Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top universities. The University has around 45 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

PRISMAS – PhD Research and Innovation in Synchrotron Methods and Applications in Sweden – is a new doctoral network training the next generation of 40 leading synchrotron expertsand is co-funded by the Horizon Europe MSCA COFUND Programme.

As a PRISMAS PhD student, you will have the chance to conduct cutting-edge research in your field, taking advantage of state of the art tools that will lead to attractive future job opportunities in academia or industry. Moreover, you are part of designing the future of synchrotron technology and instrumentation and using these to tackle some of the most significant global challenges the world faces today while acquiring interdisciplinary and intersectoral knowledge. Being part of the PRISMAS programme gives you the one-of-a-kind experience in form of a secondment at the world´s first 4th generation synchrotron, MAX IV in Lund, Sweden. With a tailored training programme, including courses to build scientific and technical competence as well as strengthen transferrable skills, PRISMAS provides you with the skills, knowledge and competence needed to successfully achieve your doctoral degree.

Description of the workplace (“Your Team”)

The PhD position is placed at the Division of Synchrotron Radiation Research at the Department of Physics.

The Division of Synchrotron Radiation Research ( is a part of the Physics Department, with about 50 employees. The main focus of the research at the division is experimental studies of electronic, structural, and chemical properties of materials. At the division we use and develop a wide range of synchrotron- and lab-based techniques, including x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy central for this position.

The PhD student will also be part of the NanoLund (, which is the Centre for Nanoscience at Lund University. NanoLund is today Sweden’s largest research environment for nanoscience, engaging approximately 270 PhD students and scientists in the Faculties of Engineering, Science, and Medicine. It operates Lund Nano Lab, a state-of-the-art cleanroom for the synthesis, processing, and characterization nanostructured surfaces.

At MAX IV the PhD student will work closely together with the APXPS team consisting of 11 scientists dedicated to keep our two APXPS beamlines HIPPIE and SPECIES operating 24/7 and to the continuous development of these beamlines.

Within the last 5 years the PI and co-workers at the division and in the APXPS team at MAX IV pioneered the field of time-resolved ambient pressure x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. In particular, we developed in situ methodologies and instrumentation capable of measuring the chemical state of a catalyst surface and the localized gas composition above it– including product molecules formed – simultaneously and with ms to µs time-resolution. This gives unique possibilities study short-lived active phases and how the micro-equilibrium near the surface act as drivers of catalytic reactions. Currently, we are developing methodology and instrumentation for tr-APXPS further, a new endstation with unique possibilities for tr-APXPS experiments is being commissioned at the HIPPIE beamline and a new lab-based ambient pressure photo-electron spectroscopy instrument specially designed for time-resolved experiments has just been installed. 


  • Knudsen et al., Nature Communications 12, 6117 (2021)
  • Shavorskiy et al., ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 13, 40 (2021)
  • Shavorskiy et al., Synchrotron Radiation News, 35, 4-10 (2022)

What we offer

Lund University is a public authority which means that employees get particular benefits, generous annual leave and an advantageous occupational pension scheme. Read more on the University website about being a Lund University employee Benefits for employees | Lund University

The MSCA COFUND project PRISMAS offers you outstanding opportunities as well as a stimulating and inspiring surrounding for performing cutting-edge research. By supporting your mobility, it creates perfect conditions for strengthening your international network.

Work duties and responsibilities

The goal of this PhD project is twofold: (i) Develop photoelectron spectroscopy instrumentation and methodology for advanced time-resolved and event-averaged in situ measurements of catalyst surfaces exposed to cyclic gas composition or temperature pulses.  (ii) Use the new instrumentation and methodology to study structural oscillations on catalyst surfaces with high time-resolution and link this to catalyst function. Altogether, this gives a unique possibility to reveal short-lived species or phases on the catalyst surface impossible to detect in conventional APXPS experiments. For these studies we plan to focus on bimetallic transition metal surfaces and particles and study reactions ranging from CO oxidation to CO2 hydrogenation.

The methods and instrumentation developed in this project will significantly improve the possibilities at the APXPS beamlines at MAX IV and very recently we initiated work to transfer the methodology to catalysis and techniques beyond APXPS.

