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Costs and benefits of low dose toxicant exposures in interaction with environmental stress

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Bioscience programme. The position is available from 1 May 2021 or later.


Title:
Costs and benefits of low dose toxicant exposures in interaction with environmental stress


Research area and project description:
The Department of Bioscience, Section for Terrestrial Ecology, at Aarhus University and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (MSCA-ITN) project “CRronic exposure scenarios driving enviRONmental rIsks of Chemicals (CHRONIC)” offer an Early Stage Researcher (PhD Student) position “Costs and benefits of low dose toxicant exposures in interaction with environmental stress”.

CHRONIC is a European Training Network funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 956009. CHRONIC will include 13 PhD projects aimed at developing tools and approaches to identify relevant non-standard modes of toxic action for low-dose chronic chemical exposure and integrate these with environmental stressors. CHRONIC includes 10 academic institutions, research centres, government institutions, SMEs, and an NGO, all with extensive experience in education and training and a high state-of-the-art scientific and technical expertise and infrastructure. Therefore, this program will lay the basis for an integrated approach to environmental risk assessment that includes non-standard, yet ecologically relevant, endpoints and low-dose chronic chemical exposure as key elements. CHRONIC include training-by-research, joint courses covering technical, scientific, ethical, and transferable skills. Students will also engage actively in communication with scientific and public communities and be enrolled in an ambitious intersectional networking exchange plan to increase employability and provide a broad perspective for their future career plan.

The present PhD project will investigate interactive chronic, low-doses of a model toxicant and exposures to both stressful temperature and moisture conditions, as well as simulated natural fluctuations in temperature and moisture regimes (e.g. several regimes of increasing stress) in soil invertebrates. Studies will assess interactions among stressors affecting life history (e.g. fecundity and longevity) and underlying physiological mechanisms (e.g. adaptive hardening under stressful temperature and low humidity). Transcriptomic analysis of candidate genes (metallothioneins; immune system-related genes; ROS defence, heat shock proteins etc.) will be quantified to develop AOPs for chronic combined stressor exposures. The aim is to investigate and compare low-dose chronic chemical effects across different environmental conditions to determine the specificity or generality of interaction multiple stressor effects (additive, antagonistic, synergistic) and obtain fundamental understanding of the links between the molecular and the phenotypic responses.


Qualifications and specific competences:
The applicant must have a Master’s degree in biology, molecular biology, ecophysiology, environmental biology or other relevant fields, preferably with knowledge and experience in analytical chemistry, transcriptomics, ecological genomics or environmental toxicology. Fluency in English (working language) is a requirement.

MSCA eligibility criteria:

  1. At the date of recruitment the applicants for the MSCA fellowship must have no PhD and less than 4 years of full-time equivalent research experience from the award of the degree that entitles them to undertake a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the applicant is to be recruited).

  2. The applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Denmark for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.

These eligibility requirements are non-negotiable, and ineligible applicants will not be considered.

Eligible applicants can be of any nationality.


Place of employment and place of work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is the Department of Bioscience, Vejlsøvej 25, DK-8600 Silkeborg, Denmark. 


Contacts:
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

Professor Martin Holmstrup, Email: martin.holmstrup@bios.au.dk


Application procedures

Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at the graduate school is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” are documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test (internet-based), minimum score: 83. The graduate school does not accept the paper-based test, nor the TOEFL ITP test. Remember to ask the test center to send your test results to Aarhus University in order to enable verification of your test results. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935.
    Currently, the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test (available in selected areas) will also be accepted.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points/
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to gsts@psys.au.dk no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at a Danish university for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.

The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to https://phd.tech.au.dk/for-applicants/apply-here/ - Note, the online application system opens on 1 December 2020.
Choose February 2021 Call with deadline 1 February 2021 at noon (11.59 AM CEST).
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme “Bioscience”.

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: “Costs and benefits of low dose toxicant exposures in interaction with environmental stress”
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

All information in the application must be in English or Danish, preferably English. A certified English translation is required for documents written in languages other than English or one of the Scandinavian languages (i.e. Norwegian, Swedish or Danish) languages.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts, grade point averages (weighted and unweighted), and diploma(s) for both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. If the original documents are not in English or one of the Scandinavian languages (i.e. Norwegian, Swedish or Danish) then copies of the original documents as well as a certified English translation must be attached.
  • Project description (½-4 pages). For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. When - as here - you apply for a specific project, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed.

The graduate school reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSTS Application Guide.

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.

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