PhD Scholarship in Environmental Radioactivity and Oceanographic Tracer Studies

Technical University of Denmark



A PhD Scholarship in radioactive tracers in oceanography is available at the Centre for Nuclear Technologies (DTU Nutech) with starting date 1st October 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter.  The project will be carried out in the Radioecology Section at the Hevesy Laboratory Division at DTU Risø Campus, Roskilde, Denmark.

The scholarship is part of a research project focused on studying linkages between radioisotopes, dissolved organic matter and water mass origins in the Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard, where waters from the Arctic and Atlantic exchange. Climate change is altering the Arctic carbon, freshwater and heat budgets and this is materialised in changing conditions across the strait. This project is focused on developing radioisotope techniques to use as tracers for water circulation and compare with existing tracer approaches.

Responsibilities and Tasks

The aim of this PhD project is to evaluate the suitability of uranium (238U, 236U and 233U) as a tracer for ocean circulation in the Fram Strait region. This will be achieved by developing sampling, pre-treatment and analysis methods for radioisotopes in Arctic waters. Analyses will be carried out by combining chemical separation and mass spectrometry. The goal is to provide insight on the origins and mixing times of Atlantic water in the Arctic. These findings will be compared to other existing chemical and physical tracer approaches.

This project is partly funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark. The grant title is: New insights on ocean circulation and the fate of organic carbon in the Arctic Ocean. The successful applicant will be integrated into this project. The PhD is part of a collaboration with Institute for Aquatic Resources (DTU Aqua).


Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

Candidates should have documented experience one or more of the following areas: 

  • Marine chemistry
  • Radiochemistry
  • Oceanography
  • Inorganic chemical analysis
  • Environmental radioactivity
  • Computer programming and modelling
  • Isotope geochemistry

They should have an innovative mindset and good communication skills in English (oral and written). The candidate must be able to work both in a team and individually.

The application shall contain a motivation for why you want to undertake this research at DTU Nutech, your interest in this topic and a description of your own project ideas and how they link to fulfilling the goals stated above. The final project description will be developed in collaboration with the relevant principal investigators.

Approval and Enrolment

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in the PhD school at DTU Aqua.

For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

We Offer

DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and Appointment Terms

The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further Information

Further information can be obtained from Head of Section Jixin Qiao, +45 4677 5367, jiqi@dtu.dkand Associate Professor Colin A Stedmon +45 24895714,

You can read more about the institute at


Please submit your online application no later than 12 August 2019. 

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Proposed research statement
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • Recommendation letters from senior professionals are welcomed. 

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

About 45 employees work in the Hevesy Laboratory Division at the Center for Nuclear Technologies with 15 employees in the Radioecology Section. Work in the Section covers research on radioactivity in the environment, radioactive tracer studies in atmosphere, marine and terrestrial area, monitoring and risk assessment of environmental radioactivity, commercial analytical services, public-sector consultancy and innovation covering development and application of radioanalytical methods.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.

In your application, please refer to