Early Stage Researcher (PhD Student) position in Ecotoxicity and Ecosystem Impact Modelling

Friday 07 Feb 20

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Apply no later than 29 February 2020
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DTU Management’s group for Quantitative Sustainability Assessment (QSA) is among the leading in the world in developing and applying life cycle assessment methodology to evaluate the environmental sustainability of products, technologies, and services. QSA offers an excellent research environment with around 25 international staff, postdocs, and PhD students.

The QSA research group of DTU and the Marie Skłodowska -Curie Innovative Training Network (MSCA-ITN) project “Best chemical risk assessment professionals for maximum Ecosystem Services benefit (PRORISK)” offer an Early Stage Researcher (PhD Student) position
“ESR 15 - Integrated risk assessment: from exposure through AOPs to ecosystem services”. 

PRORISK (www.prorisk-itn.eu) is a European Training Network funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 859891. The consortium comprises of 18 universities, research institutions, enterprises and partner organisations in 9 European countries and Canada creating a novel platform for training a network of Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in the field of advanced Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA). Research and training provided through PhD study, PRORISK training programme and secondments in international multidisciplinary intersectoral teams in academia, industry and regulatory bodies will enable ESRs to address exposure, ecotoxicology, ecosystem services, as well as assessment and modelling of risks and socio-economic impacts. The ESRs within PRORISK will gain synthetic skills allowing them to develop and implement innovative ERA concepts and tools to link the effects of chemicals at different levels of biological organization to ecosystem services and to determine the socio-economic values of related environmental impacts.

The position is in the research field of ecotoxicity and ecological impact modelling with focus on the following research topics:

  • To translate ecotoxicological effects from chemical exposure via different adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) into damages on ecosystems expressed in measures of genetic diversity.
  • To link ecosystem damages to ecosystem functions and ecosystem services related damages expressed in measures of functional diversity.
Responsibilities and tasks
You will contribute to advancing the field of ecotoxicological damage modelling using advanced methods and tools for ecotoxicity data analysis and structuring of ecosystem functions and services. 

This PhD project will focus on (1) translating ecotoxicological effects from chemical exposure via different outcomes into damages on ecosystems, and (2) linking ecosystem damages to ecosystem functions and ecosystem services related damages. Key activities will be:
  • Collecting, processing, and structuring ecotoxicological effect data from various sources
  • Categorizing and aligning adverse outcome pathways (AOP) for ecosystem organisms with ecosystem functions and ecosystem services at various spatial scales
  • Comparing and assessing different ecosystem effect metrics
  • Characterizing ecosystem damages for a wide range of chemicals released to the environment
  • Establishing a list of priority chemicals with respect to their relevance for ecotoxicological effects in a comparative assessment context
You will also assist in one or more of our university courses, and you will likely co-supervise bachelor and/or master thesis projects. You will become part of an energetic and dynamic research environment.

You will be employed and enrolled in the doctoral programme of the Department of Technology, Management and Economics at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Denmark. International collaborations and secondments are foreseen, namely with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in The Netherlands, with the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and with Consulteco s.r.o., a company operating in the field of consulting in chemistry and environmental services in the Czech Republic.

MSCA eligibility criteria
  • At the date of recruitment the applicants for the MSCA fellowship must have no PhD and less than 4 years of full-time equivalent research experience from the award of the degree that entitles them to undertake a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the applicant is to be recruited).
  • The applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Denmark for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.
These eligibility requirements are non-negotiable and ineligible applicants will not be considered. Eligible applicants can be of any nationality.

Candidates must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree in ecology, (eco)toxicology, environmental health, environmental engineering, biology, (environmental) chemistry or other relevant field with knowledge and experience in data analysis and ecological/chemical modelling research. Fluency in English (working language) is a requirement.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Associate Professor Peter Fantke in collaboration with the PhD co-supervisors. 

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

You will receive a contract of employment as a full-time researcher for the relevant period of their appointment, which will include applicable benefits in the host country. You complete a comprehensive personalized career development programme, with targeted training measures and participate in a range of network events. You will benefit from interdisciplinary cooperation and interaction within the network, providing you with the best preparation for a successful career in either academia or industry.

MSCA fellowships for ESRs provide salaries in line with H2020-MSCA-ITN-2019 call. Additional allowances for mobility and family (if applicable) are also provided. Further information is available on

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The period of employment is 36 months.

You can read more about
career paths at DTU here.  

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Peter Fantke, tel.: +45 4525 4452.   

You can read more about DTU Management at

Please submit your online application no later than 29 February 2020 (23:59 local time)Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include: 
  • Cover Letter, stating which PhD project you are applying for and detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project. Please indicate if you have applied for other PRORISK PhD fellowships (possible to apply up to three positions; indicate the preferences).
  • A detailed CV including technical and analytical skills and publications if applicable.
  • All academic level certificates (BSc and MSc) including university grades itemized by each course. Foreign documents should be sent as certified English translations.
  • A synopsis (abstract) of the BSc and MSc thesis if applicable, or any previous research project.
  • At least two professional referees (Name, address, telephone & email).
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

Deadline for applications is on 23 February 2020. A review of applications will run continuously as they are received. The short-listed applicants complying with the requirements will be invited for personal or Skype interviews foreseen in March-April 2020.

DTU Management conducts high-level research and teaching with a focus on sustainability, transport, innovation, and management science. Our goal is to create knowledge on the societal aspects of technology—including the interaction between technology and sustainability, business growth, infrastructure, and prosperity. Therefore, we explore and create value in the areas of management science, innovation and design thinking, business analytics, systems and risk analyses, human behavior, regulation, and policy analysis. The department offers teaching from introductory to advanced courses/projects at BSc, MSc, and PhD level. The Department has a staff of approximately 350. Read more here

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DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 11,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.