The Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Section for Plant Biochemistry, invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in Anti-Nutrient Engineering in Legumes. The PhD project is part of a research project aimed at the biotechnological reduction of phytate and condensed tannins levels in faba beans, which is financed by the Novo Norsidk Foundation (NNF). Start date is 01 October 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project
Faba bean is a protein crop with high yield potential under cold, northern climates. Its seeds accumulate high levels of protein, antioxidants, and micronutrients (e.g. iron & zinc), making it an ideal crop for inclusion in plant-based food systems in Scandinavia. However, faba bean seeds also accumulate high levels of condensed tannins and phytic acid, which are anti-nutrients that have a negative impact on protein digestibility and micronutrient bioavailability.

The present PhD project is part of a larger project aimed at the biotechnological reduction of these anti-nutrients in faba bean seeds without affecting the antioxidant capacity of the seeds or the agronomic performance of the plants. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with the research group of Stig Uggerhøj Andersen at Aarhus University and the Traitomic business unit of the Carlsberg Research Laboratory.

Who are we looking for?
We are looking for candidates with a solid background in biotechnology who wish to apply their skills to improve crop nutrition. Applicants must have a degree in biochemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology, or similar. Valuable skills include handling transcriptomics datasets for biosynthetic gene selection as well as previous experience with faba bean.

Our group and research – what do we offer?
The successful applicant will join the Geu-Flores group, which specializes in the biosynthesis and transport of alkaloids in plants, including quinolizidine alkaloids in lupins and favism-causing agens in faba bean.

The group is a part of the Section for Plant Biochemistry, which hosts several research groups working on plant natural product biosynthesis, including cyanogenic glucosides, diterpenoids, and triterpenoids. The Section belongs to the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, which hosts eight Sections spanning from molecular biology to crop science and environmental chemistry.

We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment. Our research facilities include modern laboratories, plant growth facilities, and a Metabolomics Platform hosted in the Section.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor Fernando Geu-Flores, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences,, direct phone: +45-60571982.

Qualifications needed for the PhD programme
To be eligible for the PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. biochemistry, molecular biology, or biotechnology. For information of eligibility of completed programmes,

Terms of employment in the PhD programme
Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The terms of employment and salary are in accordance to the agreement between the Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Responsibilities and tasks

  • Carry out an independent research project under supervision 
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

We are looking for the following qualifications:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other relevant professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Excellent English language skills

Application and Assessment Procedure

Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  2. Concise project proposal (max. one page)
  3. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  4. Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  5. Publication list (if possible)
  6. Reference letters (if available)

Application deadline:

The deadline for applications is  Wednesday 13 July 2022, 23:59 GMT+2.

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

The further process
After deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment.

The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment.

Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in the week 29+30 July 2022. 

For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Fernando Geu-Flores


Apply now

Application deadline: 13-07-2022

Employment start: 01-10-2022

Working hours: Full time

Department/Location: Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences

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