PhD fellow in Agroforestry effects on production, carbon sequestration and nitrogen retention

Updated: 15 days ago
Deadline: 14 Feb 2021

Department of Food and Resource Economics, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD scholarship in ‘Agroforestry effects on production, carbon sequestration and nitrogen retention’, commencing 1st May 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

 Description of the scientific environment
The PhD student will be supervised jointly by the Section for Environment and Natural Resources at Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO), and the Section for Forest, Nature and Biomass at the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management (IGN). These institutions have their origins in the traditions and methodologies developed in the Danish agriculture, forestry and food production sectors, in which the close relationships developed between the private sector, public authorities and research institutions contributed significantly to positive outcomes. Research, education, research-based public-sector services and wider dissemination are the institutions’ main tasks, particularly within the fields of environment, natural resources, agriculture, forestry, nature management and global development.

Section for Environment and Natural Resources at IFRO conducts basic and applied research in relation to the use and protection of the environment and natural resources in a wide sense. Approaches include theoretical and empirical studies, numerical modelling, experiments, surveys, and empirical analysis based on long-term databases. Applied work covers a wide range of themes such as the optimal use of natural resources like agricultural land, forests, game and fish stocks, environmental valuation and regulation of externalities, cost-effective protection of e.g. biodiversity and water, and the economics of climate mitigation and adaptation.

In Section of Forest, Nature and Biomass at IGN the research group on Biogeochemistry conducts basic and applied research on the functioning of soil-plant systems, and specifically focuses on how ecosystems respond to environmental changes and to management actions. This is done through experimental studies quantifying the pools and fluxes of matter in semi-natural and managed ecosystems. The new insights are used to quantify and extrapolate ecosystem service provisioning (e.g. water quality and recharge, N retention, C sequestration) under future climate and management scenarios to inform land managers, interest groups and support policy development, in close cooperation with other researchers in the section.

Project description
This PhD scholarship is offered as part of a four-year collaborative research and development project (ROBUST) involving both university, NGOs, farmers and business partners. The overall ROBUST project involves experimental work in existing agroforestry-like systems, as well as development and establishment of new agroforestry systems and baseline studies within these. The aim of the PhD student’s research is to examine existing systems, and the tasks are important for the outcome of ROBUST and will be tightly coordinated with other parts of the project. The PhD student will, together with the project partners, carry out data collection and experiments, analyze samples of soil and plants in the laboratory, conduct statistical analysis and disseminate results scientifically as well as to partners and farmers in general. The PhD student’s experimental work will focus on tree biomass production and carbon storage and accumulation in plants and soil, nitrogen in plants and soil and nitrogen leaching, effects of tree pruning, and interactions between trees and non-woody crops. The experimental work starts this spring and involves a considerable field effort in 2021. The experiments will be maintained and monitored in 2022-2023. Together with a postdoc, the PhD student will be responsible for most of the fieldwork.  

Principal supervisor isProfessor Henrik Meilby, Section for Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Food and Resource Economics, , +45 35 33 17 40. Co-supervisor is Professor Lars Vesterdal, Section of Forest, Nature and Biomass, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, , +45 35 33 16 72.

Job description
The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:

  • To manage and carry through your research project in close collaboration with the project partners
  • Attend PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Teach and disseminate your research
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad
  • Work for the department

Formal requirements
Applicants should hold an MSc degree in Agriculture, Forestry, Environmental Science, Physical Geography or similar with good results and should have good English skills. Proficiency in Danish for internal as well as external communication is considered an advantage. In the assessment of your qualifications, emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience.

Terms of employment
The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 331,125 (approx. €43,750) including annual supplement (+ pension at a minimum DKK 53,811). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Application Procedure
The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Cover Letter, detailing your motivation and background for applying for the PhD project.
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • Acceptance Letter for the relevant MSc Programme at SCIENCE, if any
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any)
  • 1-3 reference letters (if any)

Reference letters must be uploaded by the applicant him/herself. The recruiting person must NOT  obtain reference letters which content is not known to the applicant him/herself. This is against Danish law.

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

The deadline for applications is the 14 February 2021, 23:59 GMT +1.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science. You can read more about the recruitment process at .

For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor, Professor Henrik Meilby, Department of Food and Resource Economics, , +45 35 33 17 40.

General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available at .

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

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