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.

The research project “HAPPY SALMON” funded by NORDFORSK, announces a doctoral position with placement at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at University of Gothenburg.

The Happy Salmon consortium constitutes Nordic research and industrial partners, gathering four world-renowned academic research environments from Norway, Sweden and Iceland that have teamed up with the aquaculture production and feed industry represented by one large, multinational feed company, Skretting, two large salmon producers, Laxar Fiskeldi Ltd and Arctic Fish Ltd, as well as two SMEs and entrepreneurs, Swedish Algae Factory and Smögenlax/Rena Hav AB. The PhD student will work in close collaboration with a PhD student in Bergen, Norway as well as participate in the PhD student network within NORDFORSK.

The "Happy Salmon" project aims are to contribute with knowledge and solutions for a successful Atlantic salmon smolt production using novel sustainable feeds that are applicable in modern recirculating land-based farming systems. Smoltification is the life stage transition when the young salmon changes habitat from a life in freshwater to seawater and includes a spectrum of physiological changes for the fish to be able to cope with increased salinity. Smoltification is regarded as a stressful process, and the current smolt production protocols used by industry often lead to depressed appetite, stunted growth and impaired health and welfare of the fish, as well as a major production cost for the industry. To overcome these problems, the project will troubleshoot smolt production bottlenecks by targeting the underlying physiological mechanisms to salmon performance during different production cycle stages. The project will test if alternative feeds based on marine raw materials, directly using marine microalgae and side streams or indirectly using insects, will lead to a robust smolt prepared for a life in seawater, with high appetite and growth.

The PhD student will join a team of three senior scientists: Henrik Sundh, main supervisor, Elisabeth Jönsson Bergman, project leader and co- supervisor and Kristina “Snuttan” Sundell co-supervisor in the Fish Endocrinology Laboratory research group at BioEnv.

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 that will be used within the project are various biochemical and physiological methods; for example, electrophysiological, molecular, and histological methods for examining intestinal functions and immunology as well as radioimmunoassays for measuring hormones.

The tasks also include designing experiments and treatment protocols for growth trials. The studies will be conducted mostly as a lab. studies but also includes statistical analyzes, writing scientific articles and presenting results at both international and national conferences and seminars.

Third cycle education

Admission to third cycle education is aiming at a PhD in Natural Sciences, specializing in 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.


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.

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


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, o
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 program of relevance to the planned third-cycle program, 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 in fish physiology 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.

Excellent communication skills in English, both written and spoken, are necessary since we work in an international environment. The applicant also needs to have experience from physiological and biochemical methods, and experimental work on fish and / or other animals.

Previous experience of scientific publishing is an advantage as well as a driving license. In addition to the formal qualification requirements, great emphasis will be placed on personal qualities and suitability for PhD studies.

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 (maximum one A4-page)
  • 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.

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 application must be received no later than: 2021-08-08

For further information, please contact:

Henrik Sundh, Researcher and main supervisor
Phone: +46 31 786 12 62


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



Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:

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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.