PhD fellowships in Plant Nutrition and Nano-fertilization

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering two PhD scholarships in Plant Nutrition and Nano-fertilization, commencing 01.01.2021 and 01.03.2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment
The Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences conducts fundamental research and has a strong focus on applying basic science to solve real world challenges, primarily within the plant, soil and environmental sciences. Research and teaching cover natural resources, agriculture, biotechnology and synthetic biology from the molecular level to the ecosystem scale.

The Plant Nutrition research group focuses on nutrient acquisition and utilization by higher plants and on the functionality of mineral elements in plant metabolism to support productivity and lower the environmental impacts. Our overall goal is to increase nutrient use efficiency by contributing to development of new crop genotypes and fertilization strategies, the latter incorporating new tools for assessing the nutritional status of plants and soils. 

The successful candidates will be working in the Plant Nutrition research group, which currently is composed of 21 members. Professor Søren Husted, in close collaboration with relevant research group members, will supervise the projects. The research environment is ambitious, friendly and international, boasting scientists and students with diverse academic backgrounds such as: plant science, chemistry and physics. Our research laboratories are located in central Copenhagen at the Frederiksberg Campus. Copenhagen ranks among the most livable cities in the world and has several times been voted the number one capital in quality-of-life surveys.

Project description
An inefficient use of fertilizer phosphorus (P) has over the past 75 years resulted in an enormous accumulation of P in agricultural soils, but with an inadequate availability to crops due to chemical fixation and microbial immobilization of orthophosphates (Pi). This calls for an acute rethinking of P management in agriculture to ensure a more sustainable use of P. The proposed projects will improve nutrient use efficiency of P by establishing the scientific basis for development of a new generation of nanosized and functionalized P fertilizers with a much-improved bioavailability to crops.

The basic physicochemical properties of mineral P will be manipulated through nanosizing and by carefully changing the basic surface properties to reduce soil fixation, trigger cellular internalization and target the delivery of P to specific sub-cellular compartments to maintain P dependent metabolism.

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
  • Work for the department

Formal requirements
Applicants should hold an MSc degree in Plant Science with excellence in chemistry 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.

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, highlighting relevant qualifications and motivation to become a PhD student.
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • 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 08.10.2020, 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 Professor Søren Husted,

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: 08-10-2020
Employment start: 01-01-2021
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
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