Ph.d fellow in Forensic Pathology

The Department of Forensic Medicine, Section of Forensic Pathology and Clinical Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a Ph.D- scholarship commencing 01.03.2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Project description

The overall aim of the PhD project is to create and test a model for a diagnostically expanded medico-legal external examination (MLEE), focusing specifically on whether the methods post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT) and fast-track toxicology analyses (FTA) can qualify the decisions regarding the need for a medico-legal autopsy?

The objective of implementing the use of these supplementary diagnostic methods at the MLEE is to increase the diagnostic accuracy regarding the estimation of Manner of Death (MoD) and Cause of Death (CoD) and further to qualify the medical recommendation to perform a medicolegal autopsy (MLA) at the MLEE. Furthermore, a standardized model to be used in a MLEE setting with additional PMCT and FTA will be developed and tested in a similar setting at the Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway.

This PhD project will focus on the following aims:

  1. To examine the diagnostic accuracy and yield of adding PMCT and FTA to the MLEE regarding the estimation of MoD and CoD in non-traumatic cases, including development of a model for a standardized use of the additional diagnostic methods at the MLEE. This part of the project will be retrospective based on a national COVID-vaccination cohort from the three Sections of Forensic Pathology in Denmark.
  2. To map the needs and expectations of the relevant stakeholders regarding the traditional MLEE opposed to a MLEE model with additional diagnostic methods, PMCT and FTA. The method used will be qualitative with semi-structured interviews of stakeholders.

This will be a national, retrospective autopsy-based study in collaboration between the three Sections of Forensic Pathology in Denmark. The study will involve a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the three Sections of Forensic Pathology in Denmark, The Section of Forensic Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, researchers from the Division of Laboratory Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway and researchers from DEFACTUM, research Unit on Social, Health and Workforce, Region Midtjylland, Denmark



Associate professor, Ph.D. Christina Jacobsen, Section of Forensic Pathology and Clinical Forensic Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health Science at University of Copenhagen

Forensic Pathologist, Ph.D. Sara Larsen, Section of Forensic Pathology and Clinical Forensic Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health Science at University of Copenhagen

Professor, Ph.D. Niels Lynnerup, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health Science at University of Copenhagen


Description of scientific environment

The section of Forensic pathology carries out medico-legal autopsies and clinical forensic examinations including age estimations for the judiciary and other public authorities. Based on this casework the section has a lot of developmental and scientific work within the fields of applied health research and disease and accident prevention. The section of Forensic pathology and clinical forensic medicine is one of three sections at the Department of Forensic Medicine (University of Copenhagen) carrying out research and teaching assignments according to ordinary university rules.  The section has a wide range of collaboration with other fields – e.g., Police, Danish Patient Safety Authority, clinical departments and other university departments.

The section has about 80 employees, including 1 professor, 3 associate professors, 20 forensic doctors, administrative staff, 6 PhD students, 3 laboratory technicians and a number of thesis students. The department is equipped with modern instruments, including an in-house CT-scanner Siemens and IT facilities. The section is accredited to ISO 17020.   


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

  • To finalize the research project protocol, 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, specifically the Division of Laboratory Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway
  • Work for the department


Formal requirements of applicants
We are seeking highly motivated applicants with an MSc degree or similar in medicine, or related fields with the following competences:

  • Medical doctor with experience in the subspecialty forensic pathology
  • Epidemiology and statistics
  • Fluency in written and oral Danish
  • Good oral and written English competences

 It will be highly advantageous to have one or more of the following qualifications:

  • Experience with Medico-legal external examinations
  • Knowledge of the estimation of Cause of Death and Manner of Death as used in the Death certificate
  • Experience with diagnostic post-mortem Computed Tomography scanning
  • Hands-on experience with Forensic Pathology
  • Experience with scientific work
  • Publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals


Terms of employment

The employment as a PhD fellow is full time (37 working hours per week in average) and for 3 years. The start date is 1st of March 2024, or after agreement.

The employment is conditioned upon the applicant’s success­ful enrolment as a PhD student at the Graduate School at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The PhD study must be completed in accordance with The Ministerial Order on the PhD programme (2013) and the Faculty’s rules on achieving the degree.

Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the agree­ment between the Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary starts at approximately 28,900 DKK/Roughly 3,800 EUR (October 2023 level) plus pension.


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

General information about PhD studies at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available at the Graduate School’s website:


Application procedure
Your application must be submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. The application must include the following documents in PDF format: 

1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)

2. CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position

3. Certified copy of original Master of Science diploma and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in other 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. As a prerequisite for a PhD fellowship employment, your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree. We encourage you to read more in the assessment database: Please note that we might ask you to obtain an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science

4. Publication list (if possible)


Application deadline:  10 December 2023, 23.59pm CET


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 the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the hiring committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an unbiased assessor.

The assessor makes a non-prioritized assessment of the academic qualifications and experience with respect to the above-mentioned area of research, techniques, skills and other requirements listed in the advertisement.


Once the assessment work has been completed each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself.


You find information about the recruitment process at:


The applicants will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.


The University of Copenhagen wish to reflect the diversity of society and encourage all qualified candidates to apply regardless of personal background. 


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: 10-12-2023
Employment start: 01-03-2024
Department/Location: Department of Forensic Medicine

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