Two-year Postdoc position in physical and chemical changes and fate of plastics exposed to indoor, coastal and marine environments, the National Museum of Denmark

Ansøgningsfrist: 01-12-2020

The Postdoc offered by the National Museum of Denmark will contribute to research conducted within the interdisciplinary, collaborative project MarinePlastic supported by the Velux Foundation (

Job description

Degradation of plastics is one of the major, global challenges facing society today. Each year, 5-12 million tons of plastic litter are added to the marine environment where they break down and migrate into all compartments. Despite the exponential growth in research into plastic litter since 2004, there is an acute lack of fundamental data that describe the major pathways and rates by which plastics interact chemically and physically with oxygen, water, ultraviolet radiation, heat, pollutants and microorganisms. The purpose of the present research is to identify the environmental conditions most likely to inhibit and promote the degradation of different plastic types and to understand how these relate to the long-term fate of these materials. Samples of petroleum-based and new-generation plastics are being exposed to both accelerated weathering conditions and natural environments. Samples will also be exposed to a mesocosm site in Sweden in 2021.

The Postdoc candidate will be responsible for examining physical and chemical properties of plastics at various stages during exposure, for measuring and documenting changes in them. These properties include dimensions and forms, polymer types, presence of organic and inorganic polymer additives of samples using imaging techniques, spectroscopy and chromatography. Statistical analysis will be used to explore and rank the significance of internal and external factors to changes in physical or chemical properties exhibited by plastics.

Qualifications and skills
The candidate should have a background in polymer chemistry, polymer science, organic analysis or similar and must have a PhD related to these subject areas. The candidate must have significant and documented experience with FTIR spectroscopy and -microscopy of polymeric materials including interpretation. Experience with GC-MS, thermal analysis and optical microscopy would be advantageous. The candidate should have a structured and analytical working approach. The candidate must have good communication skills in English and be willing to share knowledge and expertise with other members of the research group and contribute to the writing of academic papers. Occasional fieldwork to expose and collect samples and travel within Denmark and internationally to other MarinePlastic partners and collaborating institutes is expected.

Terms of salary and employment
The working hours are 37 hours a week. Salary, pension, and terms of employment will be in accordance with the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and The Academics Central Organization in Denmark and Circular concerning the job structure for academic staff with research responsibilities in archives, libraries, museums etc. under the Danish Ministry of Culture.

The appointment is for 2 years, starting mid-January 2021 or shortly thereafter.

The place of work is at the Danish National Museum’s Section for Environmental Archaeology and Materials Science in Brede, Kgs. Lyngby, north of Copenhagen.

Application procedure
The National Museum is actively working to promote equality among employees and encourages all qualified, regardless of personal background, to apply for the position.

The application is to be submitted in English and must include the following:
Letter with motivation for the application (max. one page)

  • Curriculum vitae, incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  • List of publications (mark the publications sent in for evaluation)
  • Copies of up to 3 publications to be considered in the assessment. Full copies must be sent by post or uploaded as pdf via the electronic recruitment system. Links to publications are not accepted.
  • Copies of university exams, Master of Science and PhD certificates
  • Transcript of university exams into English, if not written in English, Danish, Norwegian or Swedish

If a publication to be considered in the evaluation has more than one author, or is the result of a collective effort, it must be clearly specified which part the applicant is responsible for. In the absence of a specification, the Assessment Committee will disregard that publication (s).

Applications must be sent via the electronic recruitment system on our website and must be uploaded by 1st December 2020.

Any publications to be included in the assessment must be received by the National Museum on 1st December 2020. Publications can either be uploaded to the recruitment system or sent to Nationalmuseet, Frederiksholms Kanal 12, DK-1220 København K, Denmark, marking the envelope ‘Personale’. Publications sent to the Museum must be submitted in 3 copies. Only books or similar will be returned.

The National Museum will set up an (internal) expert Assessment Committee to evaluate the applications. Qualified applicants will be invited for interviews in a panel set up by the National Museum.

For further information regarding the position, please contact Research Professor Yvonne Shashoua,  phone +45 41206481, email: or Head of Research  Peter Rasmussen,  phone  +45 41206545, email:

Nationalmuseet er Danmarks kulturhistoriske hovedmuseum og et statsmuseum under Kulturministeriet. Nationalmuseet styrker historiebevidsthed og medborgerskab ved at belyse Danmarks og verdens kulturer og deres indbyrdes afhængighed. Ca. 655 medarbejdere er fordelt på 4 afdelinger: Forskning, Samling og Bevaring, Museer og Slotte, Nationalmuseet København samt Drift og Administration. Se mere om Nationalmuseet på

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