PhD fellowship in veterinary epidemiology and risk assessment

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 11 Dec 2022

We are offering a PhD fellowship in veterinary epidemiology and risk assessment commencing 1 March 2023 or as soon as possible hereafter.

Our group and research
The Section for Animal Welfare on Disease Control performs research in the areas of infectious diseases and animal welfare, and base their work on the disciplines epidemiology, ethology and bioethics. One of the major tasks in the section is advisory services to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration on surveillance and control of infectious diseases, and consequently, risk assessments are central. We participate in the Danish Veterinary Consortium (DK-VET), which is a collaboration between the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and the Statens Serum Institut (SSI) for the performance of the veterinary public service agreement under the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food. Public sector consultancy includes everything from disease surveillance and handling of specific emergency tasks, e.g. including suspected disease outbreaks, to assistance in the form of risk assessments, research projects, questions from the Minister, etc.

Project description

Veterinary risk assessment aims to identify hazards and estimate risks for specified pathways and levels of pathways. As an example, African swine fever is considered a hazard for the Danish pig industry, a hazard with huge consequences in terms of fatal disease in pigs and large impact on economy due to loss of exports. Risk assessments, qualitative and quantitative, can help estimating the risk from this hazard related to different pathways, such as import of animals, import of products, traveling, hunting abroad, and trucks.  Estimating risks related to each pathway and overall can help risk managers to implement mitigating actions, to prioritize, and to balance the level of preparedness to the current level of risk.

This Ph.D.-project aims at combining available data from literature and databases with experts knowledge and risk assessment methods into qualitative and quantitative risk assessment models. There will be opportunities to develop the project in selected directions, depending on background and interests of the PhD Fellow, e.g. selection of disease or diving into more advanced quantitative risk assessments, horizon scanning, or forecasting methods. Also, risk communication is an extremely important area, which could be addressed within this project, including in-depth interviews of risk assessors and risk managers, and going into the direction of social sciences.

Risk assessment is truly a cross-disciplinary field collecting inputs and data from a broad range of areas and expertise. Risk managers in the veterinary field are typically the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the farming industries, while experts can be scientists, farmers, hunters etc. Good collaboration skills are therefore important.

The supervisor team consists of Professor Søren Saxmose Nielsen,Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences,, Direct Phone: +4535333096, and Senior Advisor Anette Boklund,, Direct phone: +4535330847.

Start:                 1 March 2023

Duration:          3 years as a PhD Fellow [+ 3 months as research assistant for enrolment, if relevant]

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD Fellow at SUND are:

  • Carrying through an independent research project under supervision.
  • Completing PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approximately 30 ECTS points.
  • Participating in active research environments including a stay at another research team.
  • Obtaining experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Teaching and disseminating your knowledge.
  • Writing a PhD thesis on the grounds of your project

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants
Applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree in veterinary medicine or similar. Please note that your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (two years).

Other important criteria are:

  • The grade point average achieved
  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Previous publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other professional activities
  • A curious mind-set with a strong interest in learning and research
  • Willingness to learn Danish language, spoken and written
  • English language skills, spoken and written

You are required to be enterprising, to possess good communication skills and to be a visible and involved participant in the Section’s daily activities. As veterinary risk assessment builds on the basis of good epidemiological understanding, an interest or even experience in epidemiology is needed.

Place of employment

The place of employment is at the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment.

Terms of employment
The average weekly working hours are 37 hours per week.

The position is a fixed-term position limited to a period of 3 years. The start date is 1 March 2023 or as soon as possible hereafter.

The employment is conditioned upon the applicant’s success­ful enrolment as a PhD Fellow at the Graduate School at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant during an initial three-month employment as a research assistant.

The PhD study must be completed in accordance with The Ministerial Order on the PhD programme (2013) and the Faculty’s rules on achieving the degree.

Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the agree­ment between the Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary starts at approximately 27,800 DKK/Roughly 3,700 EUR (October 2021 level) plus pension.

For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

General information about PhD studies at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available at the Graduate School’s website:

Application procedure
Your application must be submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. The application must include the following documents in PDF format: 

1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)

2. CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position

3. Certified copy of original Master of Science diploma and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in other language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted. As a prerequisite for a PhD fellowship employment, your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree. We encourage you to read more in the assessment database: . Please note that we might ask you to obtain an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science

4. Publication list (if possible)

Application deadline:  Sunday 11 December 2022, 23.59pm CET

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

The further process
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the hiring committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an unbiased assessor.

The assessor makes a non-prioritized assessment of the academic qualifications and experience with respect to the above-mentioned area of research, techniques, skills and other requirements listed in the advertisement.

Once the assessment work has been completed each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself.

You find information about the recruitment process at:

The applicants will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.

Interviews are expected to be held in week 2 and 3.

The University of Copenhagen wish to reflect the diversity of society and encourage all qualified candidates to apply regardless of personal background. 

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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