PhD Position in UCPH University of Copenhagen Denmark

PhD position in Analytical Chemistry and Biochemistry for the Green transition at Uni of Copenhagen, Denmark 2022


PhD position in Analytical Chemistry and Biochemistry for the Green transition is available for master’s degree candidates in biochemistry, biotechnology, molecular biology, plant biology or analytical chemistry at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark 2022

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General Info

Position: PhD
No. of Positions: 1
Research Field: , , , ,
Deadline to Apply: Expired
Joining Date: ASAP
Contract Period: Subject to Norms
Salary: According to standard norms

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science

University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark


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Qualification Details

The ideal candidate will have a background in analytical chemistry and biochemistry

  • Analytical chemistry (LCMS, GCMS and NMR)
  • Enzyme biochemistry
  • Radiolabeling of compounds
  • Up to gram scale purification of saponins
  • Metabolomics
  • Quality assessment of saponins upscaling
  • Knowledge of natural products

Key personal skills:

  • Enthusiasm and good interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Ability to collaborate with others.
  • Interest in writing scientific papers.
  • Strong language skills in English.
  • Broad curiosity in biological questions and open-mindedness to cross-disciplinary research
  • Curiosity driven interdisciplinary approach to science and an open mindset
  • Ability to work independently and manage own research project
  • Ability to critically review research results generated as part of project

Formal requirements

Applicants should hold a MSc degree in biochemistry, biotechnology, molecular biology, plant biology or analytical chemistry, and should be fluent in both spoken and written English.

Qualifications needed for the PhD programTo be eligible for the PhD program, you must have completed a degree program, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. biochemistry, biotechnology, molecular biology, plant biology or analytical chemistry. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.

Responsibilities and tasks in the PhD program

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

We are looking for the following qualifications:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other relevant professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in plant science
  • Good language skills

Responsibilities/Job Description

The Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a 3-year PhD fellowships commencing 1 September 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment

The PhD position is financed by the Novo Nordic Foundation to the two projects “EcoSap: triterpenoid saponins as green solutions for future sustainable food production” and “SAP-FATE Biopesticides for sustainable agriculture - Fate, biological activity, and environmental impact of saponins in soils” link to project descriptions, and are lead by Professor Soren Bak. An assistant professor, two postdocs and a PhD student are already employed, and the project collaborates closely with other research groups at the department and internationally. The successful candidate will be joining an active, diverse and multi-disciplinary research environment seeking to understand how we can learn from nature to defend agricultural plants from especially herbivores. The section has state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, a metabolomics platform, and in-depth experience in plant biochemistry and plant specialized metabolites.

The successful applicants will be based within the Molecular Evolution of Specialized Metabolism research groups in the Plant Biochemistry Section at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. The Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences is a large department (over 450 employees) dedicated to plant, microbial, and environmental sciences ( Further information on the Department is linked at

Project description

World agricultural food and feed production suffers greatly from losses to insect pests. We need alternative green solutions to protect our crops to secure food and feed production. The focus of the EcoSap and SapFate projects is to learn from nature how to protect a future sustainable food production system. We have identified a class of compounds called saponins that can target insect species that are resistant to most synthetic insecticides. The project goes from basic science of how saponins are biosynthesized, stored, their mode of actions to exploring the possibilities of upscaled production of saponins, to their ecotoxicological evaluations and to understand the fate of saponins if applied as bio-pesticides to soil environments. You will therefore be working together in a multidisciplinary team with specialist within plant specialized metabolites, plant biochemistry, soil chemistry, ecotoxicology, membrane physiology, and microbiology. EcoSap and SAP-FATE are at the very forefront of the Green Transition agenda and will contribute to positioning plant specialized metabolites as a logical approach to support productivity and resilience of agricultural production systems.

The aim of the PhD position is to find new and sustainable sources of saponins, to establish their scale up for their use as bio-pesticides, and to understand the fate of saponins if applied as bio pesticides to soil environments.

How to Apply?

Application Method: Online Application
Ref. No.: -

Application Procedure

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  2. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  3. Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  4. Publication list (if relevant)
  5. Reference letters (if available)

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

About the Department/Section/Group

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website:

About the Employer:

Note or Other details

Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

The further process After the deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment.

The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at

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Contact details

For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact Professors Søren Bak,
e-mail: [email protected], Section for Plant Biochemistry, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences.

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