Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology

Umeå University is one of Sweden’s largest institutions of higher education with over 35,000 students and 4,200 faculty and staff. We are characterised by world-leading research in several scientific fields and a multitude of educations ranked highly in international comparison. Umeå University is also the site of the pioneering discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic scissors - a revolution in genetic engineering that has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

At Umeå University, everything is nearby. Our cohesive campus environment makes it easy to meet, collaborate and exchange knowledge, which promotes a dynamic and open culture where we rejoice in each other's successes.

The Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics conducts research in computational mathematics, discrete mathematics, mathematical modelling and analysis, and mathematical statistics. Our teaching is conducted at all levels and includes mathematics, mathematical statistics and computational science. Among our partners are international research groups, academic institutions, public organizations and companies.

The Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics is opening a PhD position in mathematical modeling with a focus on modeling the evolution of multicellular life cycles. The general aim is to provide its holder with a possibility to earn a PhD degree in computational science with specialisation in mathematics. Apply no later than February 7 2019.

Project description
The evolution of multicellularity is considered a major transition for the evolution of life on earth that made possible significant increases in organismal complexity. Somehow single-celled organisms, who were successful in their own right, evolved to form new kinds of individuals composed of many cells, multicellular organisms. While multicellularity has evolved on dozens of independent occasions, these events occurred millions of years ago and are absent from the fossil record. Recent experiments, however, have made it possible to study this pivotal event in the lab by using microorganisms to evolve primitive multicellularity de novo. Such experimental systems provide excellent opportunities to test hypotheses about the conditions that govern major transitions and facilitate the evolution of additional forms of complexity.

The goal of this project is to develop mathematical models that marry theory with empirical results to uncover general principles of how life evolves to be complex. Useful modeling techniques include differential equations, network approaches, agent-based simulations, evolutionary analyses, and probabilistic models.

Admission requirements
Prerequisites includes 240 ECTS credits (swe. högskolepoäng) of higher education studies of which 60 ECTS credits should be on an advanced level (master level). In addition to these general requirements, the applicant is required to have completed at least 90 ECTS credits in computational science and engineering courses, of which at least 30 ECTS credits shall have been acquired at advanced level. Computational science and engineering courses refers to courses with major quantitative, statistical or computing science elements, such as courses in computing science, mathematics and mathematical statistics, and relevant courses in physics, biology, and chemistry. Applicants who in some other system either within Sweden or abroad have acquired largely equivalent skills are also eligible.

Candidates need to be skilled in both oral and written communication in English, and should be able to work independently as well as in collaboration with others. Applicants with a degree not from a Swedish university are encouraged to provide results obtained from GMAT (and/or GRE) and TOEFL tests if available. Candidates also need to have proficiency, but not necessarily documented, in working with computers and programming, e.g. in Matlab, Python, Julia, C++, etc. A good background in mathematics, optimization, differential equations, computer science, and/or programming is qualifying. Interest and knowledge of evolutionary biology, microbiology, and/or molecular biology is desirable but not necessary.

About the employment
As a PhD student you will primarily perform research and take courses on a graduate level. The position is time-limited to 48 months. The position may include teaching and other departmental work up to a maximum of 20 % in which case the position will be extended accordingly up to a maximum of 60 months. The employment starts in the autumn of 2019 or according to agreement.

The application should include:

  • a personal letter with a brief description of qualifications, research interests, motivations, and contact information
  • a curriculum vitae
  • authenticated copies of degree certificates and copies of relevant work such as master’s thesis or articles that you have authored or co-authored
  • contact information for at least two reference persons.

You should apply via our online recruitment system by February 7, 2019 at the latest. You may log in and apply via the link at the bottom of this page.

Further information
Further information is provided by Associate Professor Eric Libby, +46 73 4454671, You can also contact Head of Department Åke Brännström for additional questions at

Research at the Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics is conducted within mathematics, mathematical statistics and computational mathematics. Important cooperation partners include the Umeå Institute of Technology, the biological/forestry/medical departments, the Integrated Science Lab (Icelab), Umeå School of Business and Economics, the University Hospital, and industry. We provide education at all levels with a particular focus on engineering programs.

For more information see

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
Contract type Full time
First day of employment Autumn 2019 or according to agreement
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100%
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-2046-18
  • Eric Libby, Senior Lecturer, +46 73 4454671,
  • Åke Brännström, Head of Department, +46 90 7867862
Union representative
  • SACO, +46 90 7865365
  • SEKO, +46 90 7865296
  • ST, +46 90 7865431
Published 07.Dec.2018
Last application date 07.Feb.2019 11:59 PM CET

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