Faculty of Science, Ecology and Genetics

The University of Oulu is one of the biggest and most multidisciplinary universities in Finland. We create new knowledge and innovations that help to solve global challenges. We offer you an international and inspiring working environment where you are given responsibility and can use your skills, develop yourself and do work that matters. Our flexible and family-friendly workplace makes it easy for you to balance work and leisure. The University of Oulu is ranked in the top 3% of the world´s universities.

We are now looking for highly motivated

Doctoral Researcher

to work on the Academy of Finland funded project ‘Why, where and how: understanding the evolution of recombination rate variation’.

The research will be conducted at the Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu. The unit has a strong research focus on population and evolutionary genomics, which provides a high-quality research environment. The PhD candidate will join the University of Oulu Graduate School (UniOGS), which provides the framework and conditions for high-quality, research-driven doctoral training.


Brief description of the project and position:

This project aims to understand intra- and inter-species variation in recombination rate and its evolutionary drivers in wild bird populations. First, we will use long-term population and pedigree data to assess the heritability and genetic basis of recombination rate in the great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus). For this, we will use the “animal model” framework, QTL mapping methods and genome-wide association studies (GWAS). We will then proceed to estimate the fitness effects of individual-level recombination, with a focus on variation between sexes and its consequences. This will be one of the first studies to evaluate the fitness effects of recombination rates in wild populations. Second, we will investigate inter-species variation using genome sequencing data to create new pedigree data sets from up to 11 bird species to study the evolutionary processes and genetic regulation underlying recombination rate variation. This project will improve our understanding of the patterns of genetic variation in birds and how vertebrate genomes can adapt and evolve.

The successful candidate will conduct molecular lab work with DNA samples and perform bioinformatic, phylogenomic, and statistical analyses, in collaboration with our research team. The doctoral researcher is expected to present the results at international scientific conferences and publish the research in open-access high-impact journals and advance their doctoral studies. As the project includes a wide range of scientific methods the student will develop broad analytical skills to continue research in evolutionary and population genetics.

While based at the University of Oulu, the successful candidate will work in close collaboration with an international research team, including collaborators from Lund and Edinburgh Universities. Due to this collaboration, the project includes research visits (duration between 2 and 5 months) to the Institute of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Edinburgh and the Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab at Lund University.


What we offer:

  • Ambitious and exciting research project and study system
  • Highly enthusiastic and international researcher team and mentoring
  • Wellness benefit ePassi covering sport, culture and well-being. Read more about other staff benefits here.
  • Work that matters and a workplace that promotes flexibility and work-life balance. Read more about working with us.
  • The successful candidate will also receive benefits provided by the Finnish government to residents, for example, the possibility to obtain access to the national healthcare system, tax benefits for employees with children, and high-quality affordable childcare services.


What we expect from you: 

  • Master's degree in Biology (evolutionary biology, population genetics, genetics)
  • Excellent knowledge of population genetics and statistics
  • Experience in molecular lab work with DNA samples
  • Experience using the R language for statistical computing
  • Skills in bioinformatics and analyzing whole-genome sequencing data
  • Fluent in written and spoken English
  • High motivation and the ability to work efficiently both in a team and independently
  • See also the requirements of the University of Oulu Graduate School


The position is fixed-term for 4 years as of 1st of September 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The salary will be based on levels 2 – 4 of the demand level chart for teaching and research staff of Finnish universities. In addition, a salary component based on personal work performance will be paid (maximum of 50 % of the job-specific component). Starting gross salary will be approx. 2300-2600 € per month (before taxes).  A trial period of 6 months is applied in the position.


How to apply:

Apply through our recruitment system by 15th of August 2023 (23:59 Finnish local time).

The application should be written in English and include the following:

  1. Cover letter (describing experience relevant to this position, research interests, motivation, general career goals and why this position is of interest to you)
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Copies of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree certificates
  4. Contact information for two references

Eligible applicants who best fit the expected criteria for the position will be invited to an on-site or remote interview. All applicants will be notified during the selection process.

We welcome applicants from different backgrounds, such as people of different ages, different genders and members of different language, cultural or minority groups. 


Contact Information:

If you have any further questions, please contact Dr. Suvi Ponnikas, Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, suvi.ponnikas@oulu.fi, +358-505350044 (phone calls only on Mondays and Tuesdays between 10:00-14:00 o’clock).


Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100 %
City Oulu
Country Finland
Reference number 2023/323
  • Suvi Ponnikas
Published 04.Jul.2023

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