long standing questions about how organic materials interact with inorganic solids common in nature. Both groups are large, with excellent international reputations for leading edge research and broad international networks.

The NanoGeoScience team specialises in using nanotechniques to investigate solid-fluid interface reactivity with expertise and equipment that is unique in the world. The main techniques include scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with focussed ion beam (FIB) sectioning, cryo sample handling and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDXS), atomic force microscopy (AFM) including chemical force and infrared (IR) mapping, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) also in cryo mode, and we are frequent users of computational resources for molecular modelling and synchrotron radiation (SR) facilities, particularly for X-ray micro and nanotomography imaging.

The Palaeoproteomics team works in a scientific environment that has developed a reputation for the study of ancient DNA and proteins, where there is access to state of the art facilities for preparation, analysis and interpretation of ancient proteins. More information about the Palaeoproteomics team, expertise and analytical facilities can be found on the website.

Our expectations about you, as a person

The research groups are dynamic, international and multidisciplinary. It is an exciting environment. We are looking for candidates with motivation, energy and creativity. We expect that you like to be part of a team, that you have a sense of humour, you are a good problem solver, enjoy helping others and that you are also able to work effectively and independently. You are interested in the behaviour of natural materials and are enthusiastic about learning more. You are also excited about fundamental science and applying the results to solve practical questions of interest to society. Because the groups and the research questions are interdisciplinary, we are looking for people who are open minded, excited about absorbing new information across disciplines and curious about applying their skills in new ways.

About a third of those you would work with would be Danish and the rest come from the rest of the world. Therefore daily interaction is in English. We are about half women and half men and we aim to keep this diversity. The Nano-Science Center, the Evolutionary Genetics Section, The Natural History Museum and the University of Copenhagen aim to have its members reflect the diversity of science and society, so we look forward to your application regardless of your gender, your age, your religion or your ethnic background.

Employment conditions

The start date for the position is flexible. To get the right candidate, we are willing to fill it immediately or to wait for a few months.  Please indicate in your application, your choice of start date. Note that this will not affect whom we choose. Salary and employment conditions are set by agreements between the Danish Finance Ministry and the relevant trade union and are determined from your education and experience.

A PhD salary in Denmark lasts exactly 36 months.  It requires taking courses, some teaching and research equivalent to three first author papers or two first author and two coauthor papers. Attendance at scientific meetings and efforts in public outreach are also required.

The candidate must be in possession of a degree or qualifications that admit him/her to a PhD program at the time the employment contract begins. It is not necessary to have completed this education at the time of application. Scientists who already have a PhD or doctorate are not eligible.

To apply

If you have not already done so, you must read this full announcement. It is critical that you know about the project and that you include in your application, all of the information that is requested.

Requirements for the application are listed below. Applications that are incomplete or that have not been prepared with consideration of these requirements will not be considered. Please do not use the European Commission standard CV form.  We find that it requests too much detail for topics that are unimportant and misses some of the important aspects of your background.  There are websites and books that explain the basics of a good CV.

Please include information about when you would like to begin or when you expect to complete the education that provides you access to a PhD program (such as a Masters degree, a Diplome, an Honours Bachelor degree, a 4 year Bachelor degree or some other equivalent).

Applications that lack one or more of the following parts will not be considered:

  1.  your CV (and if you have any publications, please include the publication information for them)
  2.  names and contact information for 3 references
  3.  a copy of your list of courses and grades from your bachelor (and your masters as far as it is available); a copy is sufficient; an official translation is not necessary at this stage
  4.  no more than a half page about your research interests, and
  5.  no more than one page explaining why you would like to join us and what you have to offer the project. You may use this statement as your cover letter if you wish.

Candidates selected for the short list might be asked for further information, or an interview, or both.

Your application must be submitted directly on the University of Copenhagen web site.  Follow the link

Do NOT send your application by email. It must be submitted through the official University of Copenhagen, Human Resources site or it cannot be considered.

Deadline for submission is on or before 23 March 2018.