PhD position in computational science

Updated: about 2 months ago

Umeå University is one of Sweden’s largest higher education institutions with over 37,000 students and about 4,700 employees. The University offers a diversity of high-quality education and world-leading research in several fields. Notably, the groundbreaking discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was made here. At Umeå University, everything is close. Our cohesive campuses make it easy to meet, work together and exchange knowledge, which promotes a dynamic and open culture.

The ongoing societal transformation and large green investments in northern Sweden create enormous opportunities and complex challenges. For Umeå University, conducting research about – and in the middle of – a society in transition is key. We also take pride in delivering education to enable regions to expand quickly and sustainably. In fact, the future is made here.


The Department of Physics at Umeå University (https://www.umu.se/en/department-of-physics/ ) conducts strong research in the areas of condensed matter physics, nanotechnology, photonics and theoretical physics. We announce a PhD position for a project focusing on modeling complex systems and networks in biology. Last day to apply is March 1, 2024.  Starting date is May 1, 2024, or by agreement.

Project description
We are seeking a highly motivated and skilled Ph.D. student in computational science to join our research team. In recent years, the life sciences have experienced an explosion of data from a variety of sources, including genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and imaging technologies. While statistical and machine-learning approaches have been widely used to extract valuable insights from this data, they can only provide correlations between critical variables, not cause-and-effect relationships. To make reliable predictions, we need such relationships. As a result, there is an increasing need for mechanistic models that can integrate diverse data sets and provide a deeper understanding of biological processes. This Ph.D. position is focused on developing and applying such models to advance our understanding of complex biological systems. The successful candidate will work at the interface of computational biology, systems biology, and biophysics and will have the opportunity to collaborate with experimentalists and computational scientists across a range of disciplines.

The Ph.D. student will join the Computational Biology group, which is a part of the interdisciplinary research environment Integrated Science Lab (Icelab) at Umeå University. The group's research projects cover diverse topics, including biological networks, gene regulation, epigenetics, intermittent search problems, polymer physics, and DNA folding in the cell nucleus. We are also collaborating with earth scientists using network models to calculate CO2 emissions in the Arctic. The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to some of these topics but will also be free to develop their own research within the broader context of the group's research agenda. The Computational Biology group is known for its collaborative and innovative research environment, and the successful candidate will be expected to engage with the group's experimental collaborators in Sweden and abroad, including ongoing collaborations with researchers in Korea.

Competence requirements
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 credits, of which at least 60 credits are at second-cycle level, or have an equivalent education from overseas, or equivalent qualifications.

To fulfil the specific entry requirements to be admitted for studies at third-cycle level in computational science and engineering, the applicant is required to have completed at least 90 credits in computational science and engineering courses, of which at least 30 credits shall have been acquired at second-cycle level.

Applicants who in some other system either within Sweden or abroad have acquired largely equivalent skills are also eligible.
The requirements do not need to be fulfilled at the time of application but only at the enrollment. Fluency in English is mandatory. 

Candidates need to be highly skilled in both oral and written communication in English and must be able to work independently as well as part of an interdisciplinary collaborative team.

Candidates also need to have proficiency in working with computers and programming, e.g. in Matlab, Python, Julia, C++, etc. A good background in mathematics, modeling, differential equations, stochastic processes, bioinformatics, computer science, and/or programming is qualifying. 

The Ph.D. student is expected to play an active role in developing this doctoral project and in the department. In addition, the Ph.D. student is expected to have a scientific, structured, flexible, and result-oriented approach to their work. The assessments of the applicants are based on their qualifications and presumed ability to take part in doctoral education.

Terms of employment
The employment is expected to result in a doctoral degree and the main assignment for the doctoral student is thus to be part of the research education, which includes participation in the described research project but also to take relevant courses. Teaching and other departmental work (up to a maximum of 20%) can be included. The employment is limited to four years at full time or up to five years if teaching and other departmental work is performed. The salary is fixed according to the established salary level for doctoral students. The employment starts in May 2024 or according to agreement.

The application
The application should contain:
1.           A cover letter with summary of research interests and motivation (max. 1 page)
2.          Curriculum Vitae.
3.          Certified copies of relevant degree certificate(s) translated to English or Swedish.
4.          Transcripts with grades, with English or Swedish translation. Note that for international (extra-EU) applicants the grading system should be explained in brief.
5.          Copies of student theses and publications (if any)
6.          Names and contact information of at least one reference person.

You apply via our e-recruitment system Varbi. The deadline for applications is March 1, 2024. Log in and apply via the button at the bottom of the page. All documents should be uploaded in pdf format. 

More information
For further information contact the Principal Investigator of the project, Associate Professor Ludvig Lizana, [email protected]

We look forward to receiving your application!



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