The Department of Physical Geography is one of the major departments within the Faculty of Science. The department has approximately 135 employees and educates approximately 2 000 students annually. Education is oriented towards geography, geosciences, biology-earth sciences, and environmental management. The main research areas are: Biogeography and Geomatics, Climate science and quaternary geology, Environment, resource dynamics and management, Geomorphology and glaciology, and Hydrology, Water resources and permafrost.

Project description
We seek a candidate for a PhD position for analyzing the effects of extreme weather events and land use change on species-rich grassland communities. The project is planned to be a combination of experimental and observational studies of plant community composition and the effect of extreme weather events, for example drought, flooding and late/early frosts, and land use change. It focuses on species-rich calcareous relict grassland assemblages like Alvar vegetation on islands in the Baltic, the Teesdale assemblage in the UK and the Burren on Ireland. All grassland types are restricted to relatively small geographical areas and out of a high conservation interest. In this project we aim to investigate the role of extreme weather events on different plant stages, from seed establishment, juveniles and adult plants and how it might change species composition in the future.

The project is part of the Bolin Center for Climate Research; research area 8 Biodiversity and climate. The work will have strong quantitative focus and include international exchanges and collaborations. The PhD candidate is expected to carry out inventories of plant communities, design experiments, map and analyze various spatiotemporal datasets of relevant climate, landscape and grazing changes. Meriting experience for a candidate includes Kärlväxtfloristik, Landscape Ecology, Statistics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Envisioned starting date is 1 January 2018 (can be negotiated).

Qualification requirements
In order to meet the general entry requirements, the applicant must have completed a second-cycle degree, completed courses equivalent to at least 240 higher education credits, of which 60 credits must be in the second cycle, or have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.

In order to meet the specific entry requirements, and to fulfil the general syllabus for doctoral studies in the field of Physical Geography, the candidate for this position should have obtained a MSc, acquired a total of 240 higher education credits (of which at least 60 at advanced level), or acquired in some alternative fashion, the equivalent knowledge in ecology, geoscience, environmental science or other relevant natural science.

Only a person who will be or has already been admitted to a third-cycle programme may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. The primary assessment criteria in appointing a doctoral student should be the capacity to benefit from the training.

The selection among the eligible candidates will be based on their capacity to benefit from the training and successfully complete the program. The following criteria will be used to assess this capacity: the candidates’ documented knowledge in the field of research, written and oral proficiency in English, the capacity for analytical thinking, the ability to collaborate, as well as creativity, initiative, and independence. The assessment will be based on previous experience and grades, the quality of the degree project, references, relevant experience, interviews, and the candidate’s written motivation for seeking the position.

Main assessment criteria for this position also include the candidate's ability to independently perform field work and in-situ experiment, modelling and analysis. Candidates must be self-motivated, committed and enthusiastic about working with quantitative and collaborative research in the field of this position. Experience from field investigations of plants, modelling, GIS, statistics and conservation are merits.

The PhD dissertation will be written in English.

Admission Regulations for Doctoral Studies at Stockholm University are available at:

Terms of employment
The term of the initial contract may not exceed one year. The employment may be extended for a maximum of two years at a time. However, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study.

Doctoral students should primarily devote themselves to their own education, but may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20 % of a full-time position.

Please note that admission decisions cannot be appealed.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

For more information, please contact Professor Sara Cousins, telephone: +46 8 16 47 67,

Further information about the position can be obtained from HR responsible Susanna Blåndman,

Union representatives
Anqi Lindblom-Ahlm (Saco-S) and Lisbeth Häggberg (Fackförbundet ST and Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 20 00 (operator), (SEKO), and PhD student representative,

Apply for the position at Stockholm University's recruitment system by clicking the "Apply" button. 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.

Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2–3 references

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • Cover letter
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of degree projects/theses
  • Research proposal (no more than 3 pages) describing: 
    – why you are interested in the field/project described in the advertisement 
    – why and how you wish to complete the project 
    – what makes you suitable for the project in question
  • Degree certificates and grades confirming that you meet the general and specific entry requirements (no more than 6 files)
  • Letters of recommendation (no more than 3 files)
  • Degree projects/theses (no more than 3 files).

The instructions for applicants are available at: Instructions – Applicants.

You are welcome to apply!

Stockholm University – our education and research produce results.

Closing date: 31/10/2017

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