PhD fellowship in beneficial plant-microbe interactions

A PhD fellowship is available at the DynaMo Center, a Center of Excellence within plant biology funded by the Danish National Research Foundation ( The Center is located at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. The position commences 1 January 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of scientific environment
In our department, focus is on plants, microorganisms and the environment as a basis for sustainable production of food and other biological products. Research and teaching cover natural resources, agriculture, biotechnology and synthetic biology from the molecular level to the ecosystem level.

The PhD student will be based in the research group of Professor Barbara Ann Halkier, who recently received distinguished investigator grant of 10 mill from the Novo Nordic Foundation to decipher molecular mechanisms of root-microbe interactions from a plant perspective.

Project description
A biotechnological solution to sustainably increase food supply is to integrate beneficial microbes into agricultural production. Harnessing plant microbiome is regarded a cornerstone in the next green revolution. The root microbiome composition is largely determined by the soil inoculum, with a distinct contribution from the host. Our goal is to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms by which plants select microbial traits as well as the physiological significance of the establishment of these (beneficial) interactions.

The tasks will be diverse and include:

  1. Screening and identification of beneficial microorganisms for nutrient delivery and disease resistance in selected soils
  2. Screening chemical cues for establishment of beneficial plant-microbe interaction
  3. Mechanistic studies with Arabidopsis mutants
  4. Translation of the finding to Brassica crops.

We are seeking a competent, highly qualified, talented PhD student who is enthusiastic about the opportunity to advance his/her skills in plant-microbe interactions for improving plant health and nutrition. Outstanding candidates wishing to be trained in are cordially invited to apply.

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD student are to:

  • Manage and carry through your research project 
  • Publish in international peer-reviewed journals
  • Participate in conferences
  • Teach, supervise BSc and MSc students, and disseminate your research

Qualification requirements

  • A MSc in Biology-Biotechnology, Biology, Ecology, Agronomy or a closely relate field
  • A strong motivation for the application
  • Excellent written and spoken English

Key criteria for the assessment of candidates
Special importance will be attached to applicants having the following professional and personal qualifications:

  • Documented laboratory experience within molecular plant biology and/or molecular microbiology
  • Expertise and/or strong interest in beneficial plant microbe interaction
  • Experience with microbiome sequencing will be an advantage
  • Well-developed collaborative skills

Emphasis for selecting the successful candidate will laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience.

Contact: Professor Barbara Ann Halkier, email, phone (+45) 35 33 33 42.

Further information on the Department is linked at

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

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 up to DKK 430.569 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 73.627). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

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

Please include

  • Curriculum vita
  • Diplomas (exam scores, Master degree or equivalent)
  • Contact information for three reference persons

The deadline for applications is 1 November 2020 at 23:59 GMT +1.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee.

You can read about the recruitment process at

Interviews will be held on shortly after the deadline.


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: 01-11-2020
Employment start: 01-01-2021
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
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