Home Grants and Funding Opportunities PhD fellowship within the Complexity and Big Data Group

The University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD fellowship to commerce on March 1st, 2024, or as soon as possible thereafter.

The PhD fellow will be part of an interdisciplinary research group in Complexity and Big Data Epidemiology, which utilizes the opportunities nested within large and complex datasets, including nationwide registers.

Our research

University offers creative and stimulating working conditions in an international and interdisciplinary research environment. Health is a complex phenomenon, and we study the social and biological factors determining health and disease. We also aim to elucidate the underlying behavioral, psychological, and physiological mechanisms that might explain these effects. To embrace complexity in health, we actively explore new sources (e.g. smartphones) of ‘big data’, incorporate system theory thinking, leverage insights across disciplines, and explore the opportunities in citizen science with a direct societal engagement and impact.

Your job

The PhD fellow will be involved in the Young Sleep Program, which aims at studying the patterns, mechanisms, and dynamics underlying sleep health in young adults. The PhD fellow will be part of an interdisciplinary group of researchers working on the Young Sleep Program, and they will be responsible for scientific research related to health complexity, statistical analyses of large and complex datasets, scientific paper writing, teaching, and outreach activities within this project.

Sleep is essential for brain health, and the current increase in sleep problems among young adults is a major public health problem. Adolescence and young adulthood are formative years, and physiological and social vulnerability initiated during this period may have long-lasting effects on brain health and life trajectories. The causes and consequences of impaired sleep are complex, and fundamental questions on sleep problems among young adults remain unanswered. The Young Sleep Program will generate new insights into the increasing sleep problems among young adults. It involves identifying vulnerable sub-groups who can benefit from targeted intervention and identifying points for interventions. The program will zoom in on the two major issues related to sleep problem in young adults. One is on the massive and round-the-clock use of smartphones and the other is the complex relation between sleep and mental health problems. The program will build on data from the globally unique DANLIFE cohort, which includes comprehensive health, social, and environmental phenotyping of over 2 million individuals from birth to adulthood together with the detailed data from the SmartSleep study, which combines extensive repeated survey data, high-resolution sensor-driven smartphone data, and thorough clinical examinations. These unique life-course data will be analyzed using cutting-edge methodology from data science and epidemiology. The impact of hypothetical interventions will be simulated by systems science and econometric methods.

Principal supervisor is Professor Naja Hulvej Rod, Department of Public Health, [email protected], Tel: +45 35 32 67 35

Start:                  March 1st, 2024

Duration:          3 years as a PhD student

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD student at SUND are:

  • Carrying out an independent research project under supervision.
  • Completing PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approximately 30 ECTS points.
  • Participating in active research environments including a stay at another research team.
  • Obtaining experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Teaching and disseminating your knowledge.
  • Writing a PhD thesis on the grounds of your project

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants
We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic scientist with the following competencies and experience:

  • You have a master’s degree in epidemiology, data science, complexity science, computational science, medicine, social science, or related sciences. Please note that your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (two years).
  • You have a curious mind-set with a strong interest in public health and epidemiology, particularly sleep epidemiology.
  • It is preferable if you have some experience working with large and complex dataset.
  • You have proficient communication skills and a sincere interest in interdisciplinary teams.
  • You have excellent English skills, written and spoken.

Place of employment

The place of employment is at the Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment.

Terms of employment
The average weekly working hours are 37 hours per week.

The position is a fixed-term position limited to a period of 3 years. The start date is March 1, 2024 or after agreement.

The employment is conditioned upon the applicant’s success­ful enrolment as a PhD student at the Graduate School at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The PhD study must be completed in accordance with The Ministerial Order on the PhD programme (2013) and the Faculty’s rules on achieving the degree.

Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the agree­ment between the Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary starts at approximately 28,900 DKK/Roughly 3,800 EUR (October 2023 level) plus pension.

For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

General information about PhD studies at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available at the Graduate School’s website: https://healthsciences.ku.dk/phd/guidelines/

Foreign applicants may find this link useful: www.ism.ku.dk (International Staff Mobility).

Application procedure
Your application must be submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. The application must include the following documents in PDF format: 

1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)

2. CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position

3. Certified copy of original Master of Science diploma and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in other language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted. As a prerequisite for a PhD fellowship employment, your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree. We encourage you to read more in the assessment database: https://ufm.dk/en/education/recognition-and-transparency/find-assessments/assessment-database. Please note that we might ask you to obtain an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science

4. Publication list (if possible)

Application deadline: 12 December 2023, 23.59pm CET

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

The further process
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the hiring committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an unbiased assessor.

The assessor makes a non-prioritized assessment of the academic qualifications and experience with respect to the above-mentioned area of research, techniques, skills and other requirements listed in the advertisement.

Once the assessment work has been completed each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself.

You find information about the recruitment process at: http://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/

The applicants will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.

The University of Copenhagen wish to reflect the diversity of society and encourage all qualified candidates to apply regardless of personal background. 

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


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