The PhD student is expected to work independently as well as in close collaboration with other researchers associated with the project. In particular, the student will work closely together with one other PhD studying carbon hydride oxidation with tr-APXPS and one other PRISMAS student studying atomic layer deposition with tr-APXPS. The successful candidate will also be given an opportunity to assist in the supervision of master students. Within the position there will be plenty of possibilities for collaboration on rich variety of projects performed at the MAX IV beamlines and at our division.

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).

Supervisors for this project will be: Jan Knudsen (main supervisor), Andrey Shavorskiy (co-supervisor, MAX IV), Joachim Schnadt (co-supervisor)

The training implies a secondment of 3-12 months at MAX IV laboratory in Lund, Sweden. Additional secondments and/or short stays may be arranged in agreement with the supervisor of the research project. Moreover, you will attend international conferences, participate in periodical project meetings and training schools as well as in specialised courses at different universities to complement your knowledge.  A certain amount of travelling is foreseen in relation to these activities.


Selection to postgraduate studies is based on the expected ability to perform well in the studies. The evaluation of the ability to perform well is based primarily on the results of studies at the basic and advanced levels, in particular:

  • You have knowledge and skills relevant for the thesis project.
  • You have good written and oral communication skills.
  • You have the ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.
  • Other experience relevant to postgraduate studies, such as professional experience.

It is an additional qualification if you have experience of

  • programming
  • working ultra-high vacuum equipment
  • working synchrotron facilities
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy

Good collaborative skills as well as drive and independence are of additional benefit.

Eligibility criteria

To comply with the mobility rule of the MSCA COFUND programme, you are eligible if you have not resided in Sweden for more than 12 months during the period 2020-10-30 to 2023-10-31 for work or studies as your main occupation.

By the employment date (before 01/03/2024) you must have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, have been awarded a Master´s degree or have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

In addition to the criteria mentioned above, you must have fulfilled a second cycle education in a relevant field, such as physics, chemistry, or material science.

You are eligible for the PRISMAS programme, if you qualify for a doctoral candidacy, i.e., are not already in possession of a doctoral degree.

Job assignments

The position is a full-time, fixed term employment for four years, forseen to start on 1/3/2024. Admission to the doctoral studies takes place at the respective University. 

The holders of these positions have a primary obligation to successfully fulfil their postgraduate (third cycle) education ending with a doctoral degree (PhD). A position as doctoral student can contain some limited teaching or other departmental work at the Department of Physics. The maximum amount of such work is 20%.

How to apply

Applications are to be submitted via Varbi and must include the following documents:

  • CV in Europass format
  • A two-page cover letter, justifying your interest in the position and how it matches your qualifications as well as the prioritization in case of applying to several PRISMAS positions.
  • at least one reference letter
  • an evidence of English 3 proficiency (minimum B2 level)
  • Copy of academic records (including marks for all coursework) with a transcript of diploma in English, and
  • any other document to which you would like to draw attention (details of referees, letters of recommendation, etc.)

All documents should be uploaded (pdf) in the job application portal. Exam certificates and other documents on paper should be scanned or photographed before being uploaded.

The application will be evaluated based on scientific excellence, the adequacy of your career plan and your thesis project as well as your research experience. In regard to eventually incomplete applications (especially if lacking documents listed above), the PRISMAS Management reserves the right to not include them in the selection process, without any additional notification to the corresponding candidates.

Details on the novel, unique and common selection process for all the PRISMAS positions can be found here: How to apply – MAX IV (


For more detailed information on the position or the research project, please contact: Jan Knudsen (Associate Professor, PI of the project), (+46 0725781505)

For questions on the employment conditions and the university, please contact: Anne Petersson-Jungbeck (HR administrator ),

If you have questions on the selection process, please contact:

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Science. The Faculty is organized into eight departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

The Department of Physics is one of Lund University’s largest departments with approximately 400 employees. The department is shared between the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering. At the department there are seven research divisions and a number of major research centra. The research at the department covers a wide range of modern physics.

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Type of employmentTemporary position
First day of employment2024-03-01 oe as soon as possible therafter
SalaryMonthly salary
Number of positions1
Full-time equivalent100
CountySkåne län
Reference numberPA2023/2731
Union representativeOFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-2229362SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet,
Last application date31.Oct.2023 11:59 PM CET

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