Interested in a PhD-position in Biology?

Foto: Nils Jerling/Skogforsk
Skogforsk and The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) is announcing a PhD-position in biology with focus on plant physiology and regulation of flowering in conifers.

One way of preparing for climate change for the forestry sector is a secure supply of improved seed. Today, there is a shortage of suitable improved Norway spruce seeds in most planting zones in Sweden. This shortage has two major causes, the irregular flowering of Norway spruce and damages caused by insects and fungi. This shortage reduces the forestry sectors availability to contribute to the transition to a bio-based economy and is a problem for the necessary adaption to new climatic conditions.

The overall goal of this research is to reveal the secrets of the "florigen" of conifers. The focus of this PhD project is to expand the understanding of how conifer plants regulates the transition from vegetative to reproductive growth to increase efficiency in conifer breeding and enhance seed production in seed orchards. The PhD student will work with the naturally occurring spruce mutant (Picea abies var. acrocona) that can be stimulated to produce cones within one year from seeding.

The PhD project is divided into three parts, each of which will contribute to the project's over-arching research question on how vegetative to reproductive phase change is regulated in conifers. Part 1) will study the expression of flower inducing genes during cone initiation in the acrocona mutant. Part 2) will study acrocona rootstocks and their effects on growth and reproductive initiation of the grafted shoot, and part 3) will study the effect of light spectrum on gene activity of flower inducing genes. Together the projects will contribute to the development of methods to increase the efficiency in conifer breeding programs and seed production.

The project will be carried out in close collaboration between Skogforsk and SLU. The position is for 5 years and defined as 80% research time at SLU, and 20% internship at Skogforsk. One year consists of practical work at Skogforsk in close collaboration with forest companies.

The student will be employed by Skogforsk, Uppsala, and accepted as a PhD student at the Department of plant biology, SLU Uppsala.


We seek a candidate with academic background (Master level) in population genetics, forest genetics and breeding, molecular biology or corresponding. Knowledge of Swedish forestry is a merit and driving license is desirable.

The candidate should be highly motivated, independent and collaborative, and have a very good command in both oral and written English. The position includes communication with the Swedish forestry sector, therefore communication skills, both oral and written, in Swedish are a merit.

Evaluation will be based on the individual letter, quality and relevance of master program and publications. A selection of candidates will be interviewed, and the candidate's performance in a literature essay that may be given after the interview.

Prerequisites for PhD studies are 1–2 years at master level or an equivalent qualification from abroad, together with adequate knowledge in English.


The application must be made via Skogforsk and must be received not later than 2018-01-31
Send the application to Sadina Leifsgård with subject "Application SSF PhD"

The application should include:

  • A short letter (max 2 pages) describing your research interests and why you are interested in the position
  • CV, including academic achievements
  • Publications
  • Digital copy of Master thesis
  • Certificates from higher education and other documentation that supports your application (attested)
  • Contact information to three reference persons

Other information

The principle supervisors to this project are Ass. Prof. Jens Sundström  at SLU, and Dr. Curt Almqvist at Skogforsk.

SACO's union representative at Skogforsk is Line Djupström .

Salary according to agreements for PhD students at Skogforsk.

About Skogforsk

Skogforsk is funded by the forest industry and the state. The demand-driven applied research includes a wide variety of fields, such as forest technology, raw-material utilization, environmental impact and conservation, forest tree breeding, logistics, forest bioenergy and silviculture. The institute has about 120 employees, of which 80 are researchers.

The Department of plant biology, SLU

The Department of plant biology, SLU, develop fundamental knowledge about developmental processes and defence in plants for applications in agriculture and forestry. The department educate at the graduate level under the research subject area Biology and is located at Uppsala Biocentrum. The department is also part of the Linnean centre for plant biology in Uppsala  which gathers plant biologists from both SLU and Uppsala University.

12/22/2017 11:06 AM