Postdoc in Computational Veterinary Epidemiology with a focus on epidemic intelligence methodologies
We are looking for a motivated candidate for a 3-year research position as Postdoc with responsibility for development of stochastic and spatiotemporal animal disease spread models applicable for rapid risk assessments. The position is to be filled by 1 January 2024, or as soon as possible thereafter and is financed through the European Partnership on Animal Health and Welfare. You will be part of the new established Research Subgroup “Infectious Disease Epidemiology & Animal Health Economics (TIPTON)”, in the section: Animal Welfare and Disease Control, at the University of Copenhagen.
In a rapidly changing environment, national institutions in charge of animal and public health security can no longer rely only on traditional disease reporting mechanisms and risk assessment approaches that are not designed to recognize the emergence of new hazards. Epidemic intelligence encompasses all activities related to rapid risk assessments of unexpected health events including the risk of introduction of diseases via qualitative, semi-quantitative, and/or quantitative risk assessment approaches, with early identification of potential health hazards, and spread of disease by developing computational models to support national risk assessors and/or risk managers.
The newly established European Partnership on Animal Health and Welfare is financed by the European Commission. This means collaboration in a highly interdisciplinary and international consortium with 19 partners located in 13 countries working on Rapid Risk Assessment: Improvement of epidemic intelligence methodologies in Denmark and the EU.
The position is announced as a Postdoc in the Section for Animal Welfare and Disease Control (AWD) at University of Copenhagen. Employees in this section are involved in veterinary contingency tasks or research and capacity building projects, and work in collaboration projects with the primary livestock sector. These tasks and projects typically involve analysis of big and complex data, data management, risk assessment, statistical and/or simulation modelling of disease spread, impacts of mitigation measures, and associated economic evaluations. Furthermore, the employees in the epidemiology group in this section support projects in other sections at the Department. The new colleague will be assigned to the TIPTON Group (Infectious Disease Epidemiology & Animal Health Economics).
More information about the section and the group can be found here: https://ivh.ku.dk/forskning/dyrevelfaerd-og-sygdomsbekaempelse/
The successful candidate will develop quantitative risk assessment models as tools to quantify the probability of introduction, within-farm spread of pathogens and between-herd spread models for different animal diseases. This also includes modelling of transboundary spread of emerging or re-emerging diseases across different EU countries. These models will be used for rapid risk assessments for both endemic and epidemic/emerging infectious diseases relevant for intensive and extensive production systems, including standardization and harmonization of indicator-based and event-based monitoring and surveillance component data sources for risk assessment. Further, a dynamic matching procedure with variable spatial and temporal deviation will be necessary to allow robustness checks of the data matching and cleaning for rapid risk assessment from different surveillance databases. These require handling of big and complex datasets, development of computational models to quantify the relative importance of different transmission routes, allowing a deeper understanding of the disease spread and impact of mitigation practices on the introduction and spread of pathogens in and between the herds, and to demonstrate the value of improved quantitative risk assessment tools by quantifying the benefits in terms of rapid risk assessment preparedness.
The PostDoc will bear primary responsible for data science tasks including programming the quantitative risk assessment models by considering new hazards, heterogenous data sources, spread of diseases including transboundary spread of emerging or re-emerging diseases across different EU countries as well as models driven by climate and environmental conditions to reduce pathogen introductions and transmission, although assistance and guidance will be available from supervisors.
More specifically the PostDoc’s tasks will consist of:
- Data management with automated methods of making data that exists in different data formats (e.g., rss, text, PDFs) accessible
- Data science including standardization and harmonization of indicator-based and event-based monitoring and surveillance component data sources for risk assessment
- Data management for risk mapping including causal drivers for disease spread along with documentation, allowing re-use in other settings
- Development of mechanistic models which consider transmission dynamics of selected pathogens in space and time by considering and understanding the impact of mitigation measures on the introduction and spread of pathogens at farm and national level
- Project management, e.g. coordination of research activities in consultation with the other EU project partners
- Research, including publication/academic dissemination
- Share knowledge with society
Other tasks may arise during the appointment
Required qualifications and selection criteria
The applicant should hold the professional as well as personal skills and qualifications as stated below:
- A completed PhD degree in Computer science, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Applied Statistics, Animal Science, Veterinary Medicine or a similar area
- Strong programming skills in R (or other languages) including working with big and complex datasets
- Strong data management skills
- Experience with animal health data and quantitative risk assessment methods
- Experience with data driven animal disease spread models
- Experience using revision control systems (e.g. GitHub or GitLab repositories)
- Good communication skills in English (both oral and written)
- Good collaboration skills and team player abilities
Place of employment
The AWD Section is located on Frederiksberg Campus of University of Copenhagen. Our research environment is highly international and stimulating. We frequently organize seminars, workshops, summer schools with international speakers and have retreats with our international collaborators.
Terms of employment
The weekly working hours are on average 37 hours per week.
The position is a fixed-term position limited to a period of three years. The starting date is January 1, 2024, or after agreement.
Salary, pension and other conditions of employment are set in accordance with the Agreement between the Ministry of Taxation and AC (Danish Confederation of Professional Associations) or other relevant organisation. Currently, the monthly salary starts at 35,000 DKK/approx. 4,700 EUR (October 2021 level). Depending on qualifications, a supplement may be negotiated. The employer will pay an additional 17.1 % to your pension fund.
Foreign and Danish applicants may be eligible for tax reductions, if they hold a PhD degree and have not lived in Denmark the last 10 years.
The position is covered by the Job Structure for Academic Staff at Universities 2020.
For further information please contact Associate Professor Dr. Priv. Doz. Beate Conrady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Foreign applicants may find this link useful: www.ism.ku.dk (International Staff Mobility).
Your online application must be submitted in English by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. Furthermore, your application must include the following documents/attachments – all in PDF format:
- Motivated letter of application (max. one page).
- CV incl. education, work/research experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position.
- A certified/signed copy of a) PhD certificate and b) Master of Science certificate. If the PhD is not completed, a written statement from the supervisor will do.
- List of publications, clearly divided into peer reviewed journal papers and other papers
- If possible personal recommendations
- Relevant scientific works which the applicant wishes to be included in the assessment (up to 3 relevant publications)
Deadline for applications: 1 October 2023, 23.59pm CET
We reserve the right not to consider materials received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.
The further process
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the hiring committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an unbiased assessor. Once the assessment work has been completed each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself.
You can read about the recruitment process at https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/
The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.
Interviews are expected to be held in week 44 (the 30 October-3 November 2023)
The University of Copenhagen wish to reflect the diversity of society and encourage all qualified candidates to apply regardless of personal background.
Application deadline: 01-10-2023
Employment start: 01-01-2024 or as soon as possible thereafter
Working hours: Full time
Contact: Beate Conrady (email@example.com)
Department/Location: Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Section for Animal Welfare and Disease Control (AWD), Grønnegårdsvej 8, DK-1870 Frederiksberg Campus
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.