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PhD student position in Chemistry with focus on Biochemistry

Kemiska institutionen




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

We are seeking a PhD student for a research project where we study the cell wall of algae. The project aims to develop more efficient processes for converting renewable resources, which can replace products made from fossil raw material. Last day to apply is 16 October 2019.

Working tasks
The project is based on a collaboration between Umeå University (UmU) and other Nordic Universities/Research Institutes within the frame of a Nordic Center of Excellence (NordAqua, funded by NordForsk Bioeconomy programme. NordAqua has the aim to advance the transition to Bioeconomy in the Scandinavian region. You will be working in an international consortium performing research on sustainable energy. We address this problem by recycling CO2 for fuel- or energy-production using photosynthetic microorganisms (microalgae and cyanobacteria) in Nordic climate. The project will focus on the cell wall of Nordic algal strains with the aim to improve harvesting and extraction of valuable compounds from algal biomass. In Umeå we are using algae in wastewater treatment for nutrient and contaminant removal to develop a sustainable clean technology while also adding value to the wastewater treatment process by nutrient recovery. Breakage/extraction of compounds from the algal biomass is a bottleneck in biotechnological applications, we therefore want to investigate the biochemical composition of the cell wall of our best-performing Nordic strains and use molecular biological tools to improve the biomass. You will biochemically characterize the cell wall of different microalgae grown in different conditions. Molecular biological tools will be used to change the cell wall properties of certain algae for improved breakage and harvesting.

Competence requirements
To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level you are 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.

To fulfil the specific entry requirements to be admitted for studies at third-cycle level in chemistry, you are required to have completed first-cycle courses of at least 90 ECTS credits within the field of chemistry or another subject considered to be directly relevant to the specialization in question. Of those 90 ECTS credits, at least 15 ECTS credits shall have been acquired at second-cycle level within the specialization or an equivalent subject.

Education in Biochemistry or equivalent is required as well as very good knowledge in English, both written and spoken. The applicant must be enthusiastic, self-initiative, highly motivated, have good communication skills and the capacity to administer own progress with accuracy. It is important to have a very good ability to work independently as well as in a group in a cross disciplinary environment. Experience with microalgal research, microalgal cultivation and knowledge of biochemical techniques and extraction are merits.

Terms of employment
The appointment aims at a PhD degree and the main task of the PhD student is to pursue their doctoral studies, which includes participation in research projects as well as postgraduate courses. In the assignments, teaching and other departmental work (up to a maximum of 20%) can be included. The employment is limited to four years full-time or up to five years when part-time teaching. The salary placement takes place according to the established salary level for doctoral employment.

A complete application, written in Swedish or English, must contain the following documents:

  • A cover letter including a description of your research interests and motivation for applying
  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • Certified copies of degree certificates, including documentation of completed academic courses, obtained grades and other relevant certificates
  • Name and contact information of at least two reference persons

Applications must be submitted via our e-recruitment system. The last day to apply is 16 October 2019.

For more information please contact Professor Christiane Funk, tfn: 090-7867633, e-post:

About us
The Department of Chemistry is one of the largest departments within the Faculty of Science and Technology with approximately 200 employees, of which approximately 40 doctoral students, and a strong and expanding research. The Department has three major research areas: Biological Chemistry, Environmental and Biogeochemistry, and Technical Chemistry. We are also a strong partner in the KBC, Chemical-Biological Center. Information about the postgraduate education can be found on the Faculty of Science and Technology website: For more information about working at Umeå University, see:


By agreement


Christiane Funk


Registration number

AN 2.2.1-1312-19


Monthly salary

Union representative


090-786 53 65


090-786 52 96


090-786 54 31




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.