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About the PhD programmes

The PhD programme in Environmental Science concerns the scientific study of environmental problems caused by humanity. The PhD programme in Theoretical Physics with specialization in Computational Biology is engaged in constructing mathematical models and theories that describe physical reality with emphasis on biology and biophysics.

The doctoral education leads to a Phil. Dr. degree at Lund University. It normally takes four years of full-time studies, of which approximately one year is devoted to courses and seminars and three years are devoted to research. The aim of the education is to develop scientific competence and interdisciplinary research across departments and disciplines within the university and society.

A doctoral dissertation in Environmental Science and Theoretical Physics commonly consists of a summarising chapter together with a collection of articles that have been published or are intended to be published in international scientific journals. The dissertation is defended at a public event with an external examiner that evaluates the work.

The field of environmental science

Environmental science is the scientific study of environmental problems caused by humanity, including climate change. It is based on a fundamental understanding of natural processes and how they are affected by human activity and therefore has a broad base in traditional subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and physical geography. It also includes studies of relevant measures and strategies to address environmental problems. This means that the research is based on an interdisciplinary approach in collaboration across traditional subject borders.

Environmental science research concerns both a basic understanding of how environmental problems arise and how to contribute to a basis of knowledge for the long-term, sustainable development of society. Research is therefore often carried out in close cooperation with organisations active in society within this field.

The main areas of research within environmental science are:

  • The study of humanity’s impact on climate and ecosystems, and the consequences for biological diversity and opportunities to sustainably utilise ecosystems for the production of ecosystem services.
  • The study of environmental and climatic consequences of humanity’s utilisation of energy and natural resources, and strategies for long-term sustainable production and consumption.
  • The study of chemical substances’ spread, changes and dispersion in air, soil and water, and the consequent effects on people, other organisms, the climate and ecosystems.
  • The study of strategies, evidence-based decision-making, nature-based and technical solutions that prevent environmental and climatic problems from arising, or can be used to address such problems.

The field of Theoretical Physics with specialization in Computational Biology

Theoretical Physics is engaged in constructing mathematical models and theories that describe physical reality. Complex phenomena are reduced to approximations and simplifications illustrating the essential mechanisms and connections. In order to refine and improve the models, their predictions are closely examined from analytical and numerical perspectives and compared with experimental observations.

Biology and medicine are evolving into the quantitative disciplines that physics and chemistry have been for a long time. This development requires a mix of researchers from different areas to ensure success. The research addresses areas similar to those above but only in very close cooperation with research teams in biomedicine or biology. Among the topics studied are the interaction between genes and proteins, the interaction between cells, disease progression and plant processes.