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3-year postdoc position in environmental DNA analyses of biodiversity with strong focus on bioinformatics

The Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Denmark, invites applications for a 3-year postdoc position in environmental DNA analyses. The position is available from 1st of April 2020.

Research area and project description
The use of environmental DNA (eDNA) is rapidly changing the way that scientists obtain biological information on the living world, and we are continuously improving means and applications of molecular ecological analyses. As part of a research project funded by the Carlsberg foundation, we are seeking a highly-motivated postdoc to work with high-throughput eDNA analyses from a range of different environmental samples - water, soil, plants and faecal samples - collected along latitudinal and environmental gradients. Samples will be analysed using a Tree-of-Life metabarcoding framework in association with environmental variables to test fundamental assumptions about the distribution of biodiversity.

The project will also include experimental projects dedicated to study the origin, state and transport of eDNA in the aquatic environment, and test novel sequencing approaches such as nanopore sequencing. A major component of the work will be development and improvement of bioinformatics pipelines to analyse eDNA data from next-generation sequencing. Studies will span from analyses of entire biological communities to population genetics of selected target species. There will also be opportunities for developing own research ideas related to environmental DNA and molecular ecology in collaboration with the group.

Qualifications and Specific Competences
Applicants must have a PhD degree or equivalent, or have submitted their PhD thesis for assessment before the application deadline. We seek a candidate with expertise in:

  • Bioinformatics and statistical analyses of next-generation sequencing data.
    Particularly: Programming languages, especially R, bash and Python; pipelines for next-generation sequencing data analyses such as DADA2, Mothur, SAMtools; experience with running (many parallel) jobs on computer clusters
  • Ecological data analyses, hereunder experience with R
    Particularly: R packages such as vegan, BiodiversityR and ade4 for e.g. clustering, ordination, accumulation and rarefaction analyses of read data
  • DNA laboratory work (preferably eDNA)
    Particularly: eDNA extraction, eDNA metabarcoding, Illumina library building
  • Field work
    Particularly: Collection of eDNA samples and environmental variables, and traditional biodiversity surveys

The candidate is expected to have good collaborative skills and proven abilities to publish at a high international level as well as experience in project management. The successful candidate will also be responsible for the daily management of his/her research project in coordination with other members of the group, and will be actively involved in the training and co-supervision of other staff members and students.

Place of Employment and Work
This postdoc will be part of a new and expanding research group on environmental DNA led by Associate Professor Philip Francis Thomsen. The place of employment and work is Section for Genetics, Ecology and Evolution, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. More information about the people and research activities of the section can be found at:

Starting date: April 1st 2020 (somewhat flexible).

Contact information
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact: Philip Francis Thomsen ( or telephone +4527142046.

Applications must be submitted online and received by:
20th of February 2020

Application procedure
Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants, including the main considerations emphasized during the selection process.

Formalities and salary range
Science and Technology refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities.

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here.

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Aarhus University
Aarhus University is an academically diverse and research-intensive university with a strong commitment to high-quality research and education and the development of society nationally and globally. The university offers an inspiring research and teaching environment to its 38,000 students (FTEs) and 8,000 employees, and has an annual revenues of EUR 885 million. Learn more at

20 February 2020


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