The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 49 000 students and 6 400 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 organization 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 at the marine research station-Kristineberg. The current position is placed at Gothenburg Botanical garden.

Project description

Aquatic biofilms are benthic communities of microorganisms (bacteria, cyanobacteria, algae, fungi and protozoa) that control many biochemical cycles in fluvial ecosystems, and at the same time are very sensitive to toxicants exposure. To date, the role of biofilms to biodegrade organic pesticides and reduce their toxicity in fluvial ecosystems is not well known. This PhD project aims to quantify the capacity of aquatic biofilms to degrade pesticides, to identify microorganisms associated with higher pesticides biodegradation rates and, to determine enzymes and genes that participate in the metabolic pathways of biodegradation. Thereby, this research will provide crucial inputs about the potential of aquatic biofilms for pesticides bioremediation in polluted rivers.

This project will be conducted with the support of an interdisciplinary research team including researchers at the home university, University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology. The research team has expertise in freshwater ecology, microbial community ecology/ecotoxicology, metagenomics and bioinformatics.

Job assignments

The main task is to conduct the PhD thesis work under supervision, which includes development of the PhD student’s methodology experience, analytical skills, and theoretical depth and breadth. Techniques and approaches used within the project include degradation kinetics tests with labelled pesticides to assess chemical fate, dose-response toxicity tests, microcosms experiments to assess adaptation and community effects upon exposure to organic pesticides and, microbial genomics to identify microorganisms associated with higher pesticides biodegradation rates, enzymes and genes that participate in the metabolic pathways of biodegradation. The applicant will combine field and laboratory approaches.

Third cycle education

Admission to third cycle education is aiming at a PhD in Natural Science, specializing Environmental Science. The education runs for four years of fulltime 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 to the same extent.


Rules regarding education and employment on a doctoral level you will find in Högskoleförordningen (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 firstly be evaluated.

We are seeking a motivated person for PhD studies in microbial ecology/ecotoxicology with emphasis on pesticides biodegradation and eco-systems biology. The applicant should possess:

  • Experience or motivation in experimental approaches and tools for microorganism’s ecology/ecotoxicology.
  • Experience of sampling, microorganism’s cultivation, analytical methods for microorganisms, experience of planning and setting up experiments, molecular methods, microbial genomics and bioinformatics are considered as additional merits.
  • The applicant shall be able to work independently and have good cooperation skills.
  • Experience of research in international environments is an advantage.
  • Good communication skills, written and spoken, in English are necessary.

For more information and 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. 

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.