Doctoral student in molecular biology with focus on RNA biology – Gothenburg, Sweden

Posted 3 weeks ago

Ref PAR 2022/1611

The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 56 000 students and 6 600 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

The Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology conducts high-quality research and education in chemical sciences and molecular life sciences. Our research and education focuses on a deep understanding of chemical and biological processes in cells and in the environment. We address important societal issues such as antibiotic resistance, cancer, brain diseases, environmental problems and climate change. In this way, we contribute to achieving the UN’s global goals for sustainable development in the areas of good health and well-being, sustainable energy for all, sustainable cities and communities, and combating climate change.

The department is an international environment with interdisciplinary collaborations in both research and education, and contributes strongly to the University of Gothenburg’s top ranking in life science.

The department is responsible for postgraduate education in the subject area Natural Sciences with a focus on chemistry, biophysics, biology and educational science. In addition, the department hosts educational programs in molecular biology, genomics and systems biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry, as well as prescription education. The department collaborates with various societal actors such as schools, business and authorities. The Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology has around 200 employees. We are located in central premises both on Campus Johanneberg and on Campus Medicinareberget in Gothenburg.

In the research group of Per Sunnerhagen, we study how gene regulation is affected by cellular stress. In particular, we work in RNA biology, i.e. the post-transcriptional level. The new PhD student will examine how the eukaryotic cell adapts translation and RNA turnover to stress conditions. Specifically, we are interested in pathways regulating RNA decay and localization of RNA to stress granules.The research focus is on fundamental science, but with a view for its applications in society. Several types of perturbations of post-transcriptional regulation under stress have been implicated as drivers in human diseases including cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Post-transcriptional regulation is also important for survival of microorganisms and plants under stress. We use eukaryotic genetic model organisms because they allow rapid and precise investigations, the results of which can then be transferred to e.g. human cells.

General information about being a doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg can be found on the university’s doctoral student pages.


The PhD project will comprise elements of both experimental and computational work. The extent and types of experimental work will be determined by the interest and qualifications of the applicant. The PhD student is expected to contribute to experiment planning, execution and analysis, as well as to writing manuscript writing and literature searches. Active participation in research presentation at seminars and conferences is encouraged.

We expect the PhD project to develop continuously through discussions between the PhD candidate, the supervisor, and other group members.

Education at third-cycle level comprises four years of full-time study, and leads to a doctoral degree.

As part of your employment as a doctoral student, you may have departmental duties corresponding to up to 20 % of full-time employment, distributed throughout your study period. Departmental duties usually consist of teaching at first- and second-cycle levels, but may also include research and administration.


Education at third-cycle level requires general eligibility and, where appropriate, specific eligibility as set out in the general syllabus for the subject.

The general eligibility requirements for education at third-cycle level are:

  1. having completed a degree at second-cycle level, or
    2. the fulfilment of course requirements totalling at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits must be at second-cycle level, or
  2. the acquisition of equivalent knowledge in some other way, either in Sweden or abroad.

To meet the specific entry requirements for third-cycle studies, applicants must:

(i) have a second-cycle (advanced-level) degree in a relevant* subject area in the natural sciences, or

(ii) have completed studies for at least 60 higher education credits at a second-cycle level in relevant subject areas in the natural sciences, or

(iii) have completed a corresponding program of relevance to the planned third-cycle program, in Sweden or in another country, or have equivalent qualifications.

*Relevant for the planned third-cycle education

Relevant third-cycle programs include molecular biology, bioinformatics, biotechnology, synthetic biology, genomics and systems biology.

  1. The specific entry requirements also include an acceptable command of spoken and written English. Guidelines for assessing English proficiency may include a minimum score of 550 on the TOEFL test (or 213 on the TOEFL-CBT, or 79 on the TOEFL-iBT).

Assessment criteria 

The applicant should hold a master’s degree or be close to finishing. Relevant masters programs include molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics, biotechnology, synthetic biology, and systems biology. The specific entry requirements also include an acceptable command of spoken and written English.

The assessment will attach particular weight to documented qualifications for one or more of the following areas: Gene expression analyses, yeast molecular genetics, protein and RNA biochemistry, genomics and bioinformatics, statistics and data processing, synthetic biology. It is not a requirement to have qualifications in all these areas; one or a few may be sufficient. There is flexibility to adapt the PhD project according to the particular areas of strength and interests of the applicant.

In selecting between applicants who meet the general and specific entry requirements, their ability to benefit from third-cycle studies will be taken into account. We are looking for a candidate with a strong motivation and interest in a PhD education. We attach much weight to the ability for independent thinking and initiative.


Once you have been admitted for education at third-cycle level, you will be employed as a doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg.

Type of employment: Fixed-term employment, four years full time

Extent: 100 %

Location: Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, Gothenburg

First day of employment: As soon as possible based on agreement

Regulations for the evaluation of qualifications for education on a doctoral level are given in SFS 1993:100.

A new employment as a PhD student applies for a maximum of one year. The Appointment may be prolonged for up to two years at a time. The total employment period may not be longer than the equivalent of four years of full time doctoral studies.

University applies local agreement on salaries of graduate students. 

Contact information

Professor Per Sunnerhagen

Institutionen för Kemi och Molekylärbiologi

Göteborgs Universitet 


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg can be found here:    


In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

You must include the following, in PDF format

  • Personal letter
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts showing that you meet with the general entry requirement
  • Proof of completion of  English 6 course or the acquired equivalent knowledge through previous studies
  • Two references (name, e-mail, telephone number, relation)

If your degree is from a university outside of Sweden, check what you need to submit at where you can also see what you need to submit in order to fulfill the English language requirement.

If your degree has not been verified by a Swedish authority you need to provide contact details to the issuing university, registrar or similar, that can verify the degree at our request. 

Applications must be received by: 2023-01-20

Information for International Applicants

Choosing a career in a foreign country is a big step. Thus, to give you a general idea of what we and Gothenburg have to offer in terms of benefits and life in general for you and your family/spouse/partner please visit:

The University works actively to achieve a working environment with equal conditions, and values the qualities that diversity brings to its operations.

Salaries are set individually at the University.

In accordance with the National Archives of Sweden’s regulations, the University must archive application documents for two years after the appointment is filled. If you request that your documents are returned, they will be returned to you once the two years have passed. Otherwise, they will be destroyed.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.

Job Features

Job CategoryDoctorat

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