Postdoc on large-scale nitrogen modelling

Nitrogen impact on surface water ecosystems is a worldwide problem. In this study you will aid in the development of a national nitrogen model to be used in regulation of nitrogen in Denmark.

This Postdoc position will be part of a project on national scale modelling of nitrogen transport and degradation. The project is led by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) with partners from Aarhus University (AU) and funded by the Ministry of Environment of Denmark.

Nitrogen leaching the rootzone, primarily as nitrate, is transported in groundwater and surface water systems to the sea. During this transport nitrate is removed by natural degradation processes. However, the removal is spatially very heterogenous. The Danish regulation of nitrogen use seeks to take advantage of the natural variability. To do so, the spatial variability in nitrate reduction must be mapped. GEUS and AU have developed a national nitrogen model (NNM) describing transport and degradation of nitrogen from the field to the sea. As part of a further development of the nitrogen regulation in Denmark, the NNM will be further developed to improve model estimates, refine the spatial scale for mapping nitrogen reduction and assess the associated uncertainties in the model results.

Job description

The Postdoc will work on improving the NNM and its utilisation. The NNM is a modelling complex coupling different models describing the various part of the system, i.e. leaching from the root zone and transport and degradation in drains, groundwater and surface waters. Important aspects of the research will include development of improved couplings of the models using Python scripting, and new methods and approaches to 1) regionalise findings from small scale research projects to national scale and, 2) assess and quantify model uncertainty at various geographical scales. The project involves researchers from different disciplines contributing to the development of the model, particularly the regionalisation of previous findings, while the postdoc will be the main responsible for integration into the NNM, as well as running and analysing model results. The candidate should expect to broaden her/his existing field in nitrogen transport, uncertainty assessments and data analysis. Research findings should be published in leading journals within the field.

Your qualifications

You are expected to have a Ph.D. in hydrology or related and the appointment will be made on the basis of academic qualifications. Particular emphasis is placed on experience with hydrological/groundwater modelling including particle tracking. Specific knowledge or experience with nitrogen and transport modelling as well as Python scripting will be an asset. Candidates that have already demonstrated a good publication record will be favoured.

Special consideration will be given to the candidate’s ability to embrace a broad range of activities and collaborate within a team of colleagues on a daily basis. The candidate must also master English and if they do not speak Danish, they are encouraged to learn Danish to an appropriate level within the first 12 months of employment.

Department of Hydrology

The hydrology department at GEUS works with the characterisation, modelling and management of the water cycle and solute transport in Danish and international contexts. Within the current issues, the department contributes with research, consultancy and capacity building in four main areas: hydrogeological characterisation, water and solute cycle, climate impacts and adaptation, and water management. Most of the department’s activities are carried out in close cooperation with Danish as well as foreign research institutes and universities. There is about 25 staff in the department, of which nearly 15 are researchers or PhD students and postdocs.

We offer

  • A creative and interdisciplinary research environment
  • A lively and informal working environment with talented and dedicated colleagues
  • Versatile work duties and good opportunities to influence them
  • Development opportunities with access to courses and other further education
  • Family friendly workplace with flextime
  • An active social environment, with a staff association and art society
  • Fitness centre with physiotherapy at the workplace

In accordance with the collective agreements between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the relevant eligible trade union.

The appointment area is the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities and its institutions. The position is for a two-year period (24 months) and is to be filled as soon as possible

The Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities considers diversity to be an asset and invites anybody interested, regardless of gender, age, religion or ethnicity to apply for the position.

Further information

Please contact Senior researcher Anker Lajer Højberg on tel. +45 9133 3992 e-mail: or the Head of Department Heidi Barlebo on tel. +45 9133 3601, e-mail:

International applicants can read more about living and working in Denmark on GEUS' homepage:


The application must include a letter of motivation, a CV (incl. ORCID), a list of publications with a separate indication of journal papers that are registered in ISI Web of Science. We highly recommend an ORCID is stated in the CV. It will be used for evaluating applicant publication records. PhD diploma, as well as a short summary of the PhD or other material that can document qualifications at Postdoc level must be enclosed. If relevant, contact details of referees (max. 2).

Submitted PhD theses that have not yet been defended may be documented or attached to the application and will be included in the assessment. The PhD thesis must be approved by the University prior to appointment. Submitted journal papers in review can likewise be included or documented and will be included in the assessment.

You can send your application by clicking on the “Apply Now” button. Your application must be with GEUS no later than 12.00 midday (Danish time), Thursday 21 July 2022.

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

The appointment procedure

An expert academic assessment committee consisting of two internal senior researchers will make an individual evaluation of applicants’ academic qualifications, where candidates are deemed qualified or non-qualified in relation to the position advertised. Then an appointments committee decide which of the qualified candidates they want to call for a job interview. The procedure is in accordance with “Circular on the appointment and assessment of academic staff at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland”, Sections 4 and 7.

The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) is an independent and internationally oriented research institution within the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities, and is part of Geocenter Denmark. GEUS also acts as consultant to public authorities and companies within nature, climate, environment, energy and mineral resources. GEUS is responsible for the scientific exploration of the geology in Denmark and Greenland including shelf areas. GEUS maps, acquires and monitors data, informs the public about geological matters and is the national geological data centre.

posted: 20 June 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.