PhD-fellow in Clinical Forensic Medicine

Updated: 26 days ago
Deadline: 28 Sep 2021

Department of Forensic Medicine, Section of Forensic Pathology and Clinical Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD scholarship in epidemiological risk factors associated with drug-facilitated sexual assault in Denmark Nov. 22nd 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of scientific environment

The section of Forensic pathology carries out forensic autopsies and clinical forensic examinations including age estimations for the judiciary and other public authorities. Based on this casework the section has a lot of developmental and scientific work within the fields of applied research and prevention. The section of Forensic pathology and clinical forensic medicine is one of three sections at the Department of Forensic Medicine (University of Copenhagen) carrying out research and teaching assignments according to ordinary university rules.  The section has a wide range of collaboration with other fields – eg. Police, Centers of Sexual Assault, Børnehus Copenhagen, clinical departments and other university departments.

The section has about 60 employees, including 1 professors, 3 associate professors, 20 forensic doctors, administrative staff, 6-8 PhD students, 3 laboratory technicians and a number of thesis students. The department is equipped with modern instruments and IT facilities. The section is accredited to ISO 17020.   

The PhD scholarship

The PhD Scholarship concerns epidemiological risk factors associated with drug-facilitated sexual assault in Denmark.

According to anonymous population-wide screenings, every year approximately 30,200 Danish women are sexually victimized. One third are under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the assault, thereby becoming so-called drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA). There has been an increasing focus on sexual assault in Denmark due to the large number of unreported cases. Estimates from The Center for Sexual Assault (CSA) at Copenhagen University Hospital show that only about half of the alleged sexual assaults are reported to the police.

Despite increased awareness of the problem, the exact number of sexual assaults in Denmark, and in particular DFSAs, remains largely unknown. There is only limited knowledge of the risk factors associated with these sexual assaults, making it challenging to both handle and prevent. Lack of knowledge concerning profiling in DFSA cases and the fact that some victims may not even be aware that they have possibly been exposed to DFSA means that victims may not receive due process.

The overall out-come of this project is to increase public awareness about DFSA, reduce the occurrence, increase the likelihood of victims seeking acute help and reporting of the crime, and not least ensure an optimal police investigation and forensic examination for the benefit of the individual victim’s sense of security and well-being.

In order to achieve this, this project aims to profile all cases of clinically forensic examined persons approximately 2700 cases who have been examined as victims of sexual assault, in the period 2016-2021. The cases will be cross-referenced on the basis of a wide and almost complete range of data available from the police reports, the forensic examination including toxicology screening, registry data from the National Danish Registries and access to the legal out-come. This will firstly provide an opportunity to compare DFSA and non-DFSA cases and point out important profiling markers and risk factors within the field of simple epidemiological factors, prior somatic and psychiatric diagnoses, social and psychological vulnerability. Secondly it will make it possible to discriminate which factors are important for police reporting and for the legal out-come including a valuation of the findings of alcohol or drugs in the blood of the victims on the legal-out-come.


Professor, ph.d Jytte Banner, Section of Forensic Pathology and Clinical Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health Science at University of Copenhagen

Consultant physician, Julie Munkholm, Section of Forensic Pathology and Clinical Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health Science at University of Copenhagen

Senior Researcher, PhD, Marie Katrine Klose Nielsen, Section of Forensic Chemistry, Department of Forensic Medicine, The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen

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

To manage and carry through your research project

  • 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
We are seeking highly motivated applicants with an MSc degree or similar in medicine or related fields with the following competences:

  • Experience with clinical forensic medical examinations
  • Basic familiarity with epidemiology and statistics
  • Fluency in oral and written Danish and English

It will be highly advantageous to have one or more of the following qualifications:

Hands-on experience with Clinical Forensic Medicine

  • Examination of victims of sexual assault
  • Formulation of written forensic reports
  • Correlation of injuries to alleged injury mechanisms
  • Evaluation of possible intoxication in examinees
  • Publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals
  • Experience with scientific work

Salary and terms of employment 

The salary and terms of employment follow the current agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the union of academics (AC). Negotiations regarding supplements follows the rules in the new pay systems under the State. The average working hours per week is 37 hours. 

We want to reflect the society and therefore calls on all interested, regardless of personal background, to apply. 

All invited for interview will be asked to bring a criminal record in English or Danish.  

Further information can be obtained by the head of the section, professor, PhD Jytte Banner, phone: +45 23811464 or e-mail: 

Send the motivated application together with copies of diplomas (including transcript of records translated to the ECTS grading scale) and indication of previous employment electronically through: no later than 28 September 2021

University of Copenhagen wish to reflect the diversity of society and welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of age, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation. Appointment will be based on merit alone.

Nederst på formularen

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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