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Department of Biology - Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity

2-yr postdoc on Restoration of Ecological Complexity in Novel Ecosystems

Deadline 1 Feb 23:59 CET

Expected start 1 Jun

  • Department of Biology - Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity Ny Munkegade 116 8000 Aarhus C

  • Fixed term full-time position 1 Jun 2023 - 31 May 2025 ID: 10862

The Department of Biology, Aarhus University invites applications for a 2-year postdoc position on: Biodiversity Dynamics in Novel Ecosystems.
This postdoc project is part of the newly established Center for Ecological Dynamics in a Novel Biosphere (ECONOVO), funded by the Danish National Research Foundation. Overall ECONOVO aims to provide critically new perspectives on the future of the biosphere. Novel ecosystems (NEs) have species compositions or abiotic conditions without historical precedent, e.g., intercontinental species invasions and extraordinary warming. NEs are spreading fast and are expected to be globally dominant by the late 21st century. Key drivers are climate change, globalization, and extirpation of large-sized organisms, resulting in ecosystems deviating from anything seen for millions of years. The spread of NEs is likely to profoundly affect biosphere functioning but how so is poorly understood. To address this complex theme, ECONOVO will take an unparalleled, interdisciplinary approach, integrating Big Data and field-based ecology, satellite-based remote sensing, archaeology, paleoecology, and population genomics to bridge this crucial knowledge gap.

Starting Date and Period

The position is for 2 years and is available from June 1, 2023, or soon thereafter.

Job description

This postdoc project will be part of the ECONOVO research theme 2: Complexity restoration, focused on testing if restoration of ecological complexity enhances species diversity in NEs and with emphasis on two key elements of ecological complexity: trophic complexity linked to megafauna and geodiversity. To test this idea the position will employ a combination of field studies and satellite remote sensing in Europe, potentially extending to macroecological/meta-analytical approaches at Europe-wide or global scales. We will use existing data where possible and field measurements where necessary. We will aim to cover gradients in novelty in terms of climate and plant community composition intersected with restoration-linked gradients in megafauna functional diversity and spontaneous river dynamics. The postdoc is expected to contribute ideas and concepts to the project and lead at least two high-quality papers in this research area. It is also expected that the postdoc contributes to the project’s public outreach and teaching, as well as collaborating with other team members, including students, sharing skills, and helping to solve problems in the postdoc’s area of expertise.

Your profile

Applicants must have a PhD degree in ecology or equivalent or have submitted their PhD thesis for assessment before the application deadline. Expertise with quantitative and field-based ecology is expected, in combination with solid skills in spatial modelling and some experience with remote sensing data. The project will have major focus on plants and large herbivores (other organism groups such as insects and birds may also be included), so experience with the ecology of plants and ungulates is an advantage. The successful candidate is expected to have strong collaborative skills, proven abilities to publish at a high international level, and have good command of English. International applicants who do not have English as their first language must demonstrate excellent English language writing skills and fluency.

Application materials:

The application must be in English and include motivation letter including a 1-page outline of your ideas for the postdoc research project, 2-page CV (including number of citations and H-index from Google Scholar), full list of publications, as well as educational documentation (copies of diplomas for Master and PhD degrees, in English or Danish).

Supervisor and collaborators:

Professor Jens-Christian Svenning will be the main supervisor, with professor Felix Riede and assistant professor Robert Buitenwerf as co-supervisors – all key personnel at ECONOVO. The postdoc will join the ECONOVO team within the Section for Ecoinformatics & Biodiversity (ECOINF) at the Department of Biology at Aarhus University. Key international associates to ECONOVO will also be involved. ECONOVO is a Center of Excellence focused on improving our insights into emerging novel ecological conditions and how to steer these conditions towards the most positive outcome possible. ECOINF harbors strong expertise in macroecology, remote sensing, and megafauna and vegetation ecology, as well as in ecology and biodiversity broadly. Together ECONOVO and ECOINF constitute an ambitious, collaborative, interdisciplinary, and highly international research community. Multiple local and international collaborators will be included where relevant. Postdocs and PhD students are encouraged to collaborate within the group, across departments, and with other universities.

What we offer

The successful candidate is offered:
  • an ambitious, creative, and friendly research environment, inviting lively, open and critical discussion within and across different fields of research
  • a working environment with teamwork, close working relations, network activities among young scientists and social activities
  • a workplace characterized by professionalism, equality, and a healthy work-life balance
  • access to a well-developed research infrastructure
  • office space, shared equipment

Place of Work

The place of employment and work is Center for Ecological Dynamics in a Novel Biosphere (ECONOVO) and Section for Ecoinformatics & Biodiversity (ECOINF), Department of Biology, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 116, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.  

About the Department

The Department of Biology hosts research programs and teaching curricula that cover all major biological sub-disciplines. The Department currently employs approximately 140 academic and technical staff and 40 PhD students. The Department hosts BSc and MSc study programs in Biology with about 400 students enrolled as well as a PhD program. The Department offer a vibrant and informal research environment with a long-standing tradition for collaboration with international university partners in the absolute elite. 

The working language is English, and we welcome applications from all genders of all backgrounds. Read about the Danish work-life balance, special opportunities for junior researchers, and the services available when relocating to Aarhus University here. The campus of Aarhus University is located in a beautiful park close to the city center (population 300.000).

Life quality and time allocation to family life in Denmark is high, and international investigations usually report that no other nationality score higher in terms of life satisfaction.

You can read more about the Department of Biology here.

Contact Information

Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact: Professor Jens-Christian Svenning, phone +45 28992304, e-mail: svenning@bio.au.dk.


February 1, 2022

Application procedure

Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants.

Letter of reference

If you want a referee to upload a letter of reference on your behalf, please state the referee’s contact information when you submit your application. We strongly recommend that you make an agreement with the person in question before you enter the referee’s contact information, and that you ensure that the referee has enough time to write the letter of reference before the application deadline. Unfortunately, it is not possible to ensure that letters of reference received after the application deadline will be taken into consideration.

Formalities and salary range

Natural Sciences refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities.

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.

Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here.

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Questions about the position?

Jens-Christian Svenning

Jens-Christian Svenning Professor, Centre Director, Department of Biology - Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity +4528992304 svenning@bio.au.dk

Questions about application and proces?

Nat-Tech Administrative Centre - Nat-Tech HR +4593522295 nat-tech.HR.team1@au.dk


Deadline: Wednesday 1 Feb 2023 at 23:59 CET