Karlstad University / Department of Environmental and Life Sciences

Sapere Aude—dare to be wise—is our motto. Our students and employees develop knowledge and expertise that enrich both people and the world around them. Our academic environment is characterised by curiosity, courage and perseverance. Gender equality, diversity and a democratic approach form the foundation of our organisation. We are located in an active and scenic region and we promote sustainable development in close collaboration with the wider society.
Karlstad University has a total of approximately 1,400 employees and 17,300 students spread across two inspiring campus environments in Karlstad and Arvika.
More information at: kau.se/en/work-with-us

The Faculty of Health, Science and Technology has an opening for two full-time doctoral positions (Ph.D students) at the Department of Environmental and Life Sciences. Doctoral position one will focus on connectivity for the diadromous fish species Atlantic salmon and European eel. Doctoral position two will focus on reintroduction ecology of the freshwater pearl mussel and the thick-shelled river mussel and their host fishes. The research positions include up to 20% other academic duties at the Department

The River Ecology and Management Research Group (RivEM), a research environment within the Department of Environmental and Life Sciences at Karlstad University, conducts both basic and applied research in and along rivers and lakes and their surrounding landscapes. RivEM was selected as a ‘Strong Research Environment’ by Karlstad University, and has received directed funding to further develop the research profile. The research group is interested in the sustainable use of natural resources in watersheds, working for solutions to environmental problems that benefit both society and nature.

Areas of research addressed by RivEM include river connectivity and the effects of hydropower, aquatic- terrestrial interactions and habitats, winter ecology under global climate change, endangered species, conservation biology and social-ecological research relating to river regulation and recreational fishing (www.kau.se/biology/research; http://www.nrrv.se). Within many of these topics, research is conducted in collaboration with stakeholders from industry, administrative agencies, interest organizations and landowners.


Doctoral position 1:

Conserving biodiversity is one of the major challenges in applied aquatic ecology. Many diadromous fish species function as umbrella species in marine and freshwater conservation, and strengthening such populations is of major concern for ecologists, fishers and managers.

The successful candidate will evaluate the ecological consequences of remedial measures in regulated rivers, such as implementation of fish passage solutions and dam removal, on diadromous fish species in rivers in southern Sweden. More specifically, wild salmon and eel will be trapped, tagged and tracked when approaching sites targeted for remedial measures. Passage performance will be quantified before and after restoration, using high-resolution acoustic telemetry, and parameters such as behavior, passage efficiency and passage time will be of particular interest. The specific research questions to be addressed will be decided in consultation with the candidate.

Doctoral position 2:

The global loss of biodiversity has severely affected ecosystem structure and function in aquatic environments. One highly threatened group of organisms that used to be common in streams and rivers is the unionoid freshwater mussels. These filter-feeding mussels often form a dominant part of the benthos, and have strong effects on ecosystem function and biodiversity. It is of concern to re-establish or strengthen mussel populations in streams where they used to thrive. Unionoid mussels have an obligatory parasitic stage on one or more host fish species. For effective conservation and restoration incentives, functional host fish species must be identified and conserved to support the mussel populations.

The successful candidate will study reintroduction ecology of the freshwater pearl mussel and the thick- shelled river mussel and their host fishes in rivers in southern Sweden. The research questions include evaluation of host function of fish species, host fish as a mussel dispersal vector, strengthening of mussel populations close to extinction, and reintroduction ecology of mussels in a river where mussels are now extinct. The specific research questions to be addressed will be decided in consultation with the candidate.

A doctoral student is mainly expected to engage in doctoral studies. The doctoral programme consists of 240 higher education credits, including the doctoral thesis. Departmental duties, such as teaching, or other tasks, may be allocated up till 20% of full-time.

For admission to doctoral studies applicants must meet the requirements of both general and special eligibility (Higher Education Ordinance, Ch. 7 sect. 35)

Applicants who have a Master's degree of at least 240 higher education credits, including at least 60 credits at Master level, or who have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad, meet the general eligibility requirements.

To be eligible for admission to graduate studies in Biology requires that one has at least 120 credits in Biology, including a 30 credit independent research course.

