PhD Fellow in Nanogeobio for Investigation the Origin of Life
University of Copenhagen GLOBE Institute

PhD fellow in Nanogeobio for investigation the origin of life at the Geobiology section, The Globe Institute, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen

A collaboration between the Sino-Danish Center at the Nano-Science Center and the Geobiology section at The Globe Institute Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences all at the University of Copenhagen are offering a PhD scholarship in Nanogeobio commencing 01.09.2020 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment

The Globe Institute’s main purpose is to address basic scientific questions through interdisciplinary approaches. The institute operates at the intersection of natural and medical sciences and the humanities. The Institute is an international node of scientific excellence, composed of multidisciplinary centres of research excellence. The centres’ scientific foci concern:

  • The origins and evolution of stars and planets 
  • The origins and evolution of life and Earth’s ecosystems 
  • The origins and evolution of human diversity
  • The origins, evolution, and treatment of disease

Nano-Science Center at the University of Copenhagen bring together researchers from the areas of chemistry, physics, biophysics and medicine in a strong cross-disciplinary environment.

Sino-Danish Center is a partnership between all eight Danish universities, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS). SDC’s activities include Danish-Chinese research collaboration within five selected focus areas, seven affiliated Master’s programmes with an annual intake of approximately 150 master’s students and training of a large number of PhD students.

Further information about Sino-Danish Center, Nano-Science Center and the  Globe Institute can be found at, and respectively.

Project description

The PhD project is about investigating the origin of life from a nanometer perspective. The student will be using AFM combined with Infrared spectroscopy and maybe Raman, SEM, Tof-SIMS and other tools to characterize both old geological samples and products from experimental tests to verify origin of life theories.

The project will require interactions with several collaborative groups from University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and Chinese Academy of Sciences (China), Groups from University of California Santa Cruz with expertise spanning from, Biochemistry to Geology. 

Principal supervisor is Associate Prof. Tue Hassenkam, Geobiology section, The Globe Institute, or  Direct Phone: +45 2655 2030

Job description

The position is available for a 3-year period.

The successful applicant is required to spend 12 months in total with one of our Chinese collaborators. The PhD student must pursue a double degree according to the rules and regulations of the Danish university, the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Sino-Danish Center, which include passing a Chinese language and Culture course.

 Your key tasks as a PhD student are:

  • To manage and carry through your research project
  • Attend PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Conduct teaching and disseminate your research
  • Work for the department, (lab maintenance)
  • Part of the project and most of the teaching will be carried out in China (12 months in total, can be divided into shorter stays, e.g. 2x6 months, 3x4 months)

Formal requirements

We are looking for highly motivated candidates with the following criteria:

  • Must holds a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Nanoscience, Physics, Biophysics, Chemistry, Biochemistry or Geochemistry with good results
  • Has strong communication and collaboration skills, including the ability to work well in international academic settings.
  • Has excellent written and oral communication skills in English.

In the assessment of your qualifications, we will also consider your publications (if any) and relevant work experience, like experimental work.

According to the Partnership agreement between the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Danish Universities Chinese citizens including citizens from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao are not eligible for this position. PhD students from China (including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao) must seek enrollment through the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Place of employment

The place of employment is at the Geobiology section at the Globe Institute, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences all at the University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment.

Terms of employment

The Memorandum on Job Structure covers the position for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary begins around 27,593 DKK /approx. 3,695 EUR (April 2020-level) plus pension. Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

The fellowship is conditional upon the candidate’s successful enrolment in the PhD 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 candidate in consultation with the supervisors.

Application Procedure

The application must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Cover Letter in English detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any),
  • Research plan (optional) (max ½ page)
  • Full contact details (Name, address, telephone & email) of 1-3 professional referees

    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 1 July 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 Health and Medical Sciences. You can read more about the recruitment process at


For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor Associate Prof. Tue Hassenkam, Geobiology section, The Globe Institute, or, Direct Phone: +45 2655 2030


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.


Tue Hassenkam


Application deadline: 01-07-2020
Employment start: 01-09-2020
Department/Location: GLOBE Institute

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