CESE PhD fellowship in Science Education Research at IND

Professional Identities of Primary and Lower Secondary Science Teachers: Similarities, Differences, and Development Potentials


Department of Science Education
Faculty of SCIENCE

University of Copenhagen


We invite applicants for a PhD fellowship researching professional identities among science teachers in Danish primary and lower secondary school. The project is part of the Danish Science Education Academy (NAFA) and its research program: Center of Excellence in Science Education (CESE). This program announces PhD calls with a focus on research relevant to practice in the Danish primary and lower secondary education and/or teacher education. All CESE PhD calls are organized through collaboration between a Danish university college and a Danish university. CESE PhD candidates become a part of NAFA and are linked to a CESE research project. Read more about NAFA and the purpose of NAFA here: www.NAFA.nu.

Start date is expected to be January, 2025 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The research project

There is significant variation in how science teachers in Denmark perceive the role of science teaching and their role as teachers in educating primary and lower secondary school students. This variation stems from numerous factors that ultimately influence students' experiences and outcomes in science education. Therefore, understanding how teachers shape and develop their professional identity is crucial.

We seek candidate for an exciting research project focused on the professional identity of science teachers. The project aims to explore how professional identity develops and what impact in-service training and further education may have on science teachers. The project will provide insights into teachers' perception of their own teacher professionalism and the factors that have shaped them as science educators, both at individual and structural levels. This may involve examining perceived barriers and opportunities in science teaching, differences and similarities among teachers with a background in different science disciplines, and the importance of teacher collaboration for identity formation.

The project can be designed to include a range of methodologies, including biographical studies, anthropological research, surveys, and/or register-based studies, utilizing resources such as the teacher-student register (LER-Grundskole).

The scholarship is expected to be associated with existing activities in NAFA, with a focus on teacher in-service training. It may also be possible to include interventions part of the research project.

The final project design will be determined in consultation with the supervisors after the appointment.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for candidates with experience with science education in primary school or lower secondary school and/or teacher education and in-service training. Candidates with competencies in qualitative and/or quantitative research methods can apply. Proficiency in understanding and speaking Danish or another Scandinavian language will be preferred, as the PhD candidate will be conducting their research in a Danish school setting. Finally, candidates with previous experience in research dissemination and publication will be preferred.

Our group and research- and what do we offer?

The PhD candidate will be affiliated with an active research and development environment at the university college as well as with an active research environment at the university. The candidate will also become part of the PhD community under the Centre of Excellence in Science Education (CESE), where researchers and PhD students regularly meet for seminars and courses across University Colleges and universities in Denmark.

Your supervisors will be:

  • Associate professor Jan Sølberg, Department of Science Education, University of Copenhagen, jans@ind.ku.dk, +45 21697437 (principal supervisor).
  • Senior researcher and research leader, Birgitte Lund Nielsen, University College VIA, bln@via.dk, +45 28742176 (secondary supervisor)

The PhD programme is a three year full-time study within the framework of 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. 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 selected candidate will be employed at the University of Copenhagen. If the selected candidate has an existing permanent employment at a Danish University College, it will be possible to arrange to continue in this position while being enrolled as PhD student at the University of Copenhagen.

Terms of appointment and payment will be according 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

Applications should include a PhD project proposal that includes clear and relevant research questions and clear connection to the proposed research design and methodology to answer these questions. In the evaluation of the application, emphasis is placed on the relevance of the research question in relation to the research project within which it will be rooted as well as the originality of the project and the suggested research design and methodology. A further criteria is the project´s ability to relate the proposal to existing research. All applicants has to be aware of and take into concideration the general description of https://nafa.nu/wp-content/uploads/sites/46/2023/11/generelle-retninglinjer-til-cese-phd-opslag.pdf.

Your application including all attachments must submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  1. Motivated letter of application, including motivation for applying for the specific PhD project
  2. Proposal for a PhD project relating to the research area described above. The proposal may not exceed six-pages in length. Please use this template.
  3. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  4. Original diplomas for completed Bachelors  and Masters  education 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)

Application deadline: 18 September 2024 23:59 GMT +1

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 assessment committee. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment.

The assesment committee will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessment committee will conclude whether each applicant is qualified. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/.

Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in week 45.

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: https://www.science.ku.dk/phd/.

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: 18-09-2024
Employment start: 01-01-2025
Department/Location: Department of Science Education
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