PhD Fellowship in Environmental and Biological Analytical Chemistry
University of Copenhagen Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences

PhD fellowship in Environmental and Biological Analytical Chemistry

PhD Project in comprehensive two-dimensional liquid chromatography

The Analytical Chemistry research group at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a 3-year PhD position in environmental and biological analytical chemistry with focus on non-target screening analysis of complex samples like plant leaves, wastewater, and bio-oils using comprehensive two-dimensional liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. The PhD-project aims to establish and apply a two-dimensional liquid chromatopgraphy platform, and will contribute to the research projects The Matrix, funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, and Vandalf, funded by Innovation Fund Denmark, as well as a research collaboration with Haldor Topsøe A/S.

Start date is expected to be 1 January 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter. The place of employment will be at Campus Frederiksberg in central Copenhagen.

The project

The PhD project will focus primarily on development and application of comprehensive two-dimensional liquid chromatography mass spectrometry platforms for plant leaves and associated microbes, wastewater and bio-oils, but also on specialized ionization techniques applicable to leaves surfaces i.e. desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. The position may also involve establishing workflows for chromatographic and mass spectral signal processing of the resulting data, multivariate statistical analysis and/or compound identification using chemoinformatics. The PhD student will be part of larger research consortia and associated to research projects on plant-microbe interaction in the phyllo-sphere (The Matrix, a project under the Novo Nordisk Foundation Collaborative Crop Resilience Programme), linking the chemical fingerprint of wastewater to toxicity (Vandalf, an Innovation Fund Denmark Grand Solutions Project) and on detailed characterization of bio-oils in collaboration with industry partners.

The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:

  • To manage and carry through your research project
  • Attend PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Teach and disseminate your research
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad
  • Work for the department

Who are we looking for?

Formal requirements

Applicants should hold an MSc degree in Analytical Chemistry or equivalent with good results and good English skills.

Your qualifications:

As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications, emphasis will also be laid on:

  • Previous publications (if any) and scientific writing skills, incl a high motivation for litterature work and scientific writing
  • Relevant work/practical experience with:
  • Liquid chromatography, two-dimensional chromatography, (surface) ionisation techniques, mass spectrometry and including troubleshooting, method development, validation, quality control
  • Customization of analytical equipment
  • Suspect screening and non-target screening analysis
  • Plants, wastewater and/or bio-oils
  • Applied chromatographic and mass spectrometry data processing
  • Good collaborative skills, and the ability to work in project groups where collaborative efforts are needed to achieve the objectives
  • Teaching experience and motivation
  • Positive mind-set, a structured approach to research, and the ability to communicate and discuss aims, methodology, results and conclusions with supervisors and project partners, and modify these accordingly and in iterations.

Experience with project management is a plus, but not mandatory.

Our group and research- and what do we offer?

The PhD-student will be a part of the Analytical Chemistry Group. The research focus of the group is on suspect and non-target screening in biological and environmental matrices. For this we use primarily chromatography-mass spectrometry platforms and advanced and customized signal processing. The group consists of app. 15 people and in addition to this continuously around 15 project students. The group conducts teaching at BSc-, MSc- and PhD-level in Analytical Chemistry, Sampling and Sample Preparation, Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry, Arctic Pollution Research and Big Data.

We offer the possibility for close interaction or collaboration with fellow PhD-students, and other students and scientific staff in a mixed international/Danish environment. Our research facility, Research Centre for Advanced Analytical Chemistry (RAACE) include modern laboratories and instrumentation: PLE, automated SPE, UHPLC, GC, SFC, 2DLC, 2DGC, ESI/APCI/APPI-QqTOFMS, -TOFMS and -QqQ, EI-TOF and -Q.

The group is a part of Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. We are located in Copenhagen.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor, Nikoline Juul Nielsen, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences,, Direct Phone: +45 35332344.

The PhD programme

Depending of your level of education, you can undertake the PhD programme as either:

Option A: A three year full-time study within the framework of the regular PhD programme (5+3 scheme), if you already have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master’s degree.

Option B: An up to five year full-time study programme within the framework of the integrated MSc and PhD programme (the 3+5 scheme), if you do not have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master´s degree – but you have an education equivalent to a Danish bachelors´s degree.


Option A: Getting into a position on the regular PhD programme

Qualifications needed for the regular programme
To be eligible for the regular PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. analytical chemistry, chemistry or environmental chemistry. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.

Terms of employment in the regular programme

Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The terms of employment and salary are in accordance to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Salary range starts at DKK 27,588.59 per month incl. PhD supplement (1 April 2021 level).

Option B: Getting into a position on the integrated MSc and PhD programme

Qualifications needed for the integrated MSc and PhD programme

If you do not have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master´s degree, you might be qualified for the integrated MSc and PhD programme, if you have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish bachelor´s degree. Here you can find out, if that is relevant for you: General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.  

Terms of the integrated programme

To be eligible for the integrated scholarship, you are (or are eligible to be) enrolled at one of the faculty’s master programmes in Chemistry or Environmental Sciences.

Students on the integrated programme will enroll as PhD students simultaneously with completing their enrollment in this MSc degree programme.

The duration of the integrated programme is up to five years, and depends on the amount of credits that you have passed on your MSc programme. For further information about the study programme, please see:, “Study Structures”.

Until the MSc degree is obtained, (when exactly two years of the full 3+5 programme remains), the grant will be paid partly in the form of 48 state education grant portions (in Danish: “SU-klip”) plus salary for work (teaching, supervision etc.) totalling a workload of at least 150 working hours per year.
A PhD grant portion is DKK 6,243.
Salary is DKK 221.34 per working hour (+ 12.5% holiday pay).(1 April 2021 level)

When you have obtained the MSc degree, you will transfer to the salary-earning part of the scholarship for a period of two years. At that point, the terms of employment and payment will be according to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure. Salary range starts at DKK 27,568.13 per month incl. PhD supplement.

Responsibilities and tasks in both PhD programmes

  • Complete and pass the MSc education in accordance with the curriculum of the MSc programme
    (ONLY when you are attending the integrated MSc and PhD programme)
  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

We are looking for the following qualifications:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other relevant professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in analytical chemistry, and in particular in liquid chromatography and multi-dimensional separations.
  • Good language skills


Application and Assessment Procedure

 Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include: 

  1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  2. A project proposal for the PhD-period including suggested aims, technical aspects of comprehensive 2DLC and DESI, and suggested collaborative trials with The Matrix, Vandalf and a bio-oil research collaboration
  3. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  4. Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another 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.
  5. Publication list (if possible)
  6. Reference letters (if available)

Application deadline:  *The deadline for applications is Sunday 17 October 2021, 23:59 GMT +2.

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 deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment.

The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at

Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in second half of November 2021.


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

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website:

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 


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.


Nikoline Juul Nielsen


Application deadline: 17-10-2021
Employment start: 01-01-2022
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences

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