211-0222/23-2K Professor of Sustainable Soil Fertility Management

Closing Date
WorkplaceCopenhagen, Hovedstaden, Denmark

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Professor of Sustainable Soil Fertility Management
Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science

University of Copenhagen

The Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences (PLEN), Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen invites applications for a Professor position within the area of "Sustainable Soil Fertility Management".  

Research and teaching at PLEN covers topics within Agriculture, Biotechnology and Environment. The department is divided into nine sections dealing with a wide range of subjects. Focus is on plants, animals, soil and microorganisms - from molecules through organisms to populations and anthropogenic ecosystems. It is our vision to maintain and develop our position as one of the principle centres for plant and environmental sciences and the related areas based on excellent basic and applied research. The department hosts state-of-the art infrastructure, unique field research facilities and many opportunities for collaboration within the department.

The Professor will be affiliated to the Section for Plant and Soil Sciences, located at the Frederiksberg Campus, and is expected to collaborate within and contribute to the good working environment of the section. The section covers research and teaching from the molecular to the ecosystem level, focusing on plant-environment interactions and soil processes, which are fundamental drivers for development of future systems for sustainable production of food and bio-materials.

Description of qualifications needed in terms of research and teaching:

The candidate is expected to have a strong publication record in recognized journals within the field of research of sustainable soil fertility management and a track record of substantial funding from private and public funding bodies.

The candidate should be able to lead existing and new research activities addressing how to sustain or increase agricultural production with minimal impacts on the environment, including least possible consumption of resources, reduced environmental emission of greenhouse gases and losses of nutrients. This should be done in a sustainable way where the soil fertility is maintained and nutrients are efficiently recycled, effectively bridging agricultural and environmental sciences.

The candidate must be able to work particularly on quantification of the impact of fertilisation and cropping strategies on emissions of greenhouse gases, and how they can be used to enhance soil carbon sequestration. However, other environmental emissions such as ammonia volatilization, nitrate leaching and phosphorus losses should also be considered in order to avoid burden shifting.

The candidate should be able to demonstrate extensive experience with various research approaches, including laboratory and field experiments as well as modelling, and must also have strong collaborative skills within integrated environmental assessments for evaluating the advantages of new fertilisation approaches and soil and crop strategies in a life cycle perspective .

An orientation towards and motivation for engaging in interdisciplinary collaboration within the department and with partners in the agricultural sector, private industry and authorities will be an advantage.

The candidate should have solid teaching experience and be interested in developing own teaching skills, e.g. by participation in didactic training and courses; formal teaching training or supervision equivalent to the University of Copenhagen teacher training programme for assistant professors is required .
Teaching responsibilities will be at both BSc and MSc level programmes in Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Science. As BSc courses are taught in Danish the candidate should be committed to teach in Danish within 2-3 years. The Professor is expected to prioritize teaching and educational development as well as supervision and be willing to receive feedback from and collaborate with colleagues and students on teaching activities.

Specifically, the applicants for the Professor in Sustainable Soil Fertility Management should have strong qualifications in the following areas:

  • A Ph.D in soil and environmental sciences, specialized in soil fertility management, with in depth knowledge on the interactions between soil fertility, climate, plant growth and environmental emissions.
  • Profound knowledge of the impacts of fertilisation strategies, including the effects of of fertilizer type, timing, and interactions with crops on nutrient use efficiency and losses to the environment.
  • Extensive experience with various soil amendments, including organic residues and waste streams, biochars, etc., and how they affect soil physical and chemical properties, carbon sequestration and hence soil functions.
  • Experience with development of technologies and mitigation strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, such as chemical nitrification and denitrification inhibitors, cover crops, crop biological nitrification inhibition, or field soil and water management, will be an advantage.
  • Strong competences in soil-crop-environment modelling approaches for assessing impacts of soil and crop management on environmental emissions and assessment in a life-cycle perspective.
  • A publication record that includes corresponding-author and first author publications of relevance to the position and demonstrate a significant impact on the scientific field.
  • Proven leadership in an academic research environment and ability to guide an independent research group to achieve specific goals.
  • Experience with supervision of Ph.D. students and postdocs, as well as contributions for post-graduate level courses and training.
  • Experience with outreach activities and communication of research to the public via e.g., popular science articles.
  • Solid teaching experience at all levels on topics within environmental science, focusing on agriculture, natural resource management and/or environmental impact assessment.
  • Proven interest in educational development, leadership and supervision of undergraduate and graduate thesis students.

