PhD position in Soil Nutrient Cycling focusing on organic matter dynamics

Updated: 19 days ago

We at the Department of Soil and Environment conduct state-of-the-art research on the soil system in both national and international contexts. Our research focuses on fundamental soil properties and processes, as well as how soil functions are affected by changes in environmental conditions, including climate change. Through research, environmental analysis and education, we contribute knowledge about future sustainable land use and develop new solutions as a basis for decision-making in agriculture, forestry and the urban environment. The working environment at the department is international and we have around 100 employees.

Our research is carried out in seven subject groups with a focus on soil biology, soil nutrient cycling, soil chemistry, agricultural water management, soil and environmental physics, soil mechanics and soil management, and the biogeochemistry of forest soils. We are responsible for important research infrastructure in the form of soil chemistry and soil physics laboratories, an X-ray scanner, long-term field experiments, a lysimeter facility, and the field research stations at Lanna and Lövsta. The Department contributes to approximately 30 courses at undergraduate and advanced level.

We are a part of the Soil, Water and Environment Center at SLU (MVM-center), which provides links to environmental monitoring and research on water systems, recycling and bioenergy. Our work is aligned to national environmental and climate goals as well as to the Sustainable Development Goals. We are situated at Campus Ultuna in Uppsala and in Skara.


In order to develop long-term sustainable cropping systems that will contribute to necessary climate change mitigation, NordForsk has funded a research project AgroMixNorth: Climate-smart resilience through diversified cropping systems – Identifying springboards in Nordic and Baltic agriculture ( ). The aim of AgroMixNorth is to improve our understanding on the impact of crop diversification (both intra- and interspecific) on soil functioning and food quality, and to evaluate potential synergies and trade-offs arising from specific agricultural management systems.

Within the project, we are seeking for a PhD student to assess potential trade-offs between carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling in diversified and monoculture cropping systems. The PhD student will join a dynamic and internationally recognized team working at the biogeochemical interface of soil organic matter dynamics. We are looking for an inquisitive person who is keen to participate in a research program that aims to improve our fundamental understanding of how crop diversification affects carbon, energy and nutrient dynamics in soils and to improve management practices for the development of long-term sustainable cropping systems.

Read about the PhD education at SLU at


The applicant should have a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in soil or environmental science, earth sciences, ecology, agronomy or similar. We are seeking a highly motivated candidate with a strong interest in integrative work at the chemical and biophysical interface in soils.

Knowledge in C- and N cycling in soil systems and/or soil biology with experience working in the laboratory are desirable. Understanding of soil organic matter models, experiences in planning and executing experiments and scientific writing skills will count as merits.

The candidate should have a good ability to communicate in written and spoken English.

Independence, creativity, power of initiative and good interpersonal skills are considered valuable assets.

The application should contain:

  • Application letter (max 2 pages) describing why you are interested in the position
  • CV (max 2 pages)
  • A copy of a MSc thesis at advanced level corresponding to at least 15 higher education credits or similar
  • Contact information for two reference persons relevant to this position (e.g. MSc thesis supervisors)

Evaluations will be based on the application, interviews and references.

Place of work:      


Forms for funding or employment:

Employment 4 years

Starting date:

April 2023 or as agreed


Click the “Apply” button to submit your application. The deadline is 2023-02-28.

To qualify for third-cycle (Doctoral) courses and study programmes, you must have a second-cycle (Master’s) qualification. Alternatively, you must have conducted a minimum of four years of full-time study, of which a minimum of one year at second-cycle level.

Applicants will be selected based on their written application and CV, degree project, copies of their degree certificate and transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution, two personal references, and knowledge of English. More information about the English language requirements can be found here:

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.

Read about the PhD education at SLU at

Academic union representatives:

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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