PhD student in Computational Mathematics specializing in computational methods for palaeogenetics to reveal prehistoric disease

Ref. No. SU FV-3318-19

at the Department of Mathematics, Division of Computational Mathematics. Closing date: 5 November, 2019.

The Department of Mathematics at Stockholm University has with its long tradition of excellent research a prominent place in Scandinavian mathematics. The department consists of three divisions: mathematics, mathematical statistics and the newly founded computational mathematics. Researchers at the division of computational mathematics have competence that ranges over several different areas, including numerical analysis, computer science and programming logic.

This a pair-doctoral project where one of the PhD students is linked to the Department of Mathematics and has his/her main supervisor (Lars Arvestad) there. The project is carried out in collaboration with Prof Love Dalén at the Department of Zoology, SU, and the Swedish Museum of Natural History and Prof Anders Götherström at Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, SU. Both professors are leading the newly started Centre for Palaeogenetics at Stockholm University. Prof Dalén will recruit at PhD student at the Department of Zoology. The goal is to have both PhD students work together and share insights between their two fields.

Project description
Filtering, mapping, and classifying DNA reads are common needs in modern biology. Computer science and mathematics, under the banners of Bioinformatics or Computational Biology, have been essential to meet these needs with software tools that are both accurate and practical. A new and specially challenging field for Computational Biology is Palaeogenetics, in which samples are old and therefore yielding degraded DNA. Established computational tools are not always suitable for Palaeogenetics due to both the degraded DNA and the slightly different scientific questions that are asked. We are now starting a project to develop computational methods tailored for Palaeogenetics. In particular, we will address questions in metagenomics, which is the study of DNA within an environmental sample. The main goal is to make better use of degraded ancient DNA in metagenomic samples to reveal possible prehistoric disease.

Qualification requirements
In order to meet the general entry requirements, the applicant must have completed a second-cycle degree, completed courses equivalent to at least 240 higher education credits, of which 60 credits must be in the second cycle, or have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.

In order to meet the specific entry requirements, the applicant must have completed courses equivalent to at least 60 credits in a mathematical subject and at least 30 credits in either numerical analysis or computer science.

The primary assessment criteria in appointing a PhD student is the capacity to complete the research training. The selection of candidates is based upon the earlier studies, grades, quality of theses, references, the written application and, for a smaller group of selected candidates, interviews. Information about admission will be given at the latest in June.

Admission Regulations for Doctoral Studies at Stockholm University are available at: and regulations.

Terms of employment
Only a person who will be or has already been admitted to a third-cycle programme may be appointed to a doctoral studentship.

The term of the initial contract may not exceed one year. The employment may be extended for a maximum of two years at a time. However, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study. A PhD student is expected to present a licentiate thesis after two years of full-time studies.

PhD students should primarily devote themselves to their own research training, but may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20% of a full-time position.

Please note that admission decisions cannot be appealed.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

For more information, please contact supervisor Lars Arvestad,, or director of PhD studies, Mia Deijfen,

Union representatives
Ingrid Lander (Saco-S), telephone: +46 708 16 26 64,, Alejandra Pizarro Carrasco (Fackförbundet ST/Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 34 89,, (SEKO), and PhD student representative,

Apply for the PhD student position at Stockholm University's recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2–3 references (Note! Referees should have been contacted in advance by the applicant and will be expected to provide a statement if asked)

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • Cover letter (at most 2 pages) describing your interest in the project and what makes you suitable for doctoral studies
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of degree projects/theses
  • Degree certificates and grades confirming that you meet the general and specific entry requirements (no more than 6 files)
  • Degree projects/theses (at most 1 file)
  • Any additional documents you would like to submit (at most 3 files).

The instructions for applicants are available at: Instructions – Applicants.

You are welcome to apply!

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