Umeå University is one of Sweden’s largest institutions of higher education with over 37,000 students and 4,800 faculty and staff. We are characterised by world-leading research in several scientific fields and a multitude of educations ranked highly in international comparison. Umeå University is also the site of the pioneering discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic scissors – a revolution in genetic engineering that has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

At Umeå University, everything is nearby. Our cohesive campus environment makes it easy to meet, collaborate and exchange knowledge, which promotes a dynamic and open culture where we rejoice in each other’s successes.
PhD position in plant science with a focus on bioenergetics

A position as PhD-student is now available at the Department of Plant Physiology, within the project “Role of mitochondria during leaf senescence”. The expected starting date is February 2023 or according to agreement.

The Department of Plant Physiology (Umeå University, part of the Umeå Plant Science Centre, Sweden) invites applicants for a PhD position in plant biology. The expected starting date is February 2023 or according to agreement.

Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC) is one of the strongest research environments for basic plant research in Europe. Research at UPSC covers a wide range of disciplines in plant biology including ecology, computational biology, genetics, physiology, biochemistry, cell biology and molecular biology.  

Project description 

In eukaryotic cells, mitochondria have essential functions supporting the energy metabolism. In plants, and notably in leaves, mitochondria contribute to the production of ATP, provision of intermediates for biosynthetic pathways as well as to redox regulations. As metabolic hubs, their role in the cell adaptation to sub-optimal or stress conditions is crucial. However, our understanding of the role played by mitochondria to integrate and regulate the cell’s response to certain stresses remains incomplete, and a better characterization of the signalling and regulatory mechanisms controlling sub-cellular metabolism is necessary. 

The aim of the current project is to increase our understanding of mitochondrial functions in cellular metabolism, particularly during leaf senescence, and subsequent cell death. The main scientific approach will be based on the study of mutant and transgenic plants modified in specific metabolic pathways. The work will include molecular and biochemical approaches as well as physiological studies at the whole plant level. Applications of several -omics methods will be important and be made in collaboration with several facilities. 


To fulfil the general entry requirements for studies at third-cycle level, the applicant must have qualifications equivalent to a completed degree at second-cycle level, or completed course requirements of at least 240 ECTS credits including at least 60 ECTS credits at second-cycle level.

To fulfil the specific entry requirements to be admitted for studies at third-cycle level in Plant Science at Umeå Plant Science Centre, the successful candidate must have completed 90 ECTS relevant to the doctoral thesis project. Out of this, at least 30 ECTS have to be in a subject closely related to the research topic of the graduate program. 

Applicants who have acquired equivalent skills in some other educational system in Sweden or abroad are also eligible.

A relevant background is a degree in biology, molecular biology or biochemistry, preferably with a prior experience with plants. Experience from work with cell organelles, chloroplasts or mitochondria in particular, will be seen as a merit. 

The successful applicant is expected to have good ability to write and speak in English, creativity, power of initiative, independence, and ability to collaborate. Evaluations will be based on educational background, quality of master’s thesis, references, interviews, and the letter of intent.

Terms of employment

The employment is expected to result in a doctoral degree and the main assignment for the student is thus to be part of the research education, which includes participation in research but also taking relevant courses. Teaching and other departmental activities (up to a maximum of 20% time) are typically included as well. 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. 


You apply through our recruitment system Varbi on December 15, 2022 at the latest. The application can be written in English (preferably) or Swedish. 

The application should include:

  1. Letter of intent where you describe how your background is relevant for the project and why you are interested in becoming a PhD student in plant science (two pages maximum)
  2.  Certified curriculum vitae that includes information on previous education
  3.  Degree certificate and list of completed courses
  4. Copies of the master’s thesis, potential publications and other documents supporting the competence and suitability for the position
  5. Contact information for at least two reference persons. 

Documents should be sent electronically, in MS Word or PDF format, through the recruitment system Varbi.

The procedure for recruitment for the position is in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance (chapt. 12, 2 §) and the decision regarding the position cannot be appealed. 


If you have questions regarding the position, please contact Associate Professor Olivier Keech

We look forward to your application!

Admission: 2023-02-01 eller enligt överenskommelse


Apply before: 2022-12-15

Registration number: AN 2.2.1-1732-22

Union representative:

SACO: 090-7865365

SEKO: 090-7865296



Umeå University wants to offer an equal environment where open dialogue between people with different backgrounds and perspectives lay the foundation for learning, creativity and development. We welcome people with different backgrounds and experiences to apply for the current employment. We kindly decline offers of recruitment and advertising help.

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