PhD student in Biochemistry (MSCA COFOUND project PRISMAS)

  • Contract
  • Sweden

Stockholm University

Ref. No. SU FV-3833-23

at the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics . Closing date: 31 October 2023.

The Department is mainly located with the other Departments of Chemistry and Life Sciences in the Arrhenius Laboratories for Natural Sciences, which are situated in the northern part of the University Campus at Frescati. Some 300 people of which about 70 are PhD students work at the Department, engaged in internationally highly recognized research covering a broad range of subjects. 

Stockholm University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

PRISMAS – PhD Research and Innovation in Synchrotron Methods and Applications in Sweden – is a new doctoral network training the next generation of 40 leading synchrotron experts, co-funded by the Horizon Europe MSCA COFUND Programme.

As a PRISMAS PhD student, you will have the chance to conduct cutting-edge research in your field, taking advantage of state of the art tools that swill bring to attractive future job opportunities in academia or industry. Moreover, you are part of designing the future of synchrotron technology and instrumentation and using these to tackle some of the most significant global challenges the world faces today while acquiring interdisciplinary and intersectoral knowledge. Being part of the PRISMAS programme gives you the one-of-a-kind experience in form of a secondment at the world´s first 4th generation synchrotron, MAX IV in Lund, Sweden.

Complemented with a tailored training programme, including courses to build scientific and technical competence as well as strengthen transferrable skills, PRISMAS provides you with the skills, knowledge and competence needed to successfully achieve your doctoral degree.

Project description
Your studies in Biochemistry will be in the project: “Spectroscopic and geometric characterization of high-valent dinuclear metalloprotein intermediates“.

If we could mimic nature’s use of metals for harvesting sunlight, energy conversion, and chemical synthesis it would eliminate the need for fossil fuels and greatly increase the possibilities of green chemistry. These reactions are based on challenging redox reactions by high-valent metal clusters in proteins. To understand and mimic this chemistry it is of central importance to know the geometric and electronic structures of the metal core as well as the protein ligand environment for these reactive intermediates. In this project we combine serial X-ray crystallography with X-ray spectroscopy (XAS/XES) on proteins in-solution and in-crystal to determine electronic and atomic structures of key intermediates in enzymes utilizing dinuclear metal sites for chemically very challenging reactions. The results will be of interest for both basic and applied science in health and biomimetic catalysis.

The MSCA COFUND project PRISMAS offers you outstanding opportunities as well as a stimulating and inspiring surrounding for performing cutting-edge research. Supporting your mobility, it creates perfect conditions for strengthening your international network.

The training implies a secondment of 3-12 months at MAX IV laboratory in Lund, Sweden. Additional secondments and/or short stays may be arranged in agreement with the supervisor of the research project. Moreover, you will attend international conferences, participate in periodical project meetings and training schools as well as in specialised courses at different universities to complement your knowledge.  A certain amount of travelling is foreseen in relation to these activities. 

Qualification requirements
To comply with the mobility rule of the MSCA COFUND programme, you are eligible if you have not resided in Sweden for more than 12 months during the period 2020-10-30 to 2023-10-31 for work or studies as main occupation. 

By the employment date (before 01/03/2024) you must have completed a second-cycle degree and completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses or have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.

In order to meet the general entry requirements, the applicant must have completed a second-cycle degree, completed courses equivalent to at least 240 higher education credits, of which 60 credits must be in the second cycle, or have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.

In order to meet the specific entry requirements, for acceptance in the Biochemistry program the applicant must have passed courses within the first and second cycles of at least 120 credits in Biochemistry/Life Science, including at least 15 credits Biochemistry at the second cycle level and a Degree Project (thesis) also in Biochemistry of 30 credits.

You are not already in possession of a doctoral degree.

The selection among the eligible candidates will be based on their capacity to successfully complete the program. Important criteria when assessing this capacity are; documented knowledge and skill in the field of the thesis project, written and oral proficiency in English, the capacity for analytical thinking, the ability to collaborate, as well as creativity, initiative, and independence. The assessment will be based on previous experience and grades, references, relevant experience, interviews and the candidate’s written motivation for seeking the position.

Previous experience in structural biology, molecular biology, enzymology and biophysical methods, specifically X-ray crystallography and Cryo-EM is an advantage. 

Admission Regulations for Doctoral Studies at Stockholm University are available at: and regulations .

Terms of employment
Only a person who will be or has already been admitted to a third-cycle programme may be appointed to a doctoral studentship.

The employment is for four years, extent 100 % (full-time) and foreseen to start on 01/03/2024.

Doctoral students should primarily devote themselves to their own education, but may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20 % of a full-time position.

The initial employment as a PhD student may not exceed one year. The employment may be extended for a maximum of two years at a time. However, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study.

Please note that admission decisions cannot be appealed.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

For more information, please contact Professor Martin Högbom, [email protected] .

For questions on the selection process, please contact: [email protected] .

Union representatives
Ingrid Lander (Saco-S), telephone: +46 708 16 26 64, [email protected] , Alejandra Pizarro Carrasco (Fackförbundet ST/OFR), telephone: +46 8 16 34 89, [email protected] , [email protected]  (SEKO), and PhD student representative, [email protected] .

Apply for the PhD student position at Stockholm University’s recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2–3 references

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • A two-page cover letter, justifying your interest in the position and how it matches your qualifications. In case you are applying to several PRISMAS positions, please prioritize the project titles. 
  • CV in Europass format
  • Copy of academic records (including marks for all coursework) with a transcript of diploma in English, an evidence of English 3 proficiency (minimum B2 level), and other relevant document to which you would like to draw attention (i.e. residence in Sweden after 31/10/2020)
  • At least one reference letter
  • Degree projects/theses (no more than 6 files)

These documents should be uploaded (pdf) in the job application portal. Exam certificates and other documents on paper should be scanned or photographed before being uploaded. In regard to incomplete applications (especially if lacking the abovementioned documents), the PRISMAS Management reserves the right to exclude them in the selection process, without any additional notification to the applicant.

The application will be evaluated based on scientific excellence, the adequacy of your career plan and your thesis project as well as your research experience. Details on the novel, unique and common selection process for all the PRISMAS positions can be found here: How to apply – MAX IV (

The general instructions for applicants to Stockholm University are available at: How to apply for a position .

You are welcome to apply!

Stockholm University contributes to the development of sustainable democratic society through knowledge, enlightenment and the pursuit of truth.

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