PhD fellow in Modelling of Low Emission Crop Rotations for Reducing Agricultural Nitrogen Losses and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Updated: 17 days ago
Deadline: 08 Nov 2020

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a 3-year PhD scholarship in Modelling of Low Emission Crop Rotations for Reducing Nitrogen Losses and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, commencing 1 March 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment
The Soil Fertility research group focuses on soil fertility issues and environmental impacts related to sustainable agriculture with a special focus on nutrient cycling and climate change. Our research aims at a mechanistic understanding of soil nutrient and organic matter dynamics at both the level of micro-scale biogeophysical processes and at eco-system scales, in the pursuit of increased nutrient use efficiency, improved crop productivity and reduced environmental impacts from agriculture in the 21st century.

Project description
The work of the PhD fellow will contribute to two research projects, namely LessN and ClimateGrass. The LessN  (“Low emission crop rotations for targeted nitrogen regulation”) project is funded by the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark through the Green Development and Demonstration Program, and is aimed at developing low emission crop rotations for a cost-effective targeted nitrogen regulation by the use of cover crops strategies and other mitigation measures to reduce nitrate leaching. The ClimateGrass(“Dairy crop rotations as a measure against climate change“) project is funded by the Climate Research Program of the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark and aims to determine how dairy farm crop rotations can be designed to effectively mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen loss. The vision of both projects is to mitigate environmental and climate impacts of agriculture while maintaining food productivity and soil quality.

The PhD project will include developing scenario analyses with the dynamic agroecosystem model Daisy (developed at University of Copenhagen, see ), which allows estimates of C and N pool changes and environmental emissions for a wide range of scenarios for different soils, farm types, cropping systems, fertilisation regimes and climates. The work will also include calibrating various modules of the Daisy model on experimental data, e.g. from grass-clover leys, and investigating the effect of crop rotations, fertiliser inputs (mineral and organic), grass-clover leys, catch crops and green manures on soil C and N turnover, crop productivity and emissions to the environment. The Ph.D. student will be working with data from other project partners as well as literature data, but involvement in experimental activities related to these topics may also be included to a limited extent. There may also be studies in relation to one or two other related research projects.

Principal supervisor will be Professor,Lars Stoumann Jensen ( ), Plant and Soil Science Section and co-supervisor will be Associate Professor Efstathios Diamantopoulos  ( ), Environmental Chemistry and Physics Section, both atDepartment of Plant and Environmental Sciences.

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 out your PhD research, in collaboration with supervisors and other partners from the projects to which the PhD is associated
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Disseminate your research, also to stakeholders of the projects
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad
  • Attend PhD courses
  • Work for the department (e.g tutoring exercises, guest lectures)

Formal requirements
Applicants should:

  • Hold an MSc degree in a relevant discipline such as agronomy, environmental science or related disciplines.
  • Have a good knowledge of agronomy and the mechanisms that determine the turnover, transport and losses of carbon and nutrients in soil-plant-atmosphere systems.
  • Have experience with management and processing of large datasets, methods for statistical data analysis etc.
  • Some knowledge and experience on simulation modelling (preferably with the Daisy model) and/or experience with Python will be an advantage.
  • Have good communicative and interpersonal skills.
  • Have excellent English writing and speaking abilities.

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

Terms of appointment and payment according 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 annually 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 this specific PhD project, incl. any earlier study or work experience relevant for the topic.
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • 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 8 November 2020, 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 more specific information about the PhD scholarship and the contents of the LessN and ClimateGrass projects, please contact the principal supervisor Professor,Lars Stoumann Jensen, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, E-mail , Direct Phone: +4521222039.

General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available at .

Further information on the Department is linked 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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