Lunds universitet, institutionen för naturgeografi och ekosystemvetenskap

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Sciences. The Faculty is organized into nine departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

Subject description

How are the World’s forests responding to a changing climate? What is the role of forest dynamics in driving the huge uptake of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems? How long can we expect this uptake to continue? These are both fundamental ecological questions and ones of import to wider society in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation. We are looking for a fellow to join us in pursuit of answers. Our primary research tool is a state-of-the-art global vegetation model, LPJ-GUESS, which is particularly suited to the study of forest dynamics. Recent work has substantially upgraded the capability of LPJ-GUESS to assess different processes of tree mortality, a key process driving forest dynamics and currently one that is highly topical. The fellow will contribute to the on-going further development of these capabilities and their application to the questions above, working at regional and/or global scales. Particular areas of foci may include the response of forests to drought, the impact of forest disturbances and the role of forest management.

The fellow will work under the supervision of Thomas Pugh and alongside a wider team of researchers working on forest dynamics and ecosystem modelling at Lund University, in the related TreeMort ERC project ( and across Europe. They will also become part of the BECC research platform (, a collaboration between Lund University and the University of Gothenburg, which brings together over 250 researchers working on the topics related to biodiversity and ecosystem services under a changing climate.

Work duties

The main duties involved in a post-doctoral posistion is to conduct research. Teaching may also be included, but up to no more than 20% of working hours. The position shall include the opportunity for three weeks of training in higher education teaching and learning.

The fellow will be expected to lead/contribute to research in the topic area described above, including the development of experimental protocols, carrying out the related simulations and analysis, and leading writing of peer-reviewed papers based on the results. They will contribute to on-going model development work related to the simulation of tree mortality and forest dynamics. This will involve programming of the LPJ-GUESS model, carrying out new model simulations and evaluating the results against observational data. Exact topics and work plans will be agreed in discussion with their supervisor, but the fellow is expected to contribute substantially to the intellectual development of the work. The fellow will also be expected to contribute to or lead applications for external funding as necessary. Participation in national and international meetings and workshops related to the above is expected, as is carrying out related administration and communication activities.

Qualification requirements

Appointment to a post-doctoral position requires that the applicant has a PhD, or an international degree deemed equivalent to a PhD, within the subject of the position, completed no more than three years before the last date for applications. Under special circumstances, the doctoral degree can have been completed earlier.

Additional requirements:

  • Very good oral and written proficiency in English
  • Prior experience working with numerical models – preferably vegetation models.
  • Documented skills in computer programming, preferably in the C/C++ language family or similar
  • Direct experience of preparing and submitting high-quality scientific publications.
  • PhD in natural, biological or physical sciences, or documented substantial knowledge/experience in one or more of these areas in addition to a PhD in another subject

Assessment criteria and other qualifications

This is a career development position primarily focused on research. The position is intended as an initial step in a career, and the assessment of the applicants will primarily be based on their research qualifications and potential as researchers.

Particular emphasis will be placed on research skills within the subject.

For appointments to a post-doctoral position, the following shall form the assessment criteria:

  • A good ability to develop and conduct high quality research
  • Teaching skills

Additional assessment criteria:

  • Knowledge of forest ecosystem processes and their links to the wider Earth System. Specialist knowledge in forest dynamics or tree ecophysiology is an advantage, but not essential
  • Experience with environmental modelling, especially ecosystem models such as LPJ-GUESS
  • Competency in computer programming
  • Evidence of ability to develop and execute own research ideas, and act upon own initiative
  • Organisational skills, including ability and willingness to contribute to and coordinate community activities, such as model intercomparisons
  • Emphasis will be placed on the quality and quantity of scientific publications and other academic achievements indicative of emerging independence as a researcher

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant’s experience and skills complement and strengthen ongoing research within the department, and how they stand to contribute to its future development.

Terms of employment

This is a full-time, fixed-term employment of a maximum of 2 years. The period of employment is determined in accordance with the agreement “Avtal om tidsbegränsad anställning som postdoktor” (“Agreement on fixed-term employment as a post-doctoral fellow”) between Lund University, SACO-S, OFR/S and SEKO, dated 4 September 2008.

Instructions on how to apply

Applications shall be written in English and be compiled into a PDF-file containing:

  • an application letter detailing your motivation for this position, a general description of past research and future research interests (no more than two pages)
  • résumé/CV, including a list of publications
  • contact information of at least two references
  • copy of the doctoral degree certificate, and other certificates/grades that you wish to be considered

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset. We kindly decline all sales and marketing contacts.

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