Tuesday, October 11, 2016

From the inbox: PhD position, University of Eastern Finland

PhD student position in Ecological genomics of rapid radiations in plant-feeding insects
University of Eastern Finland, Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences (Joensuu campus)

We are looking for a highly motivated person to perform research on the biotic and abiotic drivers of diversification in young but species-rich groups of sawflies (order Hymenoptera). In many of these plant-feeding groups, speciation may be facilitated by specialization into using alternative host plants or other feeding niches, or by simple geographic isolation. In general terms, the project aims at explaining the origin of niche and species diversity in species-rich and widely distributed resource-consumer communities.

The focus will be on ecologically diverse sawfly groups containing numerous closely-related species that cannot be separated using standard morphological and population-genetic methods. New population-genomic approaches based on genotyping by next-generation sequencing (NGS) provide a means for studying the species status of closely-related lineages feeding on different host plants or inhabiting different geographic regions, and to estimate the level of gene flow across species boundaries.

The work will be performed mainly in the Joensuu Molecular Ecology Group, which is led by Associate Professor Tommi Nyman, and operates at the Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences of the University of Eastern Finland. In addition to Tommi Nyman, the work will be supervised by Senior Curator Marko Mutanen (University of Oulu, Finland) and Curator Stefan Schmidt (Zoologische Staatssammlung M√ľnchen, Germany). Part of the laboratory work will be done during extended visits to the laboratories of the external co-supervisors. The project, which is funded by the Academy of Finland, also includes extensive collaboration with an international network of experts on sawfly taxonomy, biogeography, and ecology. 


During the project, the PhD student will tackle central eco-evolutionary questions based on research on several taxonomically complex but evolutionarily highly interesting sawfly groups. Analyses will be based on specimen-level genotypic data obtained using reduced-representation NGS methods (including ddRADseq). The work requires very diverse skills, including field sampling, laboratory work, use of bioinformatic pipelines, population-genetic analyses, and writing research papers. Many of these skills will be learned during the project, but applicants should have a strong background in population genetics or related fields.

The PhD student positions may be applied for by persons who according to the Universities Act of Finland (558/2009, Chapter 5, Section 37) are eligible for studies leading to a scientific postgraduate degree. Persons graduating in the near future are also encouraged to apply. However, they are expected to hold a relevant MSc degree (or equivalent) by the starting date of the Early Stage Researcher position.


The position will first be filled for 24 months, with a possibility for prolongation for six months. The continuation of the position will be agreed separately. The current funding covers the first 2.5 years of the PhD project, but the chances of obtaining further funding should be good if things proceed as planned. The start date of the position is 1 January 2017 or as agreed. Positions of early stage researchers shall always be filled for a fixed term (UEF Administrative Regulations, Section 30). A probationary period is applied to all new members of the staff.

The salary of the position is determined in accordance with the salary system of Finnish universities and is based on levels 2-4 of the job requirement level chart for teaching and research staff (euro 1,986 - 2,475 / month). In addition to the job requirement component, the salary includes a personal performance component, which may be a maximum of 46.3% of the job requirement component. In practice, the salary will be circa euro 2,320 / month at the start of the project.


The University of Eastern Finland, UEF, is one of the largest multidisciplinary universities in Finland. We offer education in nearly one hundred major subjects, and are home to approximately 15,000 students and 2,800 members of staff. We operate on three campuses in Joensuu, Kuopio and Savonlinna. In international rankings, we are ranked among the leading 300 universities in the world.

The Faculty of Science and Forestry operates on the Kuopio and Joensuu campuses of the University of Eastern Finland. The mission of the faculty is to carry out internationally recognised scientific research and to offer research-education in the fields of natural sciences and forest sciences. The faculty invests in all of the strategic research areas of the university. The faculty's environments for research and learning are international, modern and multidisciplinary.  The faculty has approximately 3,800 Bachelor's and Master's degree students and some 490 postgraduate students. The number of staff amounts to 560. 


For further information on the position, please contact Associate professor Tommi Nyman, tel. +358 40 5206540. For further information on the application procedure, please contact Executive Head of Administration Arja Hirvonen, tel. +358 44 716 3422. 


The electronic application should contain the following appendices:
- a resume or CV, including contact information of two referees
- a list of publications (if applicable)
- copies of the applicant's academic degree certificates/ diplomas, and copies of certificates /
  diplomas relating to the applicant's  language proficiency, if not indicated in the academic degree
- cover letter explaining possible past research experience, future interests, and motivation for    
  applying for the position (max 2 pages)

 The application needs to be submitted no later than October 31, 2016 (by 24.00 hours Finnish time) by using the electronic application form

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