The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers

PhD fellowship (Fish Health) in RASOPTA at the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen

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    University of Copenhagen
    Biological sciencesOther
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    15/09/2021 00:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Denmark › Copenhagen


A 3-year PhD fellowship is available at the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, with an expected start January 1st 2022.
The fellowship is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 956481.
The RASOPTA consortium consists of enthusiastic academic researchers and innovative non-academic partners. The consortium will together train a new generation of scientists with expertise in sustainable and healthy fish production based on a minimum of water consumption. Production of fish in recirculated aquaculture systems (RAS) requires experiences from several scientific disciplines, but there is need to bridge existing knowledge gaps and connect expertise in different branches to ensure a high water quality, healthy and non-stressed fish, and a supreme consumer quality of the fish. Therefore, in RASOPTA state-of-the-art training within disciplines relevant for RAS technology will be provided by 10 universities/research institutions and 8 non-academic partners in 8 countries. The project will improve microbial processes in RAS securing a high water quality, develop systems to identify flavour compounds that may affect consumer preference for RAS fish, and ensure optimal health and welfare of the fish. The research also aims at developing a DNA-based chip for early warning of quality and health of the fish. To reach the interdisciplinary goals in RASOPTA, the consortium will train 12 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in disciplines ranging from chemistry, microbiology and molecular biology, to physiology and pathology of fish.
About your project

  • You will contribute to a focus area on fish health in work package 3 of the RASOPTA project with 4 other ESRs who are located in Spain (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, UAB), Faroe Islands (Faroese Food & Vet. Authority, FFVA), Hungary (Agrártudományi Kutatóközpont “Agricultural Research Center”, ATK) and Denmark (Technical University of Denmark, DTU).

To develop the DNA-based chip tool there is a need to correlate the amount of DNA in water surrounding the fish (environmental DNA = eDNA) and correlate this to the stage of disease in the fish and pathogen load. Therefore, the candidate will conduct infection trials of rainbow trout and zebrafish in controlled experimental settings with parasites and bacteria. The candidate will do pathological examinations of the fish as well as quantifying pathogen load and purifying and quantifying eDNA from the water.

  • The candidate will work in close contact with the ESR at DTU, who will develop the actual assays for the chip. The other ESRs in the project will contribute to the development of the chip with relevant assays and reference material. The candidate will focus on interpretation of eDNA in the water.


  • Mobility within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie project is of high importance, and you are therefore expected to spend approximately 10 months in total at three other universities (DTU (Denmark), UAB (Spain), UTAS (Tasmania)) and at one industrial partner (Atlantic Sapphire, Denmark). In some instances, time spent at other institutions may only be virtual.


  • The candidate will be enrolled at the Graduate Programme of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Copenhagen (https://isim.ku.dk/gpiid/). The graduate program requires the student to obtain 30 ECTS points during the three-year period in order to graduate. Mandatory training activities in RASOPTA will contribute 12 ECTS to the ESRs. A broad set of PhD courses are offered (https://phdcourses.ku.dk/).

Eligibility criteria
- The candidate must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Denmark for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment - unless as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention[1].
- The candidate must be Early Stage Researcher (ESR): at the time of recruitment he/she must be in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent research experience)[2] of his/her research careers and must not have been awarded a doctoral degree.
Further requirements
Qualifications: Master’s degree, preferably within fish health, molecular biology, biotechnology, eDNA or a closely related field. To be considered for the position, it is a condition that your Master’s degree is equivalent to a Danish Master’s degree. We encourage you to read more in the assessment database: : https://ufm.dk/en/education/recognition-and-transparency/find-assessments/assessment-database. Please note that we might ask you to obtain an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.
Experience: Experiences in organizing and structuring laboratory work; Experimental work with fish; teaching and supervision.
Knowledge and skills: Basic knowledge on fish health, immunology, pathology and molecular biology; good communication skills; fluency in written and spoken English.  
Abilities: Interpreting scientific literature and understanding the research process are essential. Communication with non-academic staff, e.g. during secondments at industrial partners; capacity to collaborate but also work independently.
Other: Self-motivated and critical approach to work; willingness to learn new skills; willing to travel and stay at secondment institutions and companies.
Preferred but not required: Passed course in laboratory animal science course FELASA C or equivalent.
About The Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (DVAS)
Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences educates skilled candidates and creates new knowledge in food safety, antibiotic resistance, animal models and welfare, animal and human immune systems and lifestyle diseases. The department covers research related to a wide spectrum of animal and human diseases in close collaboration with other departments at the University of Copenhagen. Our researchers are excellent in cell pathology, host-agent interactions, food safety and health. At the Section for Parasitology and Aquatic Pathobiology (PAP), where the student will be located, parasites and other infections in humans and animals including fish are studied. The main focus is on population and infection biology, host immunity, parasite-induced immune-modulation, parasitic zoonoses and disease control.
The 480 employees at DVAS collaborate with several national and international research institutions in a creative, open and dynamic work environment. DVAS wishes our staff to reflect on the diversity of the society and thus, the department welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.
Terms of employment
Employment will start at January 1st 2022.
It is conditioned upon the applicant’s successful enrolment as a PhD student at the Graduate School at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences/ the PhD School of Science at the Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant in collaboration with the main supervisor.
The PhD study must be completed in accordance with a) The Ministerial Order on the PhD program (2013), b) the rules and regulations laid down by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action European Training Network, c) and the Faculty’s rules on achieving the degree.
Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the EU MSCA rules and the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary begins around 27,788 DKK /approx. 3.736 EUR (April 2021-level) plus pension and a possible MSCA supplement.
More information
More information about DVAS can be found at https://ivh.ku.dk/english/. For further information about the position, applicants may contact Associate Professor Louise von Gersdorff Jørgensen (phone: +45-22833464; email:lvgj@sund.ku.dk) or Professor Kurt Buchmann (phone +45-35332700; email:kub@sund.ku.dk).
Your application must be submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now’ below.
The application must include a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, diplomas (e.g. exam scores), language certificates, contact information for possible reference persons, as well as any other relevant material.
The closing date for applications is September 15th 2021. Candidates must submit their application electronically via “apply now below” or via the following link: https://employment.ku.dk/phd/
Ye further process
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of an Interview Committee.
You can read about the recruitment process at http://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/
The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.
Selected candidates are invited for interviews in October 2021.

[1] 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol
[2] This is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him or her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate is or was ever envisaged.

More Information

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
University of Copenhagen
Nørregade 10

EURAXESS offer ID: 671203


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