hD fellowship in Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry

Within the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) OncoProTools, University of Copenhagen is offering one PhD position for a Doctoral Candidate (DC), commencing in January 2023 or as soon as possible hereafter. The position is for 36 months and is funded by the Horizon Europe grant agreement no. 101073231. OncoProTools is a MSCA Doctoral Network. The mission of OncoProTools is to develop tumor targeting strategies for cancer diagnostics and therapeutics, to make them more effective, selective, patient-friendly, and personalized. Tumor targeted diagnostics and therapeutics are molecules that are typically equipped with a vector unit. The vector unit binds to a protein that is overexpressed on cancer cells or in the Tumor Micro-Environment (TME), causing the diagnostic or therapeutic payload to accumulate in the tumor. Exciting, recent innovations rely on small molecule vectors that target TME proteases. Proteases are ideal candidates for tumor targeting; they are often strongly overexpressed in the TME and possess an active site that allows high-affinity anchoring of vectors. Members of this consortium have played a leading role in these recent developments.

OncoProTools wants to force breakthroughs by:

1) Exploring innovative venues for protease targeting in cellular immunotherapy.

2) Discovering novel vectors that bind to other TME proteases, like cathepsins and granzymes.

3) Personalized applications of protease targeting: deliver innovative diagnostics through deeper understanding of TME biology.

OncoProTools will deliver a training program to 10 Doctoral Candidates that truly captures the MSCA values, hence providing them with all capabilities to become leaders of tomorrow’s R&I in Europe.

Project description

The successful applicant will join a multidisciplinary EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie International PhD training network. This interdisciplinary doctoral position is jointly hosted by the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH). The position will be supervised from Assoc. Prof. Matthias Herth. His group focusses on the development of novel radiopharmaceuticals, pretargeted drug delivery, imaging and therapy strategies. His group work with medicinal chemistry, radiochemistry, biology and molecular imaging. In this position, you will:

  • Design, synthesize and characterize novel ligands for pretargeting that allow simultaneously for drug release, imaging or radionuclide therapy approaches which are aimed to increase the efficacy of CAR-T cells.
  • Perform analytical, biochemical and biological investigations on the compounds.
  • Radiolabel developed ligands and are involved in their biological evaluation.
  • Write project reports for your local and network supervisors on a regular basis.
  • Be enrolled in UCPH’s Pharma PhD School and comply with its doctoral training requirements.
  • Participate actively to OncoProTools’ training, dissemination, communication and valorization program.
  • Prepare a doctoral thesis, and publish scientific articles related to the research project.

Furthermore, the selected candidate will take part in the following planned secondments:

  • Academic secondment to The Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, HZDR, Germany (4 months) to design and evaluate the CAR-Tcells which will be targeted by the novel imaging probes.
  • Industrial secondment at CROmed Tranlational Research Centers, Hungary (5 months) to evaluate the in vivo capabilities of developed approaches.

Principal supervisor
Associate Professor Matthias Herth, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology
E-mail:  matthias.herth@sund.ku.dk, direct phone: +45 3533 6624.

Our department

The Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology (www.drug.ku.dk) delivers drug-related research and research-based teaching within a wide range of drug-related disciplines, spanning the molecular, cellular, and pharmacological levels.

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD fellow at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences are to:

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS points
  • Participate in active research environments including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Obtain experience with teaching and other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Participate in national and international conferences and scientific meetings
  • Write a PhD thesis on the grounds of your research project

Required qualifications

As an applicant you must have:

  • Qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree related to the subject area of the project. Please note that your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (two years).
  • Fluency in English and excellent communication skills

Applicants will also be required to meet the MSCA Doctoral Network eligibility criteria:

  • Mobility Rule – Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Denmark for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the start of their employment at UCPH. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.
  • Doctoral Candidate requirement – DCs must, not be in possession of a doctoral degree at the first day of the employment. Please note that you will only be considered for the position if you fulfill all the above eligibility criteria.

Preferred qualifications

  • Organic chemistry
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Radiochemistry
  • Pharmacy

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant work experience
  • Publications
  • The grade point average achieved
  • Other professional activities
  • Language skills
  • The successful applicant is also required to be enterprising and to possess good interpersonal skills

Terms of employment

The employment as PhD fellow is full time and for 3 years.

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 to the Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences.

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

The PhD student is expected to be affiliated to the graduate programme in pharmaceutical sciences, Drug Research Academy.

Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the requirements from the European Commission related to the MSCA programme and the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary begins around 28,300 DKK/roughly 3,770 EUR (taxable) plus pension (April 2022 level). In addition, a mobility allowance (gross amount 600 EUR per month from the EU to UCPH) and (if eligible) also a family allowance (gross amount 660 EUR per month from the EU to UCPH).

Application procedure

Your application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking “Apply now” below and must include the following documents in PDF format:

  • Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  • CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  • 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: https://ufm.dk/en/education/recognition-and-transparency/find-assessments/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.

Applicants with a Master´s degree from abroad should also enclose a short description of the grading scale used

  • Publication list (if possible)
  • Other information to consider: References and recommendations (if possible)

The deadline for applications is 15th July 2022, 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 authorised 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.

The applicant 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 take place online and preselected candidates will be invited to take part in the recruitment event in Antwerp on October 6th, 2022. OncoProTools offers a support of 200 EUR to attend this physical event.

You can read about the recruitment process at https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/


For further information, applicants may contact the principal supervisor Matthias Herth, e-mail: matthias.herth@sund.ku.dk direct phone: +45 3533 6624 or PhD coordinator Marianne W. Jørgensen, e-mail: marianne.joergensen@sund.ku.dk, direct phone: +45 3533 6449.

For more information on working and living in Denmark visit http://ism.ku.dk (International staff mobility) and https://www.workindenmark.dk

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


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