RE-ADVERTISEMENT: Postdoc position in environmental DNA (eDNA) and bioassessment

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 01 Aug 2023

The Department of Biology, Aarhus University, Denmark, invites applications for a postdoc position within the use of “dark taxa” in eDNA-based bioassessment.

Research area and project description

Biodiversity is declining globally, and accurate, efficient methods for assessing ecosystem quality are therefore essential. However, current methods are often destructive and resource-heavy, relying on taxonomic experts to identify individual organisms. The use of eDNA – DNA from environmental samples like water or soil – allows for more efficient, less invasive biomonitoring and -assessment. But while eDNA methods are less dependent on taxonomic experts than classic methods, many DNA sequences cannot be identified to species, as much of biodiversity is undescribed or unsequenced. We are now seeking a highly motivated postdoc for a project on the inclusion of such “dark taxa” in bioassessment, through the use of supervised machine learning. This will contribute to a next-generation biomonitoring approach that is more standardized, representative, and resource-efficient. The project will take advantage of existing eDNA data to: i) investigate the relative strength of different genetic markers/target taxa for performing taxonomy-free bioassessment; ii) identify potential “indicator sequences” among the “dark taxa”, which can be widely used for bioassessment.


The focus will be on terrestrial environments, but there will be possibilities to investigate aquatic environments as well, where the approach has already shown promising results.

The expected start date is 1st of December 2023, but can be between 1st of October 2023 and 1st of February 2024.

The position is for 2 years and 6 months. There will also be opportunities for developing own research ideas related to molecular ecology in collaboration with the group. The project is funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark through the Inge Lehmann program.

Qualifications and Competences

Applicants must have a PhD degree or equivalent, or have submitted their PhD thesis for assessment before the application deadline. We seek a candidate with an overall interest in the research topic of eDNA and bioassessment, good collaborative skills, and experience with:

  • Scientific publishing and project management within biology
  • Scientific coding (scripts and workflows) and application of machine learning techniques
  • Coding languages R and Unix shell (bash command line). Working knowledge of python is a plus.
  • Exploring and analysing next-generation sequencing data
  • Bioassessment theory and method

The successful candidate will be responsible for the daily management of their research project in coordination with other members of the group and will be actively involved in the training and co-supervision of other staff members and students.

Place of Employment and Work

The postdoc will be part of a new research group led by Assistant Professor Eva Egelyng Sigsgaard, but will also be associated with the group led by Associate Professor Philip Francis Thomsen. There will be opportunities to collaborate with other researchers within Aarhus University, as well as internationally.

The place of employment and work is Section for Genetics, Ecology and Evolution, Department of Biology, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 116, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.

Contact information

Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact: Eva Egelyng Sigsgaard (


Applications must be submitted online and received by:

1st of August 2023

Previously submitted applications will be taken into consideration unless they are withdrawn.

Application procedure

Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants.

Letter of reference

If you want a referee to upload a letter of reference on your behalf, please state the referee’s contact information when you submit your application. We strongly recommend that you make an agreement with the person in question before you enter the referee’s contact information, and that you ensure that the referee has enough time to write the letter of reference before the application deadline. Unfortunately, it is not possible to ensure that letters of reference received after the application deadline will be taken into consideration.

Formalities and salary range

Natural Sciences refers to the

Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation


The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities .

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.

Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here . Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here .

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here .

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

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