PhD fellowship at Copenhagen Health Complexity Center

We are offering a PhD fellowship to commerce on 1 November, 2024, or as soon as possible thereafter.

The PhD fellow will be part of the new Copenhagen Health Complexity Center (HealthComplex) at Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen. HealthComplex is a newly established research center with the vision to understand real-world health complexities among young adults.


Our research

We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in an international and interdisciplinary research environment. HealthComplex seeks to improve the field of public health by acknowledging and addressing the complexities of many health issues. Health, social, and environmental factors interact and affect each other over time not only for individuals but also within families and networks. Health is a complex phenomenon, and we study the social and biological factors determining health and disease. We also aim to elucidate the underlying behavioral, psychological, and physiological mechanisms that might explain these effects.


Your job

The PhD fellow will be involved in the program studying Family Formation and Networks, which aims at studying the patterns, mechanisms, and dynamics of family formations and the risk of poisoning and injuries in young adults. The PhD fellow will be part of an interdisciplinary group of researchers, and they will be responsible for scientific research related to health complexity, statistical analyses of large and complex datasets, scientific paper writing, teaching, and outreach activities within this project. The transition into young adulthood often entails important milestones such as cohabitation, first unions/marriages, and childbearing, alongside educational pursuits and entry into the labor market. Families play a central role in fostering social wellbeing and impacting the mental and physical health of both children and adult. Health behaviors and social norms are also strongly influenced by family ties, and this is of particular importance in young adulthood where families establish the foundation for the next generation. The process of first union and family formation may be influenced by experiences and events that occur already in childhood and adolescence. For example, preliminary findings from the DANLIFE cohort show a link between childhood adversity and a higher risk of planned abortions during early adulthood, highlighting the importance of family formation as a social pathway connecting early-life events to later health outcomes. HealthComplex aims to expand the current evidence by conducting a comprehensive assessment of the prospective associations of early life adversity, various indicators of family formation stability and instability and health. The PhD fellow will be involved in quantitatively mapping family formations and networks in young adults, and analyses of how high risk behaviors are shared across family ties.


Principal supervisor is Associate Professor Jannie Nielsen, Department of Public Health,, Tel: +45 35 33 12 62

Start:            1 November, 2024

Duration:     3 years as a PhD student


Job description

Your key tasks as a PhD student at SUND are:

  • Carrying out an independent research project under supervision.
  • Completing PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approximately 30 ECTS points.
  • Participating in active research environments including a stay abroad at another research team.
  • Obtaining experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project.
  • Writing a PhD thesis on the grounds of your project.


Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic scientist with the following competencies and experience:

  • You have a master’s degree in public health, epidemiology, data science, complexity science, computational science, social science, or related sciences. Please note that your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (two years).
  • You have a curious mind-set with a strong interest in public health and epidemiology, particularly social networks and complex systems approaches.
  • Preferably you have experience working with large and complex dataset.
  • You have proficient communication skills and a sincere interest in interdisciplinary teams.
  • You have excellent English skills, written and spoken.


Place of employment

The place of employment is at the Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment.


Terms of employment

The average weekly working hours are 37 hours per week.

The position is a fixed-term position limited to a period of 3 years. The start date is 1 November, 2024 or after agreement.

The employment is conditioned upon the applicant’s success­ful enrolment as a PhD student at the Graduate School at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The PhD study must be completed in accordance with The Ministerial Order on the PhD program (2013) and the Faculty’s rules on achieving the degree.

Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the agree­ment between the Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary starts at approximately 30,700 DKK/Roughly 4,100 EUR (April 2024 level) plus pension.



For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

General information about PhD studies at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available at the Graduate School’s website:

Foreign applicants may find this link useful: (International Staff Mobility).


Application procedure

Your application must be submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. The application must include the following documents in PDF format: 

  1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  2. CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  3. Certified copy of original Master of Science diploma and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in other language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted. As a prerequisite for a PhD fellowship employment, your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree. We encourage you to read more in the assessment database: Please note that we might ask you to obtain an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science
  4. Publication list (if possible)


Application deadline: 20 August 2024, 23.59pm CET


We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.


The further process
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the hiring committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an unbiased assessor.

The assessor makes a non-prioritized assessment of the academic qualifications and experience with respect to the above-mentioned area of research, techniques, skills and other requirements listed in the advertisement.


Once the assessment work has been completed each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself.


You find information about the recruitment process at:


The applicants will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.


Interviews are expected to be held 16-20 September 2024.  

The University of Copenhagen wish to reflect the diversity of society and encourage all qualified candidates to apply regardless of personal background. 


Københavns Universitet giver sine knap 10.000 medarbejdere muligheder for at udnytte deres talent fuldt ud i et ambitiøst, uformelt miljø. Vi sikrer traditionsrige og moderne rammer om uddannelser og fri forskning på højt internationalt niveau. Vi søger svar og løsninger på fælles problemer og gør ny viden tilgængelig og nyttig for andre.


Jannie Nielsen


Ansøgningsfrist: 20-08-2024
Ansættelsesdato: 01-11-2024
Arbejdstid: Fuldtid
Afdeling/Sted: Department of Public Health

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