35 PhD positions within the Doctoral Programme, TALENT

University of Copenhagen – Faculty of Science

Co-funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801199. 

The 35 PhD fellowships are in the following fields:

Biodiversity; biological sciences and bioinformatics; chemical sciences; computer sciences; earth and planetary systems sciences; envirionment, climate and sustainability; food sciences; health and genomics; mathematical sciences, statistics & economics; nano and materials sciences; natural science education; nutrition and sports; particle physics, astro physics and cosmology; plant sciences and biotechnology; quantum sciences and technology; ressource economics and global development.

All departments at the Faculty of Science participate in the TALENT programme: Department of Biology, Department of Chemistry, Department of Computer Science, Department of Food and Resource Economics, Department of Food Science, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Department of Science Education and the Niels Bohr Institute.

The Doctoral Programme TALENT is offering 35 PhD scholarships in the above-mentioned 16 areas, commencing no later than 1 October 2019. Earliest indicative start date 1 August 2019.

Description of SCIENCE and the 11 departments and the PhD School

Research at SCIENCE rests on two pillars: on the one hand strong basic research, and on the other application-oriented research, which contributes to growth and employment and solves societal problems, for example within climate change, sustainable energy supplies, biological production, environmental challenges, food and water safety, lifestyle diseases and IT security.

In Horizon 2020, the EU Research and Innovation programme (2014-2020), the University of Copenhagen is number two in Europe when it comes to attracting Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Actions. To exemplify this, SCIENCE has 128 Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Actions. Moreover, SCIENCE researchers have received 28 grants from the European Research Council in Horizon 2020. SCIENCE is also host to 12 Centers of Excellence financed by the Danish National Research Foundation. These accomplishments show that SCIENCE’s research environments have the academic weight to attract researchers at a high international level. This again testifies to the fact that the TALENT programme constitutes an extraordinary opportunity for doing a PhD. 

The PhD School at SCIENCE, in which the TALENT PhD students will be enrolled, has over 1,100 students and app. 55% of them come from outside of Denmark, originating from 75 different countries. This means that even the PhD environment is highly international and competitive.

Read more about the research, the 11 departments and the PhD School at SCIENCE and the targeted training offered through the TALENT programme. 

Why apply?

TALENT is an international and interdisciplinary PhD programme, which offers researchers the chance to become part of a cohort of exceptionally talented PhD students with the opportunity to cultivate their research talent. To this end, we offer:

The objective of the TALENT programme is to facilitate early independence of the PhD students and fast track their careers in academia or industry. For more information about what the programme offers, go to https://talent.ku.dk/.

About the programme

The TALENT programme offers 74 PhD fellowships (in total) of 36 months each, attractive employment conditions at one of the 11 departments at SCIENCE and enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at SCIENCE. TALENT is a unique programme by requesting, as part of the application procedure, the applicants to devise their own interdisciplinary PhD project within one of the above-mentioned 16 programme areas/panels and to indicate the department, which they find most suitable to host their project, and the names of the main supervisor and co-supervisors. In other words, TALENT is a bottom up programme, which thereby focuses on the research interests of the PhD students. If employed, an individual Career Development Plan will be made for the TALENT PhD students, outlining scientific as well as transferable courses, international research visits/secondments, mentoring and other career enhancing activities. The Career Development plan is a central element in ensuring the right training and progress throughout the PhD project.

Job description

The position is available for a 3-year period and the key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are: 

  • To manage and carry through the research project
  • Attend PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and the PhD thesis
  • Teach and disseminate the research
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad
  • Work for the department. 

Formal requirements

In order to be eligible for the TALENT Doctoral Programme, applicants:

  1. 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 prior to TALENT’s call deadline: 1 April 2019. Time spent on obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention, compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.
  2. Must at the TALENT call deadline (1 April 2019) be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and must not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree.
  3. Must hold a relevant MSc degree at the time of applying. However, candidates, who do not hold an MSc degree, are also considered eligible if their credentials and CV equal those achieved on an MSc. This could be in the form of five years of full-time undergraduate and postgraduate education OR four years of full-time undergraduate education combined with relevant courses, fieldwork, scientific publications or conducted research (these aspects must be documented by uploading additional documents as part of the CV). The background is that applicants awarded a TALENT doctoral fellowship must be enrolled in the 180 ECTS/three year PhD programme at SCIENCE. To this end, the entry requirements as defined by SCIENCE’s PhD School must be respected.

Please carefully read the detailed description of the eligibility and admissibility criteria and the additional requirements, incl. the use of mandatory templates, for applying in the TALENT Guide for Applicants on the TALENT website.

Selection criteria

The selection process includes four steps of evaluation:

  1. Eligibility and admissibility check
  2. Pre-selection at department level (internal review incl. online interviews, the latter if applicable)
  3. Expert/international review (done remotely)
  4. Final selection of candidates.

