PhD fellowship in population genetics and human evolution

University of Copenhagen


PhD fellowship in population genetics and human evolution

The Department of Biology, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD fellowship in the research group of Fernando Racimo, starting on September 1st, 2019. The Racimo group focuses on using ancient and present-day genomes to understand patterns of selection and admixture over time, and to develop methods to jointly analyze population and functional genomic data. We are particularly interested in ancient human evolution, and in modeling the joint history of Neanderthals, Denisovans and modern humans over time. For more information about the group, see: 




The focus of the project will be on integrating ancient genomics and population genetic theory with new machine learning techniques. In collaboration with experts in machine learing, the candidate will develop and apply statistical methods to answer questions about the genomic history of different hominin groups. The candidate will have freedom to design their project in consultation with the advisor. Research topics can include: 1) Modeling spatio-temporal patterns of Neanderthal and Denisovan introgression across the world; 2) Characterizing adaptively important genes introduced into the human gene pool via archaic adaptive introgression, and their implications for the prevalence of diseases in ancient and modern times; 3) Searching for signals of admixture from unsampled deeply-splitting populations in the genomes of modern and archaic hominins. 


Research environment 


The position is fully funded, and the candidate will work at the Lundbeck GeoGenetics Centre, and will have to opportunity to collaborate with leaders in the fields of paleogenomics, population genetics and machine learning, including Martin Sikora (University of Copenhagen), Matteo Fumagalli (Imperial College London), Joshua Schraiber (Temple University) and Andrew Kern (University of Oregon). The University of Copenhagen is a world-leading institution of higher learning, ranked 29th best university in the world according to Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 ( It provides excellent PhD programs in biology, statistics, computer science and mathematics. The candidate will have the opportunity to take courses in bioinformatics, computer science, statistical inference, machine learning, data science, population genetics, paleogenomics, paleoproteomics, and archaeological science, among many others. The GeoGenetics Centre is located in central Copenhagen, Denmark – a city that is ranked among the most liveable cities in the world (see e.g. at 5:56).   




The candidate will have an MSc degree or equivalent, with a background in one or more of the following areas: evolutionary biology, population genetics, computational biology, bioinformatics, genomics, mathematics and/or statistics. The ideal candidate will demonstrate a working proficiency in one or more programming languages commonly used in data science (e.g. experience in Python, R, C/C++, Java or Julia) and have experience in the UNIX operating environment. Experience in machine learning is welcome but not required. 


Salary and terms of employment 


The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.  
Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.  
The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 322,642 (approx. €43,015) including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 44,567). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible. 




The application should include the following items. Applications that do not follow these requirements may not be evaluated:   

  • A cover letter (max. one page) describing your background, personal qualities, research interests and specific reasons for applying to this position.   

  • Curriculum vitae (max. two pages)   

  • List of peer reviewed publications (if any). You may include papers that have been accepted for publication or are in review.   

  • Transcripts of Diplomas (Master’s degree or equivalent)    

  • Contact details of two persons for references and a very brief description of your relationship to them. Do not attach reference letters.   

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science.  


If you consider applying from abroad, you may find useful information on how it is to work in Denmark and at UCPH in this links: 


The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of age, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation. Appointment will be based on merit alone.  


The deadline for applications is March 13th 2019, 23:59 GMT +1 


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 organization - with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture - creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career. 


For further information please contact Assist. Prof. Fernando Racimo:  


Fernando Racimo, Ph.D. 


Assistant Professor in Population Genetics 

Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre 

Department of Biology 

University of Copenhagen 

Twitter: @ferracimo 


In your application, please refer to


amsterdam uni

antwerp uni

cambridge uni

florida uni

hamburg uni

harvard uni

hiroshima uni

oslo uni

purdue uni

ryerson uni

shanghai jiao tong uni

stockholm uni