Postdoctoral researcher in Policies and regulations for plant breeding

Updated: 4 months ago

The Department of Plant Breeding conducts research, education and innovation of strategic importance for the society’s long-term supply of food, industrial raw material and energy. We strive to meet the increasing need of raw material and at the same time make the plant production more environmentally sustainable. The Department also conducts plant breeding programs concerning apple, black currant, sea buckthorn and potatoes. The Department is centered at the SLU campus in Alnarp outside of Malmö, Sweden.

Mistra Biotech is a research programme funded by Mistra, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research, and SLU. Its main purpose is to develop the use of biotechnology to improve the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of Swedish agriculture. The programme conducts plant breeding, development of new breeding technologies, food quality studies, and research on various aspects of agricultural biotechnology, including ethics, legal studies, and consumer research. More than 50 researchers are involved in various parts of the programme. More information can be found at .


The postdoc will work closely together with other researchers in analyzing various aspects of biosafety legislation related to gene technologies in plant breeding, and writing corresponding articles for international, peer-reviewed publication. The postdoc is expected to take the main responsibility for at least two such articles. The following themes are currently among our top priorities for this work, but others may also be discussed:

Legal analysis of reform options

Several proposals to reform the EU GMO legislation have been put forward. A thorough analysis is still lacking of the consequences of different proposed legislative reform options for molecular breeding technologies. This project will analyse the potential consequences of various reform options, according to factors such as the Precautionary principle; the EU Innovation principle; compatibility with the Cartagena protocol; and the scientific consensus.

Consensus on plant gene technology

In the discussions about the regulatory approach to plant gene technology, it is often argued either that “scientific consensus” prevails or that it does not prevail. However, it is rarely specified exactly what constitutes “scientific consensus”. This project will seek to identify some key criteria for the concept of “consensus” in the field of plant gene technology, such as credibility of the sources of information, criteria for falsification (i.e. to know when there is not consensus), identifiable signs of paradigm shifts, and potentially others.


We are looking for a candidate who has a biotechnology/breeding background combined with a thorough legal and political understanding of the regulatory frameworks that apply to the products of plant breeding. The successful candidate must have a PhD, and preferably in Plant breeding, Genetics, Agricultural Sciences or some other plant breeding-related field. A track record, including publications, training, teaching and/or other, demonstrating an understanding of breeding/biotech policies and regulations is essential. As an alternative, a PhD in a legal discipline such as Environmental law, Food law, EU law or other, combined with a documented experience towards biotechnology and/or plant breeding, will also be considered.

It is essential that the candidate has a high capacity for browsing, analysing and summarising large amounts of scientific and other literature. It is an advantage to have experience working in a multidisciplinary environment, and a capacity for creative and innovative thinking is highly desirable. It is a requirement to be fluent in written and spoken English. Further excellent communication skills is highly advantageous, in particular skills in writing for various target groups. The candidate must have an ability to work independently. Some travel may be included, such as active participation at an international event and/or meetings with various stakeholders incl. policy makers.

Place of work:


Form of employment:

Fixed term employment of 12 months



Starting date:

As soon as possible according to agreement


We welcome your application no later than 2019-05-24, use the button below.

Academic union representatives:

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) develops the understanding and sustainable use and management of biological natural resources. The university ranks well internationally within its subject areas. SLU is a research-intensive university that also offers unique degree programmes in for example rural development and natural resource management, environmental economics, animal science and landscape architecture.

SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala.

SLU is an equal opportunity employer.

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