Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology

Umeå University is one of Sweden’s largest higher education institutions with over 37,000 students and about 4,700 employees. The University offers a diversity of high-quality education and world-leading research in several fields. Notably, the groundbreaking discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was made here. At Umeå University, everything is close. Our cohesive campuses make it easy to meet, work together and exchange knowledge, which promotes a dynamic and open culture.

The ongoing societal transformation and large green investments in northern Sweden create enormous opportunities and complex challenges. For Umeå University, conducting research about – and in the middle of – a society in transition is key. We also take pride in delivering education to enable regions to expand quickly and sustainably. In fact, the future is made here.

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Are you fascinated by environmental issues and want to work with sustainable development? The Department of Ecology and Environmental Science at Umeå University, Sweden, invites applicants for a PhD position in Environmental science, with a focus on sustainable mining in the Arctic. The position is expected to start in 1st of September 2022 or according to agreement. Application deadline is 7th of June, 2022.

Project description
The mining industry plays an important role for the supply of essential metals, but mining is also associated with negative environmental effects and societal controversies. This is especially true in arctic environments in northern Sweden, where also a large number of abandoned, current and potential future mines are located. In order to reach more sustainable mining, we need to account for the environmental impact. Although authorities and industry routinely use biological indices to monitor the state of the environment, they lack guidelines to assess the ecological status of mining-impacted environments. This PhD-project aims to not only assess the ecological consequences in the Arctic, but also develop frameworks and guidelines for sustainable mining that can be applied on a larger spatial scale. The PhD-student will focus on testing, applying, and expanding currently used biomonitoring tools in aquatic environments and in particular their reliability in mining-impacted ecosystems. The project involves fieldwork in the Swedish Arctic, collection and identification of macroinvertebrates and targeted experiments, and the project also provide an opportunity to engage with stakeholders responsible for water management. 

The PhD-student will be part of an interdisciplinary environment, and be affiliated to both EMG as well as the Arctic Graduate School with focus on Sustainable Development. For more information about the research school:

Work tasks
We are inviting applicants for a PhD-position within the above project. The position runs over four years and is based at Umeå University. The details of the position can be tailored by the student’s specific interests, but should include monitoring of the ecological status in mining-impacted environments with specific emphasis on sustainable mining. The student is expected to participate in fieldwork, collect and identify macroinvertebrates, perform experiments and actively participate in the research school.  

The supervisor will be Dr. Åsa Berglund, with co-supervisors Dr. Christian Bigler and Dr. Ryan Sponseller, all employed at EMG. 

To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level the applicant is required to have completed a second-cycle degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are at second-cycle level, have an equivalent education from abroad (for example a Master’s degree), or have equivalent qualifications.

To fulfil the specific entry requirements to be admitted for studies at third-cycle level within the subject of environmental science, the applicant is required to have completed courses within a first cycle subject relevant to environmental science comprising at least 120 credits. At least one course at second-cycle level in a subject that is central to the doctoral student's planned specialization shall have been completed, as well an independent piece of work (degree project) with relevant specialization of at least 15 credits.

The recruitment procedure for the position is in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen Chapter 5 and 7). The requirements should be met at the time of acceptance to doctoral studies. 

We are looking for a person with experience and interest in ecology or ecotoxicology with special interest in anthropogenic disturbances, environmental problems and the Arctic. We expect an academic background in Ecology, Ecotoxicology, Environmental Science (with emphasis on natural sciences), or related fields. An additional requirement includes a driving license for cars.

Merits include specific knowledge related to environmental effects of pollutants in general and metal contamination in particular, aquatic ecosystems, sustainable development, as well as experience with ecological fieldwork. Additional desirable merits include background training in statistics and practice in R, training in macroinvertebrate and diatoms identification. The successful applicant should also have good communication skills in English, creativity, power of initiative, independence, good interpersonal skills, and the ability to collaborate. 

Evaluations will be based on the application, references, and interviews. 

Terms of employment 
The employment is expected to result in a doctoral degree and the main assignment for the doctoral student is thus to be part of the research education, which includes participation in the described research project but also relevant course-work. Teaching and other departmental work (up to a maximum of 20%) can be included. The employment is limited to four years at full time or up to five years if teaching and other departmental work is performed. The salary is fixed according to the established salary level for doctoral students. 

How to apply 
You apply through our recruitment system on 7 June, 2022 at the latest. The application, written in English or Swedish, should include: 

A short (max 2 pages) description of why you are interested in and suitable for the position CV Certified copies of degrees and certificates from higher education List of completed university courses and the grades Copy of degree thesis and possibly other scientific publications Names and contact information of three reference persons  

The documents should be in MS Word or PDF-format. 

If you have questions regarding the position, please contact Åsa Berglund, 

The Department of Ecology and Environmental Science (EMG) is both a research and teaching department situated within the Umeå University campus. The department has approximately 120 staff members, of which 24 are PhD students. For more information:

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment According to agreement
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-838-22
  • Åsa Berglund,
Union representative
  • SACO, 090-7865365
  • SEKO, 090-7865296
  • ST, 090-7865431
Published 09.May.2022
Last application date 07.Jun.2022 11:59 PM CEST

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