PhD Scholarship in Microbial Communication

DTU Miljø
mandag 11 mar 19

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Frist 1. maj 2019
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Two 3-year PhD scholarships are available to study the microbial communication in electroactive microbiota, starting July 1st 2019 or shortly thereafter. The PhD projects will be supervised by Associate Professor Yifeng Zhang and is part of GENECHAT project funded by the Carlsberg Foundation Distinguished Fellowship Programme. The successful candidate will join a young, highly innovative, collaborative, productive, responsible, international, gender-balanced, and multidisciplinary team, which is a part of the Residual Resource Engineering Section at DTU Environment.


GENECHAT will employ microbial electrochemistry, microbiology, genomics and bioinformatics, and biological modelling tools to explore how electroactive bacteria communicate with neighboring microbes, which is still a long-standing question in science.

Responsibilities and tasks

The PhD projects aim to EXPLORE the between exoelectrogens and neighboring microbes, UNVEIL the underlying mechanisms, and subsequently use the knowledge to MANIPULATE the microbiome on the electrode/minerals for more efficient electron transfer and, finally, to VALIDATE the knowledge with specific microbial electrochemical applications such as inorganic bioartificial photosynthesis.


Beside laboratory work, you are expected to be able to:

  • Active dissemination of the obtained results, in high-impact scientific articles and through participation in international conferences, is an integral part of the job.
  • Take both mandatory and elective course as part of the project.
  • Participation in teaching (as assistant) is mandatory for PhD students at DTU.
  • Participation in supervision of students will also be an integrated part of the job. 

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree, in biological sciences, microbiology, biology, or any other relevant field.


The ideal candidate should have a strong background in laboratory methods including microbiology, molecular biology, genetic engineering, and in computational methods including bioinformatics and modelling.


Background in any of these subjects would be useful, but more important are enthusiasm for microbial evolution and ecology, self-motivation, and should thrive in a highly ambitious research group that aims to establish new research fields.


Students will also develop general research skills such as scientific writing, presentation, literature reviewing, and statistical analysis. Good communication skills in both written and spoken English are expected.

Approval and Enrolment

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.


We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms

The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.
Further information

Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Yifeng Zhang, tel.: +45 4525 1410, email:, or Head of Residual Resource Engineering Section, Professor Thomas Fruergaard Astrup, tel: +45 4525 1558, email:


You can read more about DTU Environment at


Please submit your online application no later than 1 May 2019 (local time)


To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill in the online application form. The following must be attached in English:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.


Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.


DTU Environment is one of the largest university departments specializing in environmental engineering in Europe. Research is conducted by an international staff consisting of 30 faculty members, approximately 20 post-doctoral fellows, 20 visiting foreign scientists and 55 Ph.D. students. The staff is supported by a range of technicians who provide expertise on state of the art instrumentation and experimental techniques. The researchers at DTU Environment are drawn from the best universities in more than 15 different countries. DTU Environment obtains research funding from a variety of sources including the Commission of the European Union, national research councils, the Danish EPA, industry, utility companies, municipalities, research foundations and international organizations.


DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.