Applicants will be judged on professional merits, scientific and technological quality of the proposed project, feasibility of the implementation and the potential impact of the proposed project. The review process takes into consideration the whole range of experience of the candidate. While focusing on their overall potential as researchers, their creativity and level of independence will also be considered. International and intersectorial experience will be seen positively in the evaluation. The selection criteria are weighted and fall into three defined areas:

  • Excellence (weight: 50%) of which the scientific and innovative quality of the proposal (weight: 25%) and the applicant (weight: 25%)
  • Impact (weight: 30%)
  • Implementation (weight: 20%)

For more information about the evaluation process, please refer to the TALENT Evaluation Guide on the TALENT website.

Terms of employment

The Horizon 2020, Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND rules stipulate a minimum monthly salary of EUR 2,597 (EUR 31,164 pr. year), of which H2020/MSCA/COFUND covers EUR 1,855 (EUR 22,260 pr. year). As is outlined below, SCIENCE complies fully with these rules. 

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff. 

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. This means that the starting annual salary is currently at a minimum of EUR 43,210 (DKK 322,642), incl. annual supplement (+ annual pension contribution of minimum EUR 5,969 (DKK 44,568). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Any potential employment offer is contingent on the successful applicants being enrolled in the 180 ECTS/three year PhD Programme at SCIENCE, which means that the mentioned applicants will be requested (if offered employment) to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at SCIENCE’s PhD school. Another condition is that the successful applicants obtain any (residence and work) permits, which are mandatory by law.

The PhD studies must be conducted and completed in accordance with The Ministerial Order on the PhD programme (2013) and the rules of the University of Copenhagen’s/SCIENCE’s PhD School on achieving the degree. 

Application Procedure

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below. 

The application must include the following:

  1. Cover/motivation letter
  2. Project description incl. ethics assessment form
  3. CV incl. publications (and the names and contact details of two referees: one should be from the master thesis supervisor (if applicable), or other senior scientist that the applicant has worked closely with)
  4. Declaration of mobility
  5. Documentation of academic degrees obtained: diplomas must be in English or an officially approved translation must be included.
  6. Copy of English test score sheet (for applicants with English as their second language).

Mandatory templates for items 1-4 are available for download on the dedicated TALENT website.

Please carefully read the detailed description of the eligibility and admissibility criteria and the additional requirements, incl. the use of mandatory templates, for applying in the TALENT Guide for Applicants on the TALENT website. Receipts of the applications will be acknowledged and the applicants will be continuously informed about the progress of the evaluation. 

The University of Copenhagen, SCIENCE and its 11 departments wish to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

The deadline for applications is 1 April 2019, 23:59 GMT +2.

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline and not to consider applications that do not live up to the above-mentioned requirements.

After the expiry of the application deadline, the applicants will be assessed and selected after the criteria described in details in the TALENT Evaluation Guide (on the TALENT website) and according to the university’s guidelines found on https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/.

Indicative timeline for the evaluation process:

  • Eligibility and admissibility checks: 2-15 April 2019. Applicants, who do not comply with the eligibility and admissibility criteria, will be notified at this stage.
  • Pre-selection at department level (internal review incl. online interviews, the latter if applicable): 16 April-2 May 2019. Applicants, who are not selected for the expert/international review, will be notified at this stage.
  • Expert/international review (done remotely) (incl. preparation for the TALENT secretariat): 3-24 May 2019.
  • Applicants will receive the panel’s evaluation report and the overall score and be given five days to comment (incl. preparation for the TALENT secretariat): 25-30 May 2019.
  • Final selection of candidates (incl. preparation for the TALENT secretariat): 31 May-4 June 2019.
  • Employment offers, waiting list results and rejections to the candidates, who underwent the expert/international review: 6-28 June 2019.
  • Enrolment as a PhD student and employment: no later than 1 October 2019. Earliest indicative start date 1 August 2019.


The TALENT Doctoral Programme has a FAQ on its websiteApplicants are advised to refer to it in case of questions. The majority of questions received by the TALENT secretariat can be answered by reading the FAQ. Moreover, applicants are encouraged to acquaint themselves with the results of the first call for proposals and the reasons for rejection, especially at step one of the evaluation: the eligibility and admissibility check. For specific information about the TALENT Doctoral Programme, please contact Senior Advisor, Louise Thers Nielsen, SCIENCE Research and Innovation, email: talent@science.ku.dk, phone: +45 35 33 68 95.

General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available at http://www.science.ku.dk/phd

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Copenhagen – Denmark
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: €43,210 
£38,431.02 converted salary* incl. annual supplement (+ annual pension contribution of minimum EUR 5,969 (DKK 44,568).
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 15th February 2019
Closes: 1st April 2019
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