PhD fellow in Fertilizer value of recovered phosphorus products

Do you want to contribute to a more sustainable future and development of solutions for recovery and recycling? A three-year PhD position in Fertilizer value of recovered phosphorus products is available in the Soil Fertility group at Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) European Innovative Training Network RecaP (Capture, Recycling and Societal Management of Phosphorus in the Environment) within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission (Agreement No. 956454).

Description of the scientific environment
The Soil Fertility research group ( focuses on soil fertility issues and environmental impacts related to sustainable agriculture with a special focus on nutrient cycling and climate change. Our research aims at a mechanistic understanding of soil nutrient and organic matter dynamics at both the level of micro-scale biogeophysical processes and at eco-system scales, in the pursuit of increased nutrient use efficiency, improved crop productivity and reduced environmental impacts from agriculture in the 21st century.

Project description
We are currently facing a “Global Phosphorus (P) Challenge (GPC)”. The three main reasons are:

1. Phosphorus is a limited resource with finite reserves of mineable P rock

2. Phosphorus is unevenly distributed, i.e. the resources are not where they are needed for food production

3. Phosphorus causes pollution when it is lost from the food production systems to the surrounding environment

RecaP will train a cohort of 15 PhD students (Early Stage Researchers) to become Phosphorus specialist within the Global Phosphorus Challenge in a way that is socially, economically, and environmentally acceptable. This application is for the project ESR7: Fertilizer value of recovered phosphorus products. For further details, visit the RecaP website:

The main objective of the current PhD project will be to investigate utilization of recovered P products in terms of their usefulness as a fertilizer.

Specific objectives are:

1. Investigate the elemental composition and P speciation of recovered products

2. Assess plant availability of recovered products in soils with different properties.

3. Assess the recovered products in terms of P mobility and propensity to leach.

  The Ph.D student will to a large extent be able to define the experimental and analytical approaches taken to meet these objectives.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor, Dorette Müller-Stöver, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, E-mail:, Direct Phone: +4535331236 and Co-supervisors will be Sander Bruun ( and Jakob Magid (

Job description
The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:

Your key tasks as an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) member of the RecaP Network and as a PhD student at the SCIENCE PhD school are to:

  • Perform independent scientific research, as well as collaborate with other members of the international RecaP research network.
  • Participate in international secondments (internship as visiting researcher) to other organisations in the RecaP network.
  • Attend the RecaP training programme as well as other PhD courses.
  • Write and publish scientific articles related to your research project and write your PhD thesis.
  • Participate in scientific meetings and conferences to present your research to the scientific community.
  • Actively participate in outreach activities aimed to promote your own scientific research as well as the RecaP network activities to a wider audience.
  • Contribute to teaching activities, as part of your own career training.

Please review the main duties for all ESR positions by visiting the RECAP website.

Formal requirements
Applicants for this position should have:

• An MSc degree in Soil Science, Environmental Science, Agronomy, Ecology, Agricultural Engineering or similar.

• Sufficient academic skills and background to successfully complete a doctoral degree, and ability to fulfil the admission requirements of the SCIENCE doctoral program at University of Copenhagen.

• Experience with soil processes and environmental science.

• Experience with phosphorus cycling and chemistry will be an advantage

• Good skills in data management and analysis.

• Strong communication (excellent in written and oral English) and interpersonal skills.

• Experience with cross-disciplinary and/or multi-cultural collaboration will be an advantage.

As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications emphasis will also be laid on previous publications and relevant work experience.

Additionally, the successful candidate must meet the MSCA criteria:

• Early State Researcher: Be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctorate. This 4-year period is measured from the date of obtaining the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a doctorate, excluding military, parental, sick leave, etc.

• Mobility Rule: Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the hosting institution for more than 12 months in the last 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are exempt/excluded.

Terms of employment
The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.
Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.
The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 331,125 (approx. €43,750) including annual supplement (+ pension at a minimum DKK 53,811). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

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

Please include

  • Cover Letter, stating which PhD project you are applying for and detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • Acceptance Letter for the relevant MSc Programme at SCIENCE, if any
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any)
  • 1-3 reference letters (if any)

Reference letters must be uploaded by the applicant him/herself. The recruiting person must NOT obtain reference letters which content is not known to the applicant him/herself. This is against Danish law.

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

The deadline for applications is Sunday 13 June 2021, 23:59 +2

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science.

You can read more about the recruitment process at

For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor Associate Professor, Dorette, Department of Pant and Environmental Sciences, E-mail, Direct Phone: +4535331236.

General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available at


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Dorette Sophie Müller-Stöver


Application deadline: 13-06-2021
Employment start: 01-09-2021
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
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