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PhD position in computational science with focus on evolutionary ecology

Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics




  • Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
  • Extent 100%
  • Place Umeå

The Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at Umeå University invites applicants for a PhD position in computational science, focused on evolutionary ecology. The position is for four years of doctoral studies which include both participation in research and postgraduate courses. Last day to apply is September 1, 2021.

Project description and tasks
A key issue in ecology is how biodiversity affects the stability and functions of ecosystems. In this project, we will develop an integrative framework that will be used to systematically study this question from an evolutionary perspective and at different spatial and temporal scales. Specifically, we will use eco-evolutionary modelling techniques that we have recently developed (see, for example, Wickman et al. 2019; Ecology Letters 22: 1746-1756) to create virtual communities of coexisting species through evolutionary processes.

We plan to compare ecosystem functions such as biomass production and resource use between communities of resource competitors that were either randomly assembled or have evolved through natural selection. To study the importance of spatial factors, we will explore these processes on spatially heterogeneous landscapes and will sample the communities on different spatial scales. We also plan to investigate how different metrics, e.g. different measures of biodiversity, differ in the ability to predict ecosystem functions. If time allows, we will extend the ecological communities to several trophic levels enabling the evolution of food webs.

The PhD student will be admitted to third-cycle studies in computational science and engineering with specialization in mathematics.

To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level the applicant is required to have completed a second-cycle level degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 ECTS credits, of which at least 60 ECTS credits are at second-cycle level, or have an equivalent education from abroad, or equivalent qualifications.

For third-cycle studies in computational science and engineering (CSE), the applicant is required to have completed at least 90 credits in CSE courses, of which at least 30 credits shall have been acquired at second-cycle level. CSE courses refer to courses with major quantitative, statistical or computing science elements, such as courses in computing science, mathematics and mathematical statistics or computationally intensive courses from other relevant fields.

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

Good knowledge of English language, both written and spoken, is required.

Programming skills and knowledge of ecology is very advantageous. Experience of working interdisciplinary or of using computational or mathematical methods in a field such as biology or ecology is advantageous.

You are expected to play an active role in the development of this doctoral project and also in the department. You are expected to have a scientific and result-oriented approach for your work. You should therefore have very good communication and collaboration skills. You are structured, flexible and solution-oriented.

The assessments of the applicants are based on their qualifications and their ability to benefit from the doctoral-level education they will receive.

About the employment
The position is intended to result in a doctoral degree and the main task of the PhD student is to pursue their doctoral studies which include participation in research and doctoral courses, and to take part in the WASP graduate school. The duties can include teaching and other departmental work (up to a maximum of 20%). The employment is limited to the equivalent of four years of full-time (48 months) or up to five years when teaching part-time. Salary is set in accordance with the established salary levels for PhD positions. The employment starts in the fall of 2021 or according to agreement.

The PhD student is expected to have the primary office in the international and cross-departmental research environment IceLab ( IceLab connects researchers from different disciplines through interdisciplinary collaborations.

You apply via our e-recruitment system Varbi. Log in and apply via the button at the bottom of the page. The deadline for applications is September 1, 2021. A complete application should contain the following documents:

  • a personal letter with a brief description of your qualifications and your research interests. Motivate why you are applying for the employment and describe how your qualifications and merits are relevant to the employment,
  • a curriculum vitae,
  • authenticated copies of degree certificates, diplomas or equivalent, including documentation of completed academic courses, grades obtained, and possibly other certificates,
  • copies of relevant work such as Master’s thesis or articles that you have authored or co-authored,
  • contact information for at least two reference persons.

Applicants with a degree not from a Swedish university are encouraged to provide results obtained from GMAT (and/or GRE) and TOEFL/IELTS tests if available.

The Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics values ​​the qualities that an even gender distribution brings to the department, and we therefore particularly encourage female applicants.

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

Further information
Further information is provided by Professor Åke Brännström,, +46 90 7867862, or Professor Sebastian Diehl,, +46 90 7865738. You can also contact the Director of Graduate Studies Jun Yu for additional questions at, +46 90 7865127.

More information about the department:

We look forward to receiving your application!


Åke Brännström, professor

+46 90 7867862,

Sebastian Diehl, professor

+46 90 7865738,

Jun Yu, professor

+46 90 7865127,

Registration number

AN 2.2.1-1088-21

Union representative


+46 90 7865365


+46 90 7865431


+46 90 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.