PhD scholarship in luminescence Dating of Early Humans in Central Asia

tirsdag 23 mar 21

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Frist 1. maj 2021
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Central Asia is a key route for ancient human expansion out of Africa, with early human migrants leaving behind stone tools in thick wind-blown dust (loess) deposits in Tajikistan, deposited over the last 2-3 million years. However, much remains unknown about the timing and environmental context associated with the first presence of modern humans and ancient hominins in Central Asia.

This PhD scholarship is part of an exciting cross-disciplinary project, involving scientists from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Russia and Tajikistan, that will answer questions such as when humans arrived in Central Asia and what environmental and climatic conditions were at the time. The PhD scholarship will likely involve extended stays at one or more of the partner institutions.

Responsibilities and qualifications
The successful candidate will be primarily responsible for developing a chronology for the last ~250,000 years at two key sites using luminescence signals from both quartz and feldspar and the latest techniques and instrumentation. The PhD student will work under the supervision of Dr Jan-Pieter Buylaert, the project leader, and collaborate closely with PhD students and staff working at other Nordic/Russian/Tajik institutions on chronology, organic and inorganic proxies of past climate and environment and archaeology.

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate who has a broad interest in the application of experimental physics to earth sciences and archaeology. The successful candidate is expected to have a two-year master’s (120 ECTS points) or equivalent degree in experimental physics or physical chemistry although candidates with a geoscience or archaeology background will also be considered. Prior experience in luminescence dating and its applications is not necessary but would be an advantage.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.  

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.  

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.  

Further information

Further information may be obtained from Senior Researcher Jan-Pieter Buylaert ( or Senior Researcher Kristina Thomsen ( 

You can read more about DTU Physics at  

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU–Moving to Denmark

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 
1 May 2021 (Danish time)Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

The position will be hosted by the Radiation Physics Section (RADPHYS) at the Department of Physics of the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and will be located at DTU’s Risø Campus near Roskilde. RADPHYS carries out fundamental and applied research within the areas of luminescence physics, radiation instruments and neutronics. The programme presently consists of 30 people including Researchers, Technicians and PhD students engaged in research, innovation and education. We are a highly international research group with diverse backgrounds in physics and earth sciences and an active international guest programme. We have a friendly and dynamic research environment with close, daily interaction among all group members and strong collaboration with many academic partners around the world. We are the largest luminescence dating laboratory in the world with unrivalled access to the latest instrumental facilities and engineering and technical support. 

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,000 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.