The Professor’s duties will primarily include i) research, including obligations with regard to publication/scientific communication and ii) research-based teaching at all levels with associated examination obligations within sustainable soil fertility management and related subjects; research and teaching are equally prioritized. To a limited extent, the position may also include other duties.

The Professor is expected to attract funding and be able to manage own research projects and must have an academic standing showing internationally competitive research, and/or have internationally recognized high potential to make a future impact. The Professor is expected to contribute to the departmental forums and seek collaboration within the section and across the department. In addition, experience with collaboration with external partners in the agricultural sector, private industry and authorities is valued.  Experiences from other research environments and mobility is prioritized e.g. sabbatical stay of shorter or longer duration.

Assessment of applicants will primarily consider their level of documented, internationally competitive research, reflected by significant research impact through high research quality and/or many citations in recognized journals and/or books, as well as teaching qualifications and experience. The ability to attract external funding will be considered as will outreach qualifications. Participation in national and international scientific networks and mobility are prioritized. Teaching qualifications and teaching experience will be considered and experience with teaching at university level and formal didactic training will be highly prioritized. The assessment includes a teaching portfolio that documents teaching experience and reflections on teaching skills and an ongoing development of pedagogical and didactic skills.

Six overall criteria apply for Professor appointments at the University of Copenhagen. The six criteria (research, teaching, societal impact, organisational contribution, external funding and leadership) are considered a framework for the overall assessment of candidates. Furthermore, each candidate must be assessed according to the specific requirements stated in the job advertisement. Please read more at ?url=https%3A%2F%2Fjobportal.ku.dk%2Fvidenskabelige-stillinger%2Fkriterier-for-videnskabelige-stillinger%2Fdokumenter-til-meritering%2F5c_Criteria_for_recognising_merit_-professors.pdf&module=jobs&id=2502899" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">?url=https%3A%2F%2Fjobportal.ku.dk%2Fvidenskabelige-stillinger%2Fkriterier-for-videnskabelige-stillinger%2Fdokumenter-til-meritering%2F5c_Criteria_for_recognising_merit_-professors.pdf&module=jobs&id=2502899" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">jobportal.ku.dk/videnskabelige-stillinger/kriterier-for-videnskabelige-stillinger/dokumenter-til-meritering/5c_Criteria_for_recognising_merit_-professors.pdf .

Further information on the Department is linked at ?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.science.ku.dk%2Fenglish%2Fabout-the-faculty%2Forganisation%2F&module=jobs&id=2502899" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.science.ku.dk%2Fenglish%2Fabout-the-faculty%2Forganisation%2F&module=jobs&id=2502899" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">https://www.science.ku.dk/english/about-the-faculty/organisation/ . Inquiries about the position can be made to Head of Department Svend Christensen, svcplen.ku.dk or +45 51489421.

The position is open from 1 November 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

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 Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

The application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Curriculum vitae including:
    • Please describe and document international network and relations
    • Please describe and document internationally based activities
    • Positions held at universities/research institutions outside Denmark
    • Outreach activities, i.e. popular lectures or other activities in the media
    • Grants held, personal or in part. Career development grants.
  • Diplomas (Master and PhD degree or equivalent)
  • Research plan - description of current and future research plans
  • Description and documentation of teaching experience and qualifications according to university guidelines
  • Complete publication list
  • Separate reprints of up to 5 particularly relevant papers

The deadline for applications is 16 April 2023, 23:59 GMT+1.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee.

You can read about the recruitment process at ?url=https%3A%2F%2Femployment.ku.dk%2Ffaculty%2Frecruitment-process%2F&module=jobs&id=2502899" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">?url=https%3A%2F%2Femployment.ku.dk%2Ffaculty%2Frecruitment-process%2F&module=jobs&id=2502899" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/ .

Interviews/trial lectures will be held on 16 August 2023.

Please refer to the following no. in future communication in this case: 211-0222/23-2K.


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.


Svend Christensen

E-mail: svcplen.ku.dk


Application deadline: 16-04-2023

Employment start: 01-11-2023

Working hours: Full time

Department/Location: Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences

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