Postdoc Opportunity: Environmental DNA analyses using a Tree-of-Life approach, with Aarhus University

The Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Denmark, invites applications for a 2-year postdoc position in environmental DNA analyses. The position is available from 1st July 2019. Applications due 22 April 2019

Date published: 2019/03/26

Research area and project description
The use of environmental DNA (eDNA) is rapidly changing the way scientists obtain biological information on the living world, and we are continuously improving means and applications of molecular ecological analyses. As part of a research project funded by the Carlsberg foundation, we are seeking a highly-motivated postdoc to work with high-throughput eDNA analyses from a range of different environmental samples such as water, soil, plants and faecal samples collected along latitudinal gradients. Samples will be analysed using a Tree-of-Life metabarcoding framework in association with environmental variables to test fundamental assumptions about the distribution of biodiversity.
The project will also include experimental projects dedicated to study the origin, state and transport of eDNA in the aquatic environment, and test new sequencing technologies such as the Oxford nanopore for sequencing kilobase-long DNA fragments from eDNA samples. Studies will span from analyses of entire biological communities to population genetics of selected target species. There will also be opportunities for developing own research ideas related to environmental DNA and molecular ecology in collaboration with the group.

Qualifications and Specific Competences
Applicants must have a PhD degree or equivalent, or have submitted their PhD thesis for assessment before the application deadline. We seek a candidate that has a strong expertise in DNA laboratory work (preferably eDNA), as well as experience in field work. Skills in bioinformatics tools used in next-generation sequencing and statistical data analyses are preferable, hereunder experience with R. The candidate is also expected to have good collaborative skills and proven abilities to publish at a high international level as well as experience in project management. The successful candidate will also be responsible for the daily management of his/her research project in coordination with other members of the group, and will be actively involved in the training and co-supervision of other staff members and students.

Place of Employment and Work
This postdoc will be part of a new and expanding research group on environmental DNA led by Associate Professor Philip Francis Thomsen. The place of employment and work is Section for Genetics, Ecology and Evolution, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. More information about the people and research activities of the section can be found at

Starting date: July 1st 2019 (somewhat flexible).
Contact information
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact: Philip Francis Thomsen ([email protected])

Application procedure
Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants, including the main considerations emphasized during the selection process.

Formalities and salary range
Science and Technology refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities. 

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here.

If you're interested in this role, you should join our eDNA community group and connect with others working in this space. 

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