PhD Position in Plant and Soil Ecology, SLU Umeå

Umeå, Sweden

Position Title: PhD Position in Plant and Soil Ecology

Organization: SLU, Umeå

Position Overview:

This position will broadly focus on temperature effects on functional trait composition of plant and soil communities (microbes, nematodes, and other groups of soil fauna). For this, you will use forest-alpine and forest-tundra ecotones (from woody- to herbaceous-dominated vegetation) which cover temperature gradients on par with expected global warming scenarios. In the field, you will link the trait composition of plant and soil communities to ecosystem functions, in particular carbon and nutrient cycling. You will also use temperature-controlled climate chambers for mesocosm studies using plant and soil material collected from the field. This may include soil sterilization and re-inoculation approaches. The scope of this PhD project is deliberately broad, and is adaptable to suit the specific interests of the student that is appointed. This project would be ideal for anyone intending to specialize in community ecology, ecosystem ecology, plant ecology, or soil ecology.


We are seeking an enthusiastic and highly motivated candidate with excellent communication skills in written and verbal English, and a strong work ethic. Critical and creative thinking are essential skills. We seek a candidate who is capable of conducting primary research (in the field and in the lab) and developing scientific publications. The successful candidate need to be able to work in a team context as well as independently. Very good numerical and statistical skills and previous experiences with analyses of soil microbes or soil fauna are preferred. A driving license is required for travelling to field sites. Academic requirements include a M.Sc. (or comparable degree*) in Ecology or a closely related discipline, with an emphasis on plants and/or soils and/or global change. Applications from both Sweden and elsewhere in the world are welcome, and we particularly look forward to applications from under-represented groups in this area of research.  

The main supervisor for this PhD position is Dr. Paul Kardol. Co-supervisors are Dr. Maja Sundqvist (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), Prof. Aimée Classen (University of Michigan, USA), and Prof. David Wardle (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore).

Salary: Employment as a PhD student for 4 years. Please see full job description for more information.

Start Date: Flexible – Between October 1, 2021 and January 1, 2022

Application Deadline: August 2, 2021

How to apply & application deadline:

A person has basic eligibility for third cycle education if he or she has taken a second cycle qualification or has completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, including at least 60 higher education credits at second cycle education. Upper secondary school grades equivalent to English B/English 6 are a basic requirement.

Selection among applicants meeting the requirements is made with reference to 1) a 1-2 page cover letter in English, describing yourself and your motivation and match to the above-mentioned project; 2) a curriculum vitae, including your education, publications (if any), and relevant work experience; 3) certified copies of degrees and transcripts of academic records, and one copy of the dissertation for masters or undergraduate degree; 4) a list of at least three references familiar with the applicant’s qualifications; 5) certified knowledge of the English language. An interview be the final part of the selection for top-ranked candidates.

Please observe that applicant/s chosen to participate in an interview shall hand in certified true copies of certificates, diplomas and transcripts from previous studies at an internationally recognized higher education institution (university or university college) and transcripts in connection to the interview. If the applicant is a foreign citizen we require a certified copy of the page in your passport with your personal data and photography.

Please, note that this is one of two open PhD positions in the THRESHOLD project. If you are also interested in the other position (Ref nr, you will need to send in two separate applications.  

Read about the PhD education at SLU at

To view the full job description as well as how to apply, click here