Admission and assessment criteria
For admission to doctoral studies an applicant must be judged to have the ability required to pursue the programme successfully (Higher Education Ordinance, Ch. 7, sect. 35). Admission is based on individual assessment.

Assessment grounds: The successful candidates are the persons deemed best to be able to successfully complete the educational program and to produce dissertations of high scientific quality and originality.

Excellent oral and written communication skills in English, and a driver’s license is a merit since much of the practical work will be performed at field sites. The applicant is expected to work at the university and participate in our research environment. In addition, special emphasis is placed on personal qualities such as good interpersonal skills, ability to establish good relations with others and the ability to take initiative and show commitment to the initiatives of others.

Specific assessment grounds for doctoral position 1:
In the selection process, special weight is given to (1) the applicant's academic performance, in terms of grades and course breadth, as well as the quality of their advanced-level independent research work (30 hp), and (2) documented knowledge in aquatic conservation biology with a focus on migratory fish species. Considerable weight is given to documented knowledge in fish ecology. Experience and interest in experimental work, telemetry and statistical analysis of such data is also of merit.

Specific assessment grounds for doctoral position 2:
In the selection process, special weight is given to (1) the applicant's academic performance, in terms of grades and course breadth, as well as the quality of their advanced-level independent research work (30 hp), and (2) knowledge in aquatic conservation biology. Considerable weight is given to candidates with previous experience in field experiments and investigations, especially in aquatic environments. Experience working with fish and / or mussels is also of merit.

Terms of employment
Upon admission to doctoral studies, a studentship position will be offered (Higher Education Ordinance, Ch. 5, sect.3). The position is a full-time, fixed-term employment (one year that can be extended by two years at the most at a time) with starting-date by agreement, but preferably 2020-03-01. The home base is Karlstad.

Further information
Karlstad University places great value on the enriching presence of diverse backgrounds and gender balance in the organisation.  We welcome applicants with different cultural backgrounds, gender identities, functional abilities and life experiences.

Application should include well documented qualifications. Applicants are responsible for submitting a complete application in accordance with the advertisement before deadline and for ensuring that the documentation allows for objective and qualitative assessments. An incomplete application may jeopardise a fair assessment of qualifications. Give two references, of which at least one is a former or present supervisor, or equivalent.

Application should include
- Letter of application with description of your background and your interest in the position,
- List of qualifications (CV),
- Degree certificate with transcripts of courses completed, or a certified list of completed courses with grades and dates,
- Copy of a Master thesis (one or two years) or equivalent,
- Copies of publications or certificate of other qualifications, if applicable,
- Letter of recommendation, if possible

Submit the application via the University’s web-based recruitment tool, Varbi, and attach all the documents and publications you wish to be considered to the electronic application (do not provide links to them). Name each uploaded document to clearly indicate its content.

Non-electronic documents for each position (state registration number REK 2019/259) can be sent to:
Karlstad University
Faculty of Health, Science and Technology
Att: Åsa Ivansson
651 88 Karlstad

For doctoral position one (fish), mark the application with “Doctoral position one” and the state registration number REK 2019/259.

For doctoral position two (mussels and fish), mark the application with “Doctoral position two” and the state registration number REK 2019/259.

Doctoral position one: Olle Calles, Associate professor, olle.calles@kau.se +46 (0)54-700 1454, +46 (0)701-771144.

Doctoral position two: Martin Österling, Associate professor, martin.osterling@kau.se +46 (0)54-700 18 02, +46 (0)734-615650


Last day of application: 31 January 2020

We look forward to your application!


Karlstad University has chosen advertising channels for this recruitment and decline any contacts from advertising or recruitment agencies.


Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 1 March 2020
Salary According to local agreement
Number of positions 2
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Karlstad
County Värmlands län
Country Sweden
Reference number REK2019/259
  • (Pos 1) Olle Calles, olle.calles@kau.se, +46 (0)54-700 14 54, +46 (0)701-771144
  • (Pos 2) Martin Österling, martin.osterling@kau.se, +46 (0)54-700 18 02, +46 (0)734-615650
Union representative
  • Thomas Bragefors, SACO, +46 (0)54-700 1714
  • Denita Gustavsson, OFR, +46 (0)54-700 1434
Published 19.Dec.2019
Last application date 31.Jan.2020 11:59 PM CET

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