PhD fellow in phyllosphere fungal interactions

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD scholarship in phyllosphere fungal interactions commencing with start 1 January 2021, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment

The position is advertised in connection to a newly established multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional program, The MATRIX: “Microbiome Assisted Triticum Resilience In X-dimensions”, funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The main aim of this program is to address the taxonomic diversity and functional potential of the wheat phyllosphere microbiome. Today, more than one third of crop yields are lost due to abiotic and biotic stress factors, such as drought, salinity, pests and disease. In the MATRIX program several key microorganisms and regulatory mechanisms involved in wheat growth and protection against biotic and abiotic stresses will be identified. By combining new microbiome-assisted approaches with machine learning and predictive modelling the MATRIX aims to quantitate and predict microbiome-mediated changes and their effect on wheat resilience and productivity under various climate change scenarios. This can be used as a novel tool to improve future wheat yield management strategies. Read more about MATRIX here:

PhD Project description
The candidate will identify and functionally characterize the fungal part of the wheat leaf microbiome. Dependent on the chosen candidate interests and competencies the work can further focus on fungal-fungal, fungal-plant or fungal-bacterial interactions, functional traits, community ecology or fungal metabolomics or genomics. The candidate should expect to work with methodologies as meta-barcoding/genomics, growth and physiology/metabolome experiments and various fungal-plant assays. 

The candidate will engage in teaching and supervision and take courses in line with current regulations.   

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor, Rasmus Kjøller, Department of Biology,, Direct Phone: +45 41432331

Job description

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

  • To manage and carry through your research project
  • Attend PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Teach and disseminate your research
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad (see below)

Formal requirements
Applicants should hold an MSc degree in Biology or similar with good results and good English skills. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience.

The MSc degree must be with further specializations within one or more of the following: plant-associated microbiomes, plant-microbe interactions, plant pathology, experimental/molecular fungal biology, fungal genomics and gene annotations, fungal community ecology or other relevant research fields. Hands-on with statistics and graphical visualizations in the R environment is desirable. Lab experience with fungal cultures are likewise an asset.

The candidate is expected to be enthusiastic about working in an interdisciplinary academic environment conduction research and teaching at the highest international level. The position, therefore, requires a highly motivated candidates who is comfortable working in teams, have good interpersonal skills, as well as a collaborative and open mind-set. The candidate should expect internships in NIOO, Wageningen, the Netherlands and/or North Caroline state university, US as well as close collaborations with other MATRIX research groups in Copenhagen.

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

  • A one-page Cover Letter, explaining your motivation and background for applying for the 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)

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 28 September 2020, 23:59 GMT +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, Rasmus Kjøller, Department of Biology, E-mail:, Direct Phone: +45 41432331.

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.


Application deadline: 28-09-2020
Employment start: 01-01-2021
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Biology

Search all vacancies