PhD position in biology at the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology

Updated: 16 days ago

The Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology was founded in the late 1970s - when the College of Forestry moved to Umeå. The number of employees has since grown steadily is now around 100, including postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate students. In the late 1990s it was decided to join with the Department of Plant Physiology at Umeå University to form a research center, Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC). The Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology moved into the premises adjacent to the partner department and together have developed a close and successful collaboration on research issues, technology platforms, and training of master's and doctoral level students. The international element within UPSC is large, with over 40 nationalities represented.

The department conducts introductory and advanced training in plant physiology, ecophysiology, plant molecular biology, forest genetics and forest biotechnology within the Forestry program and at the master level.

The department offers postgraduate studies in biology, specializing in plant physiology, ecophysiology, plant molecular biology and forest genetics. Postgraduate courses are generally held in cooperation with the Department of Plant Physiology.
For more information about the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology and UPSC visit

Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology

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PhD position research about: A GMO-free approach in plants to boost biomass production

Our changing climate leads to more extreme weather and we see an increasing demand for plant varieties that can maintain yield and biomass under new and more harsh conditions. We lose huge amounts of yield in our agriculture and forests to plant stress cues, such as cold, drought and salinity. These stress situations will only increase with the changing climate. 

We aim to shape the mechanism of an endogenous protein to generate a GMO-free circuit to activate the expression of target genes in plants. Gene activation is often an essential step towards plant survival against diverse stress cues.

The project will mainly work with the model plant Arabidopsis. Our findings in Arabidopsis will be used to manipulate the gene expression of commercially important tree species, such as poplar, spruce and pine. 

Due to their sessile lifestyle and long lifetime, trees are experts in transcriptional regulation in response to changes in their surrounding environment. This project will assist us to make well-informed decisions in tree-breeding programmes today that may influence how trees will cope with environmental conditions in the future, particularly in light of accelerated climate change in Nordic regions


To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level the applicant is required to have completed a second-cycle level degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 ECTS credits, of which at least 60 ECTS credits are at second-cycle level, or have an equivalent education from overseas, or equivalent qualifications. To fulfil the entry requirements the successful candidate also must have completed 90 ECTS credits with relevance to biology. Out of this, at least 15 ECTS credits has to be in a subject closely related to the research topic of the graduate program as well as an independent project work of at least 15 ECTS credits in an area relevant for the project. 

The applicant should have a strong interest for plant physiology, and a background in plant cell and molecular biology. Previous experience working with Arabidopsis is desirable. 

The successful candidate is expected to have good social skills and the ability to do research independently, as well as in a team. Furthermore, good oral and writing skills in English are essential qualifications.

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Forms for funding or employment:

Employment (4 years)

Starting date:

According to agreement.


We welcome your application no later than 2023-01-22, use the button below:

A person has basic eligibility for third cycle education if he or she has taken a second cycle qualification or has completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, including at least 60 higher education credits at second cycle education. Upper secondary school grades equivalent to English B/English 6 are a basic requirement. More information about the English language requirements can be found here:

Selection among applicants meeting the requirements is made with reference to written application including curriculum vitae, copies of degrees and transcripts of academic records, one copy of the dissertation for masters or undergraduate degree, a list of at least two references familiar with the applicant's qualifications, certified knowledge of the English language and an interview.

Please note that applicants invited to interview must submit attested copies of their degree certificate, a transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution. Applicants who are not Swedish citizens need to submit an attested copy of their passport’s information page containing their photograph and personal details.

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The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) is a world-class international university with research, education and environmental assessment within the sciences for sustainable life. Its principal sites are in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala, but activities are also conducted at research stations, experimental parks and educational establishments throughout Sweden. We bring together people who have different perspectives, but they all have one and the same goal: to create the best conditions for a sustainable, thriving and better world.

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.

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