PhD fellowship in Nature and Human Health Relations

Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management invites, in collaboration with VIA University College, applicants for a PhD fellowship in nature-based health promoting interventions in coastal land and sea areas. The project is part of the research project ‘Regions4Climate’, which is financed by EU/Horizon Europe.
Start date is (expected to be) August 1st or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project

The PhD project will investigate possible mental, physical and social health benefits  of nature-based interventions in green and blue spaces at Køge Bugt. Central to the PhD project is the concept of ‘Leave No One Behind’, and special focus will be on inclusion of marginalized and vulnerable groups. Overall, the PhD project consists of three main parts: 1. Development of a nature-based health promoting intervention at selected site(s) along Køge Bugt through a participatory-based process with the target groups, 2. Excecution/delivering of the intervention, and 3. Analysis of the intervention's possible impact on the participants’ health.

A nature-based health promoting intervention  takes place outdoors with connection to the natural environment, and can be characterized as complex, since it is composed of various interrelated elements that, in isolation or in combination, may generate the aimed effect of the intervention. Therefore, a mixed methods’ approach will be expected, where both quantitative and qualitative data will be collected and analysed.

Who are we looking for?
We are looking for candidates within the field(s) of psychology, physiotherapy, nursing, occupational therapy, or corresponding educational background. Applicants must have qualifications equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (two years). The applicant must have – or be able to acquire – adequate language skills in both Danish and English. Applicants can have a background from both research and practice. Competencies in the following areas are desirable:
-    Theoretical knowledge of how natural environments can offer opportunities for health promotion
-    Theoretical and/or practical experience of developing nature-based interventions
-    Experience with nature-based mindfulness interventions
-    Experience of conducting landscape analyses
-    Knowledge of participatory-based processes for development of interventions
-    Understanding of mixed methods’ research

Our group and research - and what do we offer?
The position is placed in the interdisciplinary research group Nature, Health & Design, which conducts research within a wide range of research trends on interactions between human health and the natural environment. The research group runs a full-scale laboratory, located in the Hoersholm arboretum, called Nature, Health & Design Lab. The lab consists of two settings: The Forest Therapy Garden Nacadia® and the Health Forest Octovia®. The groups research expertise provides evidence to guide policy makers, urban planners, landscape architects, therapists and other health professionals in translating gained knowledge into practice. The group is a part of Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. We are located in Copenhagen. 
In current PhD project  we collaborate with the interdisciplinary research programme Mind and Body in Mental Health, that carries out research in the field of complex interventions for training and supporting mental health and well-being. The group focuses on promoting mental health through behavioural mind-body interventions that incorporate body awareness, mindfulness, compassion and nature environments. Biomarkers are included together with these interventions to study mind-body interactions supporting their broader health promoting effects. This group is part of the Research Centre for Health and Welfare Technology, VIA University College, which is located in Aarhus.
We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment. 

Regions 4 Climate
The PhD position is embeddd in the wider Regions 4 Climate project. Regions 4 Climate is a transdisciplinary research and innovation project that explores the potential for climate adaptation and resilience building at regional level. Based on cross-sectoral strategies created by and for people, the project partners will collaboratively develop and implement novel  social, technological, digital, business, governance, health promoting and environmental solutions to reinforce adaptive capacity and minimise vulnerability to climate impacts. The project focuses on a total of 12 regions in Europe, of which Køge Bugt forms the Danish part. The PhD candidate is expected to contribute actively to the intersectoral collaboration, implementation and the network activities associated with the Regions 4 Climate project.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor, Dorthe Varning Poulsen, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, E-mail:, Direct Phone: +45 61423161.

Co-supervisors are: 
Docent and head of research, Jesper Dahlgaard, Research Centre for Health and Welfare Technology,  VIA University College, E-mail:, Direct Phone: +45 87552992
Professor, Ulrika K. Stigsdotter, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, E-mail:, Direct Phone: +45 40110801

The PhD programme 

A three year full-time study within the framework of the regular PhD programme (5+3 scheme), if you already have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master’s degree. 

Getting into a position on the regular PhD programme 

Qualifications needed for the regular programme
To be eligible for the regular PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. psychology, physiotherapy, nursing, occupational therapy. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database

Terms of employment in the regular programme 
Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years. 

Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant. 

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure. 

Responsibilities and tasks 
•    Carry through an independent research project under supervision
•    Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
•    Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
•    Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
•    Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
•    Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

Application and Assessment Procedure
 Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below. 

Please include:  
1.    Motivated letter of application (max. one page) 
2.    Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position 
3.    Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted. 
4.    Publication list (if possible)
5.    Reference letters (if available)

Application deadline: 
The deadline for application is 10 April 2023, 23:59 GMT + 2

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

The further process 
After deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment. 

The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at 

Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in week 20-21

For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website:
The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 


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: 10-04-2023
Employment start: 01-08-2023
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Institut for Geovidenskab og Naturforvaltning

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