Development of an automated sampler for subsoil nutrient flows


  • Applications can be submitted until 15th of September 2019.
  • Please send your job application (motivation letter & CV incl. references) to
  • Skype interviews will take place in the second half of september for selected candidates.
  • Position will start 1. Oktober 2019.


The EU-funded Innovative Training Network FutureArtic aims to quantify how much carbon will escape from the Arctic in future climate. How do the multitude of ecosystem processes, driven by plant growth, microbial activities and soil characteristics, interact to determine soil carbon storage capacity? A group of fifteen PhD-students will study the Forhot ecosystem in Iceland, where a natural coincidence has provided us with the exceptional opportunity to actually look into a warmer future (i.e. a geotermal soil warming experiment).

Given the strong urgency of tackling and managing the climate challenge and the particularly important role herein of (sub)Arctic ecosystems, a rapid assessment of the ecosystem and ambient processes in this natural laboratory is essential. FutureArctic will achieve this challenge by adopting the fast advances made in the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and (remote) sensor technology into environmental research at the ecosystem scale, into a new concept of an ‘ecosystem-of-things’.

FutureArctic thus aims to channel an important evolution to automated machine-assisted fundamental environmental research. This is achieved through dedicated training of researchers with profiles at the inter-sectoral edge of computer science, artificial intelligence, environmental and agricultural science, sensor engineering and communication and social sciences. FutureArctic training ensures the development of unique enviro-technological job profiles, all with their own specialty, embedded in holistic knowledge on connected high-data throughput ecosystem research, ready for machine-assisted environmental ecosystem science and modelling.


The overall aim is put together, test and apply new sampling and sensor technology for soil and water observation that can be used in research and monitoring even in remote and harsh environment. First we aim to apply and validate novel soil water and soil gas sensors, and applying a new porous steel soil water sampler (from PRENART). A secondary aim of the project is to investigate the possibility of estimating in-situ soil hydraulic properties (soil-water retention curve and hydraulic conductivity). The data from the new multi-sensors will be applied to assess the plot scale element leaching and nutrient biogeochemistry. This will supply an important data-stream for the smart-analysis of ecosystem-complexity. The data will be coupled to evapotranspiration data from a parallel PhD project (ESR6) in the development of a hydrological model for the ForHot site. The intention is also to make a collaboration with a third PhD (ESR9) where new technologies for low power datatransmission and rugged control station will be developed.


For a conceptual understanding of which variables are important to measure in order to get novel and dynamic understanding of the important nutrient fluxes in the ecosystem you will visit UCPH for about 2 months within the first half year. Later after coupling new sensors to the automated lysimeters, the system will be tested and validated via a second Secondment at UCPH for about 3 months. You will further benefit from secondments to other FutureArctic partners (IMEC, LBHI), to establish a stable low power datalink and field testing of the equipment.


You will be supervised by Dr. Poul Larsen, project manager in the R&D department in DMR A/S and Cosupervised by Prof. Dr. Per Gundersen from University of Copenhagen, Dept. of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management and Ass. Prof. Maarten Weyn, University of Antwerp and IMEC, Belgium (IDLab research group). The R&D Department at DMR is led by Dr. Per Loll who will support the supervision in different parts of your PhD-project. Per has more than 20 years of R&D experience in soil science and is an expert in geostatistics and soil-, air- and groundwater-sampling. You will be affiliated to the PhD School of SCIENCE at University of Copenhagen

Benefits of being part of FutureArctic

  • You will be working within our international group of > 25 researchers
  • You will get in contact with the other members of this international consortium and will benefit from the joint training platform to develop skills necessary for developing an “ecosystem-of-things”

DMR as a host organization

Through more than 30 innovation projects focusing on development of new hardware/methods for site investigation and risk assessment at polluted sites, DMR has built a strong platform to support R&D activities in the field. DMR has the necessary cross-disciplinary know-how and equipment to build and assemble electric prototypes mainly based on the Arduino platform that are ideal for innovation of new hardware for soil investigations. To support this, DMR has developed a network of subcontractors who can build tailored prototype parts e.g. via 3D printing which speeds up the innovative process. You will become an important part of the R&D department, and benefit from our experience, which always has an offspring in a problem oriented focus.


  • Applicants must hold a MSc or equivalent in the field of environmental sciences, environmental engineer, biology, chemistry or a related discipline.
  • Applicants must have interest and flair for technical installations and sensor technology.
  • Applicants can be of any nationality.
  • Applicants must have an ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English to a level that is sufficiently high for them to derive the full benefit from the network training.
  • Applicants must be eligible to enroll on a PhD programme at University of Copenhagen.


    H2020 MSCA Mobility Rule: researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host organisation (Denmark) for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status are not taken into account.

    H2020 MSCA eligibility criteria: Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) must, at the date of recruitment by the host organisation, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. Full-Time Equivalent Research Experience is measured from the date when the researcher obtained the degree entitling him/her to embark on a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited, even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged).


  • You will be employed by the host organisation for 36 months.
  • A competitive salary plus allowances. Moreover, funding is available for technical and personal skills training and participation in international research events.
  • You will benefit from the designed training programme offered by the host organisation and the consortium.
  • You will participate in international secondments to other organisations within the FutureArctic network and in outreach activities targeted at a wide audience.

Please, find additional information in the Information package for Marie Curie fellows


For details on the job and task description, requirements and benefits please contact:

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 813114