PhD fellowship in Avian Influenza epidemiology

We are offering a PhD fellowship in Avian Influenza Modelling at the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen commencing 1 July 2024 or as soon as possible hereafter.

Our group and research
The Section for Animal Welfare on Disease Control performs research in the areas of infectious diseases and animal welfare, based on the disciplines epidemiology, ethology and bioethics, and employs a large group of PhD students, Postdocs, junior and senior scientists and Professors. As a PhD student, you will join the avian influenza epidemiology subgroup in the section for Animal Welfare and Disease Control (https://ivh.ku.dk/english/research/animal-welfare-and-disease-control/avian-influenza-epidemiology/ ) and you will be working with a team of epidemiologists, virologists and microbiologists at KU and SSI, working with avian influenza in Denmark. In this project, the PhD student will develop skills to investigate transmission dynamics of avian influenza in Denmark, including investigating potential vaccination strategies for poultry. Methods from classical statistics, spatial statistics, machine learning and simulation modelling may be used as necessary to meet the objectives.

Project description

Since the autumn, 2020, Denmark, as well as most countries in Europe, has experienced more outbreaks of avian influenza than ever before, in wild birds, in small hobby flocks and in large poultry farms with high levels of biosecurity. In every season, we have observed changes in the epidemics, including new virus genotypes or subtypes, new target species among the wild birds, and changes in seasonal patterns. The virus leads to high mortality in the farms, challenging animal welfare as well as the economy of the farmer and of the sector, due to trade losses. Therefore, additional research is needed on modelling the spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza and investigating the effect of protective measures in poultry flocks. With that purpose, we will launch the project ENIGMA2: "Early WarNInG SysteM for Avian Influenza - part 2”. The aim of the project is to build upon recently developed models and available data to increase knowledge of the ongoing avian influenza epidemic across Europe, and in particular provide research-based tools to evaluate the risk of outbreaks in wild birds and poultry farms. In the PhD project, you will focus on identifying optimal vaccination strategies in poultry using epidemiological methods. Other parts of the ENIGMA2 project will focus on transmission through migratory birds, and biosecurity on poultry farms, and close collaboration between each part will be expected. Combined, these parts will provide epidemiological expertise to expand the research field further, as well as inform decision makers through the veterinary contingency work.

Principal supervisor is: Senior Researcher Carsten Kirkeby, ckir@sund.ku.dk Tel: +45 35 33 72 15.

Co-supervisors: Associate Professor Lene Jung Kjær and Associate Professor Anette Boklund.

Start:                  1 July 2024

Duration:          3 years as a PhD student

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD student at SUND are:

  • Carrying through an independent research project under supervision.
  • Completing PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approximately 30 ECTS points.
  • Participating in active research environments including a stay at another research team.
  • Obtaining experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Teaching and disseminating your knowledge.
  • Writing a PhD thesis on the grounds of your project

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants
Applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree related to the subject area of the project, e.g. veterinary medicine, animal science, systems biology, quantitative ecology, applied statistics, mathematics, physics or any other relevant field. Please note that your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (two years).

Other important criteria are:

  • The grade point average achieved
  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Previous publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other professional activities
  • A curious mind-set with a strong interest in data analysis and disease control
  • Language skills

Place of employment

The place of employment is at the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment.

Terms of employment
The average weekly working hours are 37 hours per week.

The position is a fixed-term position limited to a period of 3 years. The start date is 1 July 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 28,993 DKK/Roughly 3,890 EUR (October 2023 level) plus pension.

Questions
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: https://healthsciences.ku.dk/phd/guidelines/

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: https://ufm.dk/en/education/recognition-and-transparency/find-assessments/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:  Sunday 14/ 04 2024, 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: https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/

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

Interviews are expected to be held in week 20-21.

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

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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.

Contact

Carsten Thure Kirkeby
E-mail: ckir@sund.ku.dk

Info

Application deadline: 14-04-2024
Employment start: 01-07-2024
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences
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