Doctoral student in physical chemistry

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Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top universities. The University has around 45 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

Subject description

Biophysical chemistry involves research directed towards molecular questions in biological systems. The experimental and theoretical methods used often have their origins in physics. The biophysical chemistry research within the division of Physical Chemistry (Department of Chemistry), include experimental and theoretical research on soft and biological matter. Significant work is devoted to protein self-assembly and co-assembly and interactions with other biomolecules.

The current project focuses on proteins from plant seeds as promising opportunities to replace animal-derived food proteins with a more sustainable, healthy and affordable protein source. A central challenge is the physicochemical difference of seed proteins to typical animal proteins which require novel approaches to create comparable food properties. The overall research goal is the understanding of assembly processes of proteins as triggered by changes in temperature and chemical environment, including in particular the time-resolved monitoring of structure and dynamics during assembly.

The PhD student will be part of a collaborative network of students and researchers at the division of Physical Chemistry ( at Lund University.

Work duties

The PhD project targets the question of how to best exploit the potential for tunable structure formation from plant proteins. This work, supervised by associate professor Felix Roosen-Runge, is part of a larger research program that aims to translate conceptual and methodological developments in soft matter and protein biophysics into food science.

In particular, the project aims for characterization of assembly processes of sustainable proteins from plant seeds by combining time-resolved scattering and microscopy techniques. Specific tasks include experimental work and data analysis to follow the structural and dynamical evolution during gelation processes, as well as the use of environments for controlled mixing to initiate structure formation with specific desired outcomes.

The project will provide opportunities to improve experience and expertise with a broad range of characterization techniques relevant for soft and biological matter, and protein science. You will benefit from a well-equipped shared laboratory at the division with a broad range of modern characterization techniques, including small-angle X-ray and light scattering instruments, rheology, calorimetry, AFM, NMR, optical spectroscopy, and microscopy. The laboratory techniques are complemented with state-of-the-art scattering techniques at national and international neutron and X-ray facilities.

The research group has a deep expertise and a strong track record with large-scale facility research at synchrotron and neutron facilities, such as MAX IV and ESS in Lund. You will have the opportunity to experience these unique and world-leading scientific environments during experimental campaigns, and strengthen general soft skills by co-managing these team-based experimental campaigns and writing competitive proposals for measurement time. You will be offered the opportunity to develop expertise in data analysis and scientific computing as a key academic skill in the era of big data sets.

You will work in a team of PhD and project students, postdocs and the supervisors. We aim for an interactive and team-based research program, in which each member is encouraged to actively contribute with ideas and competence to a common scientific progress. You will have the opportunity to participate in national and international workshops, summer schools and conferences – not only to present and disseminate the research, but also to strengthen the personal network with other researchers and collaborators.

We aim for you to become an active and independent researcher at the interdisciplinary boundary of food science and soft matter.

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to research studies, which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties will also include teaching and other departmental duties (not more than 20%).

Admission requirements

A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he / she / they :

  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

Additional requirements:

  • Very good oral and written proficiency in English.
  • Good knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the work duties.
  • Ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.

Assessment criteria

Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student’s potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following:

  1. Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the work duties.
  2. An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.
  3. Written and oral communication skills
  4. Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience of biophysical studies of proteins.

Other assessment criteria:

  • Documented experience with proteins in solution or polymer hydrogels is a merit.
  • Hands-on and theoretical knowledge of one or several of the following experimental methods are a strong merit: light, neutron or X-ray scattering; video optical microscopy (e.g. feature tracking, differential dynamic microscopy (DDM)); data analysis of larger data sets; scientific scripting (e.g. python, matlab); microfluidic environments.
  • Motivation and documented ability to actively contribute to an interdisciplinary and international research environment at the boundary between food science and soft matter science are a merit.

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

Terms of employment Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§.

Instructions on how to apply

Applications shall be written in English and include a cover letter containing a research statement summarizing previous research accomplishments and the reasons why you are interested in the position and in what way the research project corresponds to your interests and educational background. The application must also contain a CV, degree certificate or equivalent, and other documents you wish to be considered (grade transcripts, contact information for your references, letters of recommendation, etc.).

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Science. The Faculty is organized into eight departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

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  • Type of employment Temporary position
  • First day of employment 2023-09-01 or as agreed
  • Salary Monthly salary
  • Number of positions 1
  • Full-time equivalent 100
  • City Lund
  • County Skåne län
  • Country Sweden
  • Reference number PA2023/2484


  • Ulf Olsson,, +46462228159
  • Erik Andersson Jardby,

Union representative

  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-2229362
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet,

Published 06.Jul.2023 Last application date 15.Aug.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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Application Method: online_applicationRef. No.

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