PhD Position in Biology

Lund University Department of Biology


PhD-Student in Biology

Lunds universitet, naturvetenskapliga fakulteten biologiska institutionen

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Sciences. The Faculty is organized into nine departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

Project description

The goal of this project is to develop computational fluid structure interaction models of bird feathers. The models will be developed based on a combination of experimental and numerical approaches. The aim is to study how aerodynamically efficient passive aerodynamic control mechanisms of flight feathers are, using computational experiments. The long term goal is to use the knowledge gained in this project in studying and designing new wing concepts for aircraft and wind turbine energy industries.

Birds are better at flying than any similar sized flying vehicle man has ever constructed. Bird wings are unique, with the wing surface being built from individual feathers. Feathers are dead structures, providing an aeroelastic control mechanism with more than 150 million years of evolutionary optimized performance. The project results will help us understand the factors that has shaped the evolution of feathers.

Job description

Feathers are extremely complex structures and this project concerns if feathers have evolved structures that provide passive flow control mechanisms optimizing the flow over the feathers. Flapping wings result in a continuously changing flow across the feathers and simulating the dynamic nature of feather-air interaction requires Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI) models, which due to the extreme detail necessary to resolve the feather model will require intense computing power.

The FSI model will be verified with aerodynamic measurement of real feathers, with mechanical properties from feather bending experiments and deformation studies of aerodynamically loaded feathers in a wind tunnel. The position is placed at the Department of Biology at LU, but is a collaboration with researchers at Lund Technical University.The position is placed at the Department of Biology at LU, but is a collaboration with researchers at Lund Technical University.

Required qualification

We expect the project to be technically and intellectually challenging. 

  • Engineer or equivalent (Master level) with relevant knowledge in mechanics and/or fluid dynamics.
  • Documented experience with FSI, CFD or CSM
  • Documented (attach to application) experience of structural and/or fluid dynamic modeling in the Master project or equivalent.
  • High grades in courses regarding material science and fluid dynamics are valued high in the evaluation.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • To be able to read and write academic texts in English is a requirement.
  • Important qualifications are creative problem solving ability, to take responsibility for and finish projects independently and to have stamina.
    The applicant is expected to have an interest in biology. If the applicant lacks biological knowledge he or she is expected to acquire basic biological knowledge during the PhDstudies.


Students with basic eligibility for third-cycle studies are those who- have completed a second-cycle degree- have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, or- have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

The employment of doctoral students is regulated in the Swedish Code of Statues 1998: 80. Only those who are or have been admitted to PhD-studies may be appointed to doctoral studentships. When an appointment to a doctoral studentship is made, the ability of the student to benefit from PhD-studies shall primarily be taken into account. In addition to devoting themselves to their studies, those appointed to doctoral studentships may be required to work with educational tasks, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the ordinance.

Type of employment

Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset. We kindly decline all sales and marketing contacts.

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Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
First day of employment 2020-12-01 or by agreement.
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2020/2141
Christoffer Johansson, Senior lecturer., +4646222955,
Union representative
OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-222 93 62
SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, 046-222 93 64
SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-222 93 66
Published 18.Jun.2020
Last application date 06.Aug.2020 11:59 PM CET

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