Research Dendroclimatology Nordic fires PhD project announcement



Dendro News Research Staff & Contacts Publications Services PhD & Master projects Master projects Dendroweeks Virtual Dendro Essential links Resources Research visits to DELA Courses


PhD project announcement

på svenska se


SLU Alnarp and University of Quebec at Abitibi-Temiscamingue (UQAT, Canada) announce


a 4-year PhD position "Understanding climatic controls of large fire years in the Nordic region"


Fire is the primary disturbance factor in the boreal forests and understanding the climatic triggers of regional fire activity is of paramount importance for modeling of future trends in fire impacts and developing solid mitigation strategies. Recent increase in the forest fires in Sweden, and particularly - 2014 Sala fire in the Swedish county of Västmanlands, highlighted the need for better understanding of natural and human-related factors causing the occurrence of large forest fires. Some of the most important questions in this context touch upon long-term frequency and environmental controls of such events. Should we expect large forest fires to become more common in the future and increasingly more important for Swedish forests, forestry, and society as a whole? What is the interplay of climate, topography, and forest composition in shaping these events?




This PhD project will capitalize on the development of long-term and spatially-explicit dendrochronological reconstructions of fire histories in Nordic countries, analyses of reconstructed and instrumental proxies of fire weather, to develop a framework for predicting the risks of large fires in Sweden. The student will work extensively with dendrochronological methods to develop estimates of historical fire cycles across the Fennoscandinavian region, development of tree-ring based reconstruction of regional fire weather indexes, and analyses of regional climate model outputs.


Project setup and connections


The project is funded by Forskningsrådet Formas (The Swedish Research Council FORMAS) and is a collaborative study between the Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre (SLU Alnarp), Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), and University of Quebec at Abitibi-Temiscamingue (UQAT, Quebec, Canada). The project will benefit from close cooperation within NordicDendro and GDRI Cold Forest research networks. The project will be based at Dendrochronological laboratory of the Southern Swedish Research Centre (DELA, www.dendrochronology.se). 


Requirements for potential candidates (Qualifications)


We are looking for an ambitious and highly motivated PhD student with a completed master degree in forest ecology, climatology, geography, ecosystem modeling, or mathematics. Documented experiences in dendrochronology, GIS-added analyses, work with large relational databases, modeling of biological systems and good skills in computer programming (R) will all be valued during the evaluation process. It is important that the candidate is fluent in English and has an excellent ability to formulate himself/herself both orally and in writing. Knowledge of Swedish is an asset.

A past record of scientific publication and presentation is highly valued. We put great emphasis on personal characteristics of the successful applicant, solid work ethic, and in particular - the ability to independently manage a large volume of fieldwork and laboratory tasks, and meet reporting and publication deadlines. The candidate should be physically fit to successfully perform in challenging (but aesthetically superior) fieldwork settings.


We would like to emphasize that lack of particular type of experience (knowledge) will not in any way have a major impact on evaluation outcome. It is the overall record of  both academic performance and previous achievements, the interviews, and opinions from the reference persons, which will jointly provide the main ground for the evaluation.   


Forms for funding & employment


Employment as PhD student for four years, co-funded by the Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre (SLU Alnarp). This PhD project comes with a highly competitive salary and an excellent social benefits package (including medical and social insurance) for four years.


SLU is an equal opportunity employer which values high the diversity and balanced gender representation.


To be eligible for this position the candidate should have completed a Master level examination or four years of full-time studies of which at least one at the graduate level.

The candidates which prior to July the 1st 2007 qualified for a similar position, i.e. has accumulated at least 180 academic credits, qualifies for the current position till the end of the 2015.


Read more about SLU research education at www.slu.se/sv/utbildning/forskarutbildning/


Application deadline


September the 30th, 2015. Short-listed candidates will be contacted in early October. Final selection will be announced in mid-October and the PhD project is expected to start in January/February 2016, at the latest. Interested parties should electronically submit a letter of interest, application form (ANSÖKNINGSBLANKETT), vita/resume, graduate school transcripts, and contact information for three reference persons to registrator@slu.se Alternatively, you can send the application by post to Registrator vid SLU, Box 7070, 75007 Uppsala, Sweden. In the application and in the body of the email, please indicate the following reference number SLU 2908/2015.


Will do know more? Contact  Docent Igor Drobyshev igor.drobyshev@slu.se, + 46 (0)40-415199





(c) Dendrochronological Laboratory in Alnarp (DELA)