PhD Position in Biology
University of Gothenburg Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences

PhD Position in Natural Science, specializing in Biology

Ref PAR 2021/205


The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 53 500 students and 6 500 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

At the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences (BioEnv) we have teaching and research activities that stretch from the alpine ecosystem, through forests, cultivated land and streams, all the way into the marine environment. In these environments we study different levels of biological organisation from genes, individuals and populations, to communities and ecosystems. We work within ecology, evolution, physiology, systematics and combinations of these fields in order to understand the impact of natural and anthropogenic changes of the environment.

The department is placed at three different localities: in Gothenburg Botanical garden, at Medicinarberget in Gothenburg and Kristineberg Marine Research Station. The current position is placed at Medicinareberget in Gothenburg.

Project description

The aim of the project is to improve production efficiency and environmental performance of salmonid fish in aquaculture, while maintaining fish health and welfare through improved vaccination strategies. In fish aquaculture, vaccination has proven to be an efficient way to prevent disease, which has drastically reduced the use of antibiotics. However, vaccinated farmed fish may have a reduced growth rate with up to 30%, representing a significant production loss and possibly a result of suboptimal health and welfare. The scientific objective of this project will be to elucidate the physiological mechanisms underlying negative effects of vaccination on growth, with focus on appetite endocrinology, metabolic rate, and intestinal health and function. The applicant will join a team of three senior scientists: Elisabeth Jönsson Bergman, project leader and main supervisor, and Henrik Sundh and Erik Sandblom, co-supervisors.

Job assignments

The main task is to conduct the PhD thesis work under supervision, which includes development of methodological experience, analytical skills, as well as theoretical depth and breadth. Techniques used within the project include physiological and analytical methods ranging from biochemical assays for hormone measurements, intestinal functions and immunology, to in vivo studies of metabolic rate (respirometry), as well as setting up protocols and conducting growth studies with vaccinated fish. The conducted studies will mostly be laboratory studies.

The work tasks also include statistical analyses, writing of scientific articles and dissemination of scientific results at both international and national conferences and seminars.

A second part of the doctoral studies is the doctoral courses that can be spread out during the whole 4-year period. Teaching can also be included (see below).

Third cycle education

Admission to third cycle education is aiming at a PhD in Natural Sciences, specializing Biology. The education runs for four years of full time studies, containing three years of thesis work and one year of academic education (i.e. course work and literature studies). A selection of courses at the Department/Faculty is available, but national/international courses can also be selected. Some teaching and/or course administration can be included, which extends the contract time by the same extent.


To be eligible for third-cycle studies, the applicant must meet both the general and specific entry requirements. A person meets the general entry requirements for third-cycle courses and study programs if he/she:
1. has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
2. has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle, or
3. has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

To meet the specific entry requirements for third-cycle studies, applicants must:
1. have a second-cycle (advanced-level) degree in a relevant* subject area in the natural sciences, or
2. have completed studies for at least 60 higher education credits at a second-cycle level in relevant subject areas in the natural sciences, or
3. have completed a corresponding programme of relevance to the planned third-cycle programme, in Sweden or in another country, or have equivalent qualifications.

*Relevant subjects for the planned third-cycle education are e.g., biology, animal or veterinary sciences, zoology, animal physiology, and aquaculture.


Rules regarding education and employment on a doctoral level can be found in Higher Education Ordinance (HF, SFS 1993:100). Only applicants who are admitted to the postgraduate level may be hired. Upon appointment, the degree of ability to successfully complete the PhD program must first be evaluated.

We seek a motivated person for PhD studies in biology, with emphasis on animal physiology.

Important selection criteria are that the applicants must possess the ability to work independently, as well as to collaborate as part of the research team, and that the applicant takes responsibility for his/her own learning and research. The candidate should have an interest in both practical, laboratory as well as theoretical work tasks. Evidence of previous research experience should be provided if available; for example, conference attendance, grant funding and scientific publications with a short description of the applicant’s role in the work.

In addition to the requirements listed above the applicants also need to have:

  • Excellent communication skillsin English, both written and spoken, are necessary since we work in an international environment.
  • Experience in physiological and biochemical methods
  • Experience in experimental work with fish and/or other animals

It is beneficial if the applicants also have:

  • Drivers licence
  • Previous merits from scientific publishing.

In addition to the formal qualification requirements, great emphasis will be placed on personal qualities and suitability for the position.

The application should preferably be written in English and must include:

  • A short cover letter with the applicant’s justification for the application, i.e., that describes how the applicant meets the selection criteria
  • An attested list of qualifications (CV)
  • Examination certificates and a transcript of courses with grades
  • A copy of the Master thesis (or equivalent)
  • Employments certificates and other documents deemed important by the applicant

The top ranked candidates will be selected for an interview, which might be held in English and could also be performed by phone/Zoom.


After admission to third-cycle studies you will be appointed to doctoral studentship. Regulations for employment of doctoral students are given in SFS 1993:100. The initial appointment may apply for no longer than one year. An appointment may be renewed for no more than two years at a time. A person may be appointed to a doctoral studentship for a total of eight years. The total employment period may, however, not exceed the time corresponding to full-time third-cycle study for four years.

Location: Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences. Extent: 100%. First day of employment: upon agreement.

Salaries for doctoral students are regulated in a local agreement at the University.

For further information please contact

Elisabeth Jönsson Bergman, Associate professor and project leader  
Phone: +46 31 786 3684


Henrik Aronsson, Professor and Head of Department
Phone: +46 31 786 48 02


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:

Information for International Applicants

Choosing a career in a foreign country is a big step. Thus, to give you a general idea of what we and Gothenburg have to offer in terms of benefits and life in general for you and your family/spouse/partner please visit:

How to apply

In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline. The selection of candidates is made on the basis of the qualifications registered in the application.

Closing date: April 16th, 2021

The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity.

Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.


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