PhD position in soil microbial ecology: Sweden/France

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala, Sweden and SATT SAYENS (SAYENS), Dijon, France are offering a PhD position in soil microbial ecology, expected to start May 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter. The PhD will be awarded by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. This position is part of the MSCA-ITN-H2020 project ARISTO – European Industry – Academia Network for Revising and Advancing the Assessment of the Soil Microbial Toxicity of Pesticides.

Project title: Assessment of the ecotoxicity of pesticides on nitrifiers in soil

Project description of the PhD student: To detect potential toxic effects of pesticides on natural microbial soil assemblages, bacteria and archaea involved in nitrification will be used as indicators. Toxic effects can be both direct and indirect, affecting the functioning of soils and their capacity to cope with additional stressors. The aim of the PhD student project is to assess the toxicity of pesticides on the function and diversity of ammonia oxidizing bacteria and archaea, and on other functional groups involved in nitrification in soil. Specific objectives are to identify (i) toxicity endpoints on activity, abundance and diversity of nitrifiers; (ii) toxicity mechanisms on ammonia oxidizing bacteria and archaea; (iii) interaction effects on functional groups involved in nitrification; (iv) stability of functional groups involved in nitrification (i.e. resistance and resilience to secondary stressors). This work goes beyond direct effects of pesticides on ammonia oxidizing bacteria and archaea and brings new knowledge on the use of stability of soil functioning as a bioindicator and establishes novel procedures for assessing pesticide toxicity on soil microorganisms. The PhD student will work with lab and field experiments using a range of molecular techniques (e.g. amplicon sequencing, qPCR) as well as bioinformatic and biostatistical tools. This PhD project involves also secondments for short periods as given below.

Principal supervisor: Prof. Sara Hallin,, and Dr. Abdelwahad Echairi,

Planned secondments: Ecole Centrale de Lyon, France. Supervisor: Prof. G. Nicol (2 months). Purpose: analyses based on Stable Isotope Proping (SIP) to obtain insights on toxicity mechanisms of pesticides on ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms.

Key criteria for the assessment of candidates

  • A master’s degree relevant to the subject area of the project
  • Documented expertise in soil microbial ecology and skills in bioinformatics, biostatistics, molecular biology is desired
  • Previous research publications are merits
  • Other professional activities will be considered
  • Language skills: fluency in English, both written and oral are required

Place of Employment

  1. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Department of Forest ecology and plant pathology, Uppsala, Sweden
  2. SATT SAYENS, Department of Agroenvironment, Dijon, France

Formal requirements and eligibility for all available positions
At the time of commencement, it is required that the candidate shall at the date of recruitment, be in the first four years (full time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. Furthermore, the candidate must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the countries where the hosting organizations are located for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.

Terms of employment
Recruitment and Terms of appointment will be done according to the rules and regulations of the hosting institutions and according to the rules and regulations laid down by European Union’s Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Initial Training Networks. The stipend includes a living allowance (3270 €, adjusted by a country correction factor), mobility allowance (600 €) and family allowance (500 €), the latter allowance depending on the family status of the fellow. All PhD fellowships available involves a split PhD studentship between an academic and an industrial partner, while the fellow will also spend time to other partners through short secondments.

Application Procedure
The application, in English, must be submitted by email to the supervisors of each advertised position and the coordinator of the project You are encouraged to apply for more than one of the available positions. In this case please indicate the position for which you are applying.

For your application please include

  • Motivation Letter, stating which PhD project you are applying, why you want to pursue a PhD career in academic and industrial sectors, and to what extent does the given project complies with your skills and ambition.
  • A statement if (and which) you have applied for other ARISTO PhD fellowships
  • Full CV including studies, research experience, work experience and publications if any
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • 3 professional referees (Name, address, telephone & email)
  • Documentation of English language qualifications
More information
Share this opportunity