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.

Are you interested in learning more? Read about Umeå university as a workplace

At the Department of Physics, strong and expanding research is conducted in several different research subjects, e.g. organic electronics, nanotechnology, photonics, space physics and theoretical physics. The department is part of the Chemical Biological Centre at Umeå University. We have a strong focus on interdisciplinary research and excellent access to modern instrumentation and infrastructure for analysis.

The Department of Physics at Umeå University (  conducts strong research in the areas of space physics, condensed matter physics, nanotechnology, photonics, and theoretical physics. We announce a PhD position for a project focusing on the magnetosphere-interior coupling at planet Mercury using numerical simulations.  Last day to apply is April 15, 2023.  Starting date is September 1, 2023, or by agreement.

Project description
The ‘Space Plasma Physics’ group at Umeå University is looking for a brilliant PhD candidate interested in performing research on magnetosphere-interior coupling at planet Mercury using numerical simulations. The PhD project is primarily based on computer simulations and the student is supposed to combine data analysis from a kinetic plasma model with the analysis of data collected by NASA’s MESSENGER and ESA/JAXA BepiColmbo spacecraft.

Mercury is a fundamentally unique object in the solar system. It possesses a weak global magnetic field internal origin, and in consequence, a small magnetosphere much smaller than the magnetosphere of Earth. Due to the proximity of Mercury to the Sun, the magnetosphere of Mercury is subject to the most intense solar wind flux and ferocious space weather among all the planets in the solar system. Moreover, Mercury has a very large electrically conducting iron-rich core that occupies a much higher fraction of the planet’s mass and volume than do the cores of other planets in our solar system. Therefore, electromagnetic induction effects in the planetary interior play a more prominent role in the small magnetosphere of Mercury compared to any of its companions. The purpose of the PhD project is to provide a comprehensive understanding on the complex magnetosphere-interior coupling at Mercury, and to explore the dynamics of this coupled system during extreme solar events (e.g., Coronal Mass Ejections) using state-of-the-art hybrid model of plasma.

The project foresees ample collaborative opportunities with international research groups, including the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF, Rome), University of Michigan (USA), and the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF, Kiruna).

The project is financed by the Swedish National Space Agency.

Competence requirements
To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level you are required to have completed a second-cycle level degree or completed course requirements of at least 240 ECTS credits. The recruitment procedure will follow the Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen). Prerequisites include 240 ECTS credits (högskolepoäng) of higher education studies, of which 60 should be on an advanced level (Master’s level), or equivalent. In addition to these requirements, 120 ECTS need to be in physics. The requirements do not need to be fulfilled at the time of application but only at the enrollment. Fluency in English is mandatory. 

We are looking for a highly motivated, goal-oriented and responsible candidate who is passionate about developing as an individual scientist as well as a space physics research team member. A strong interest in space physics is a prerequisite for you to thrive as a doctoral student in this project, and you must have an educational background that corresponds to the project's topic. In order to succeed as a PhD student, you must be creative and devoted to work. You must also have good interpersonal skills, be resourceful, and have a high degree of independence. Willingness to work in an inter-cultural, international, and diverse group is fundamental
Candidates should have documented background in one or more of the following topics: 
·        electrodynamics
·        statistical physics
·        fluid dynamics
·        plasma physics
·        space physics
Previous experience or knowledge the following areas are also required:
 ·        Data analysis
·        Programming (e.g. Python, Matlab, C, C++)
·        Written and spoken English

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 to take relevant courses. 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. The employment starts in 1 September 2023 or according to agreement.

The application
The application should contain:
1.          A cover letter with summary of research interests and motivation relevant for the position (max. 1 page)
2.          Curriculum Vitae.
3.          Certified copies of relevant degree certificate(s) translated to English or Swedish. 
4.          Transcripts with grades, with English or Swedish translation. Note that for international (extra-EU) applicants the grading system should be explained in brief.
5.          Copies of student theses and publications (if any)
6.          Names and contact information of at least one reference person.

More information
For further information contact the Principal Investigator of the project, Dr. Shahab Fatemi, 

You apply via our e-recruitment system Varbi. The deadline for applications is April 15, 2023. Log in and apply via the button at the bottom of the page. All documents should be uploaded in pdf format. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for online interviews within one week after the call deadline.

We look forward to receiving your application!

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment September 1, 2023, or by agreement
Salary According to a local agreement for PhD students
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-221-23
  • Shahab Fatemi, 0980-79106
Union representative
  • SACO, 090-7865365
  • SEKO, 090-7865296
  • ST, 090-7865431
Published 02.Feb.2023
Last application date 15.Apr.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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