Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in genetic, agronomic and nutritional characterization of old pea cultivars. The project is part of the research project “PEAS & LOVE”, which is financed by the Organic RDD programme under GUDP. Start date is expected to be 01.02.2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project: There is an increasing demand for local, high-quality and well-tasting organic plant-based food. Pea is a promising candidate as a protein crop and is a valuable crop in organic farming creating resilient crop rotations, providing nitrogen input through nitrogen fixation and increasing soil fertility. Still, peas grown for direct human consumption is limited. The target of the project is to realize the immense potential of old pea cultivars for consumption thereby making organic high-quality and well-tasting peas available for the consumers and to secure a profitable and stable production for the organic farmer.

From a unique collection of old pea cultivars, the most promising cultivars will be selected based on genetics, morphology, nutrition and taste. The PhD project will focus on the GxExM effects on crop yield and quality. Molecular diversity data will be gathered to characterize each lineage. In a combination of greenhouse and field studies, detailed studies of root growth and intercropping systems will reveal the potential for yield stability also under abiotic stresses. Furthermore the effects of low nitrogen organic fertilizer amounts on nitrogen fixation, plant quality and soil fertility will be investigated. The results will be discussed in the light of genetic diversity and realtionships among pea lineages.

Who are we looking for?
We are looking for candidates within the field(s) of plant science, agronomy, biology or similar. Applicants can have a background in topics like crop physiology, analytical chemistry, production systems or molecular genetics.

Our group and research- and what do we offer?
The PhD will be a collaboration between three different research groups, Belowground Crop Ecology, Plant Nutrients and Food Quality, and Plant Diversity and Ecology representing expertice in the different aspects of the project. 

In the research group Belowground Crop Ecology we aim to develop more sustainable cropping systems including legumes with improved yield stability as a protein source for food and feed. We provide novel knowledge on the root systems of forage and grain legumes and the significance for more climate-smart systems. In the Plant Nutrients and Food Quality group we investigate the impacts of management practice and fertilization strategy on the nutritional value of plant-based foods from various plant production systems. Finally, in the Plant Diversity and Ecology group we work with molecular methods to identity  plant biodiversity, construct phylogeny and characterize genetic resources for future breeding.

The groups are a part of  Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. We are located in Copenhagen at Frederiksberg Campus as well as at Taastrup Campus outside Copenhagen.

We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment. Our research facilities include modern laboratories, greenhouses and field facilities.

Principal supervisor isAssociate Professor Dorte Bodin Dresbøll, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences,, +45 35333452. Co-supervisors are Associate Professor Conny Bruun Asmussen Lange and Associate Professor Kristian Holst Laursen. 

The PhD programme

Qualifications needed
To be eligible for the regular 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. MSc Agriculture, MSc Biology or similar educations. For information of eligibility of completed programmes.

Terms of employment in the regular 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 Finance 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 through an independent research project under supervision 
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTxS / 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
  • Relevant teaching experience
  • Other relevant professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in plant based food, protein crops, analytical chemistry, crop physiology and molecular diversity below species level.
  • Good 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. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  3. 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.
  4. Publication list (if possible)
  5. Reference letters (if available)

Application deadline:

The deadline for applications is Tuesday 15 November 2022, 23:59 GMT +1. 

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 and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in week 50+51  December 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.



Dorte Bodin Dresbøll


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