PhD position, The role of soil priming on plant nutrient availability: Ref; Department of Forest Ecology and Management

A PhD position is available at the department of Forest Ecology and Management at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU. SLU has an international character both in terms of research and teaching. The department includes about 100 people of which 11 are professors. Our mission is to advance the understanding of forest ecosystems and how these should be managed today and in the future.

Name of research project/thesis: The role of soil priming on plant nutrient availability; Research subject: Biology

Description: Forests play a central role in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. However, the true magnitude of their capacity as carbon sinks is a major uncertainty. Models have identified plant availability of nitrogen as a key determinant of future forest growth and carbon sequestration. Increased carbon dioxide levels lead to increased carbon exudation from plant roots, but it is unclear how this affects the availability of nitrogen.

This PhD project will focus on the fine-scale carbon-nitrogen interactions in the soil environment around fine roots (the rhizosphere) and how these interactions are crucial for the large-scale sequestration of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems. The project will simulate different scenarios of root exudation and monitor effects on nitrogen availability with methods such as microdialysis LC-MS analysis, metagenomics and modelling. The project will strive to simulate, model and predict future plant nitrogen availability.  

The project is a collaboration with Sandra Jämtgård, Department of Forest Ecology and Management, SLU and Oskar Franklin, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria. The doctoral candidate will be part of a broad research group with expertise in subjects from plant physiology, forest ecophysiology and metagenomics, which provides good conditions for scientific exchange and discussion.  

Qualifications: The qualifications required for this position are:

  • A master’s degree in biology, microbiology, plant physiology, soil science, biochemistry or a related subject
  • Experience in cultivation of plants and or microbes, metagenomics and LC-MS analysis
  • Fluent in Englishm, and be able to write, communicate and interact in an English-speaking environment
  • It is also of merit to show good cooperation skills and work independently  


  • Experience in method development
  • Experience with univariate and multivariate analysis on a range of data types 
  • Experience with working independently and organizing work schedule
  • Experience working successfully in teams   

Place of work:Umeå

Forms for funding or employment: Employment as PhD student, full time for 4 years

Starting date: According to agreement. 


Welcome with your application via the application button below. The deadline is 2023-06-08.

The following must be attached to the application:

  • Letter describing yourself and showing your motivation for applying for this position (max. 2 pages, in English)
  • Master thesis
  • CV, including date of graduation, list of published works and names and contact details of two references
  • Copy of diploma, as well as other relevant certificates

To qualify for third-cycle (Doctoral) courses and study programmes, you must have a second-cycle (Master’s) qualification. Alternatively, you must have conducted a minimum of four years of full-time study, of which a minimum of one year at second-cycle level.

Applicants will be selected based on their written application and CV, degree project, copies of their degree certificate and transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution, two personal references, and knowledge of English.

Please note that applicants invited to interview must submit attested copies of their degree certificate, or equivalent, a transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution. Applicants who are not Swedish citizens need to submit an attested copy of their passport’s information page containing their photograph and personal details.

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) has a key role in the development for sustainable life, based on science and education. Through our focus on the interaction between humans, animals and ecosystems and the responsible use of natural resources, we contribute to sustainable societal development and good living conditions on our planet. Our main campuses are located in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala, however, the university also operates at research stations, experimental forests and teaching sites throughout Sweden.

SLU has around 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and doctoral students and a turnover of over SEK 3 billion. We are investing in attractive environments on all of our campuses. We strive to provide a work environment characterised by inclusivity and gender equality, where different experiences generate conversations between people and pave the way for science, creativity and development. Therefore, we welcome applications from people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Contact person: Sandra Jämtgård: Sandra.Jämtgå

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