The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 56 000 students and 6 600 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future. Doctoral position in biology

At the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences (BioEnv) we have teaching and research activities that stretch from the alpine ecosystem, through forests, cultivated land and streams, all the way into the marine environment. In these environments we study different levels of biological organisation from genes, individuals, and populations, to communities and ecosystems. We work within ecology, evolution, physiology, systematics, and combinations of these fields to understand the impact of natural and anthropogenic changes of the environment.

The department is placed at three different localities: in Gothenburg Botanical garden, at Medicinareberget in Gothenburg and at Kristineberg Center in Fiskebäckskil. The current position is placed at Gothenburg Botanical garden. General information about being a doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg can be found on the university’s doctoral student pages. 

Project description

Climate warming is happening much faster in Arctic and alpine regions than the global average, yet we are only beginning to understand the consequences of this rapid change for tundra ecosystems. The overall aim of this PhD project is to understand how this rapid warming will impact tundra plant communities and the functioning of tundra ecosystems. The PhD student will use reciprocal transplant experiments in the field and common garden experiments in environmental chambers to explore how local adaptation to temperature and other environmental conditions might influence the ability of Arctic plant species to adapt to or shift their ranges in response to climate warming.

In addition, the outcome of the project will contribute to our understanding of which environmental conditions influence Arctic plant phenology, and how future warming might lead to an extended growing season and/or an increase in the productivity of Arctic vegetation. The project will likely involve a combination of field work at multiple Arctic locations as well as work in the greenhouses and environmental chambers located in the home department.

The student will be hosted in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Anne Bjorkman. There will be ample opportunity for collaboration with other researchers in the Biological & Environmental Sciences and Earth Sciences departments at the University of Gothenburg, as well as at the University of Edinburgh, University of British Columbia, and University of Colorado.


The main task is to conduct the PhD thesis work under supervision, which includes development of the PhD student’s methodological experience, analytical skills, as well as theoretical depth and breadth. Techniques used within the project include transplant/common garden experiments, quantitative ecology (e.g., hierarchical modeling) and possibly molecular methods.

The studies will be conducted both in the field and in environmental chambers at the home department. Shorter periods may also be spent as field work in northern Sweden, Greenland, Svalbard, Canada or another Arctic location. Specific research topics associated with the research project include evolutionary ecology, Arctic ecology, global change ecology, plant phenology, and ecophysiology.

Education at third-cycle level comprises four years of full-time study, and leads to a doctoral degree.     As part of your employment as a doctoral student, you may have departmental duties corresponding to up to 20 % of full-time employment, distributed throughout your study period. Departmental duties usually consist of teaching at first- and second-cycle levels, but may also include research and administration.  


Education at third-cycle level requires general eligibility and, where appropriate, specific eligibility as set out in the general syllabus for the subject.  

The general eligibility requirements for education at third-cycle level are:    

  1. having completed a degree at second-cycle level, or
    • the fulfilment of course requirements totalling at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits must be at second-cycle level, or  
  2. the acquisition of equivalent knowledge in some other way, either in Sweden or abroad. 

*Relevant subject for the planned third-cycle education is biology.

Assessment criteria   

The selection of applicants who meet the basic and specific eligibility requirements will be based on the ability to assimilate the education at third-cycle level.  

We are seeking a motivated person for PhD studies in Natural Science with emphasis on biology.

Essential attributes

  • Knowledge of basic ecology or related subject.
  • Creative and critical thinking.
  • Works well alone and as part of a group. Cooperative.
  • Organizational skills and willingness to co-lead a large project involving multiple field sites and large field + environmental chamber experiments.
  • Willingness to conduct field work in potentially challenging conditions (cold, remote).
  • Excellent communication skills in English, both written and spoken, are necessary since we work in an international environment.

Desirable attributes

  • Specialization in plant ecology, evolutionary ecology, or ecophysiology.
  • Experience using ecological methods, especially common garden or reciprocal transplant experiments.
  • Experience conducting field work under remote/challenging conditions.
  • Experience with quantitative data analysis and/or programming in R.
  • Experience working in a team.
  • Experience with scientific publication.
  • Willingness to mentor undergraduate students at the host department.

The application should preferably be written in English and must include:

  • A short cover letter with the applicant’s justification for the application, i.e., that describes how the applicant meets the selection criteria
  • An attested list of qualifications (CV)
  • Examination certificates and a transcript of courses with grades
  • A copy of the Master thesis (or equivalent)
  • Employments certificates and other documents deemed important by the applicant

The top ranked candidates will be selected for an interview, which will be held in English and could also be performed digitally.


Once you have been admitted for education at third-cycle level, you will be employed as a doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg.  The provisions for employment as a doctoral student can be found in ordinance SFS 1993:100.    Initial employment as a doctoral student may apply for a maximum of one year, and may be renewed by a maximum of two years at a time.  

A doctoral student may be employed as a doctoral student for a maximum of eight years, but the total period of employment may not be longer than the equivalent of full-time education at third-cycle level for four years.  Location: Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences. Extent: 100%. First day of employment: 1st March, 2023 or upon agreement. The University applies a local agreement on salaries for doctoral students.   

Contact information 

For further information please contact:

Anne Bjorkman, Senior Lecturer
Phone: +46 766182547

Åsa Arrhenius, Head of Department
tel. +46 31 786 26 25


You can apply to be admitted for education at third-cycle level via the University of Gothenburg’s recruitment portal.   

It is your responsibility to ensure that the application is complete as per the vacancy notice, and that the University receives it by the final application deadline.   

Applications must be received by: January 20th, 2023.   

Information for International Applicants 

Choosing a career in a foreign country is a big step. Thus, to give you a general idea of what we and Gothenburg have to offer in terms of benefits and life in general for you and your family/spouse/partner please visit: 

The University works actively to achieve a working environment with equal conditions, and values the qualities that diversity brings to its operations. Salaries are set individually at the University.

In accordance with the National Archives of Sweden’s regulations, the University must archive application documents for two years after the appointment is filled. If you request that your documents are returned, they will be returned to you once the two years have passed. Otherwise, they will be destroyed. In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.

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