Postdoc in Weed Evolution and Population Genomics

Department of Plant and Environmental Science, Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen is offering a 42-month Postdoc position to explore the evolution of weediness in the agricultural weed, Alopecurus myosuroides (blackgrass) commencing 01.11.2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment
The Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences conducts fundamental research and has a strong focus on applying basic science to solve real world challenges, primarily within the plant, soil and environmental sciences. Research and teaching cover natural resources, agriculture, biotechnology and synthetic biology from the molecular to landscape scales.

The weed ecology and evolution group investigates the eco-evolutionary processes that dictate the adaptation and persistence of weedy and invasive plants in agroecosystems. We have a gene to landscape focus using approaches from population and evolutionary genetics, evolutionary biology, plant ecology, modelling and epidemiology and crop science. Our basic research recognises that weedy plants are excellent models for studying rapid plant adaptation. We apply these insights to develop sustainable weed management strategies using eco-evolutionary principles.

Project description
The position is funded by a Novo Nordisk Foundation start package “Basic research on ecology, evolution and sustainable management of weedy plants in agroecosystems” awarded to Professor Paul Neve. The post holder will work closely with another postdoc (plant/weed ecology) and a PhD student (plant/weed evolutionary ecology) in the weed ecology and evolution group.

You will address the questions ’what is the ecological and genetic (genomic) basis of weediness in Alopecurus myosuroides’ and ’why has the species rapidly emerged as a weed in some agroecosystems and not others?’ You will have access to a large collection of blackgrass accessions from around the world, including areas where the species is non-native and weedy, native but not a major weed and non-native and non-weedy. We have also recently completed the assembly and annotation of a high-quality reference genome for blackgrass. Classical plant ecological approaches will establish phenotypic and trait variation for common weedy traits within and amongst these accessions (via your interaction with a PhD studentship). As a molecular population biologist, you will use population genomics type approaches to address the genetic basis of the rapid evolution of weediness. Approaches used could encompass (i) genomic scans to identify areas of the genome under selection, (ii) studies of variation in genome size/structure and variation in large gene families implicated in resistance to herbicides and adaptations to biotic and abiotic stress and (iii) mapping and GWAS type approaches to explore the genomic basis of identified weedy trait variation.

The postholder will work closely with collaborators in the International Weed Genomics Consortium at Colorado State University, USA (, and with other labs with expertise in plant evolutionary genomics. Funds are available for lab visits to build and enable these collaborations.

Research group leader is Professor Paul Neve, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences,, Phone: +45 29611199.


Job description
The position is available for 3.5 years and your key tasks are:

  • Contribute to collection and curation of a set of global Alopecurus myosuroides seed populations.
  • Provide intellectual input to PhD student project to establish phenotypic variation in life history and weediness traits.
  • Grow, maintain and sample plants for DNA and RNA extraction. Sourcing of external sequencing services.
  • Data curation, storage and quality control for large omics datasets. Performance of population genomics analyses (genomic scans, GWAS etc.) to identify the genomic basis of weed adaptation.
  • Actively collaborate with the International Weed Genoics Consortium and other groups working in weed population genomics
  • Contribute to writing scientific papers in high impact journals (as a lead- and co-author)

The post may also include performance of other duties.

Key experience and competencies:

  • PhD relevant to plant genetics, evolution and/or molecular ecology (Essential)
  • Experience of basic techniqoues for plant growth, maintenance and sampling (Desirable).
  • Skills and experience in basic laboratory molecular biology (Essential)
  • Proficiency in working with large data sets and analytical software and algorithms for bioinformatics and statistical analyses relevant to population genetics and genomics (Essential).
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and problem solve (Essential).
  • Capacity for generating novel scientific hypotheses and designing experiments to test these (Essential).
  • Previous publication record in peer-reviewed, international journals (Essential)

Further information on the Department is linked at Inquiries about the position can be made to Paul Neve.

Terms of employment
The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.
Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.
The starting salary is currently up to DKK 437.435 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 74.801). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Application procedure
The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Diplomas (Master and PhD degree or equivalent)
  • Research plan – description of current and future research plans
  • Complete publication list
  • Separate reprints of 3 particularly relevant papers

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background. 

The deadline for applications is Sunday 20 June, 2021, 23:59 GMT +1

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee.

You can read about the recruitment process at


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.


Paul Neve


Ansøgningsfrist: 20-06-2021
Ansættelsesdato: 01-11-2021
Arbejdstid: Fuldtid
Afdeling/Sted: Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
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