PhD fellowship in Fertilization and Climate Change

The Department of Environmental Sciences, Section of Plant and Soil Science invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in Foliar N fertilization: A path to green agricultural production. The project is part of the research project “FoliarN”, which is financed by the Danish Research Foundation

Start date is expected to be 15-08-2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is an important greenhouse gas. About 70% of the N2O emissions comes

from agricultural fields as a consequence N fertilization.

Foliar fertilization refers to a strategy where liquid fertilizer is applied directly on the leaves of growing crops. As the foliar fertilizer minimizes contact with the soil where the N2O producing processes occur, foliar N fertilization has the potential to reduce N2O emissions. However, currently there is very little evidence for this.

The FoliarN project with which this PhD position is connected aims to understand how foliar fertilization affects the turnover of N in plants and in the soil and provide knowledge that can be used to design foliar fertilization strategies and fertilizers that result in reduced emissions of N2O.

The PhD project will design foliar N fertilizers and perform 15N labelling experiments with them to trace foliar fertilizers in plants parts and the soil and conduct trials that assess the ability of the fertilizers to

reduce N2O emissions when applied using different strategies. The PhD involves a study period in Claudia Wagner-Riddle group at University of Guelph in Canada.

Who are we looking for?
We are looking for candidates within the fields of plant, soil or environmental science. Applicants can have a background in Agricultural Science, Agricultural Engineering, Environmental Science or a related field.

Our group and research- and what do we offer?
The position will be located in the Soil Fertility research group, which focuses on soil fertility issues and environmental impacts related to sustainable agriculture with a special focus on nutrient cycling and climate change. Our research aims at a mechanistic understanding of soil nutrient and organic matter dynamics at both the level of micro-scale biogeophysical processes and at eco-system scales, in the pursuit of increased nutrient use efficiency, improved crop productivity and reduced environmental impacts from agriculture in the 21st century. The group is a part of the department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen.

We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment.

 We are located in Copenhagen, with a main campus in Frederiksberg and field trials at our experimental farm in Taastrup, 20 km from the main campus. Our research facilities include modern laboratories, growth chambers, greenhouses and experimental fields. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor , Sander Bruun, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, E-mail:, Direct Phone: 35333481.

The 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. 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.

The terms of employment and salary are in accordance to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). 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

We are looking for the following qualifications:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other relevant professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in the subjects related to the position
  • Good language skills

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. Your motivation for applying for the specific PhD project
  3. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  4. 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.
  5. Publication list (if possible)
  6. Reference letters (if available)

Application deadline:

The deadline for applications is Thursday 1 June 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.

Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held between 15 June and 1 July. 

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

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.


Sander Bruun


Application deadline: 01-06-2023
Employment start: 15-08-2023
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
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