Vacant positions

PhD stipend in development and validation of methods to detect hidden fungal growth in buildings (6-21097)

At the Faculty of Engineering and Science, Department of the Built Environment, at Aalborg University’s campus in Copenhagen, a PhD stipend is available within the Doctoral Programme "Civil Engineering". The stipend is open for appointment from 15 January 2022 or soon hereafter.

Job description

Fungal growth - especially hidden inside humid or water damaged building constructions - is of concern since it can cause adverse health effects and exacerbate allergies and asthma. Consulting companies often use different sampling techniques and detection methods to detect fungal growth. Sometimes two companies can arrive at different conclusions in the same cases, resulting in conflicts, worries and wrong solutions.

The purpose with the PhD project is therefore to compare and validate available all fungal detection methods (enzymatic, DNA, culture, etc.) used on the Danish marked and to develop new sampling and detection strategies to qualify and quantify fungal growth indoors. The aim of the project is to devise best practices for detecting fungal growth in water damaged buildings and, later in the project, develop new methods to detect the presence of VOCs and mycotoxins in indoor air. The PhD project is interdisciplinary, combining building physics, chemistry and microbiology, and aims at securing a healthy and safe indoor environment for occupants and building users.

The PhD position will encompass the following

Testing, validation and comparison of detection methods (spores and particles) in the lab.

Training/education in cultivation and identification of indoor fungi.

Setting up mock-up building construction for lab experiments with fungal growth.

Testing of sampling methods in the field in buildings with known fungal growth (e.g. air, dust and materials).

Sampling, cultivation and identification of indoor fungi from mouldy buildings.

Analysing data using multivariate statistical methods.

Training/education in sampling and analysis of chemical components (e.g. VOCs, metabolites and mycotoxins) from indoor fungi.

Developing methods that target the chemical components from fungal growth.

Interactions with occupants, users, owners and caretakers of buildings as well as the building industry.

The PhD student’s workplace will be at AAU Campus (Sydhavn) in Copenhagen. The PhD project will be carried out within the research program


Qualifications required

Relevant MSc degree in Indoor Environmental and Energy Engineering, Architectural Engineering or similar MSc in Engineering.

  • Solid knowledge of building physics, building materials science and/or indoor air quality. 
  • Well organized, structured and good at keeping to schedules and deadlines. 
  • Eager to mix scientific disciplines, collaborate with other scientists and PhD students and use a holistic approach to research. 
  • Good at interacting with building users as well as people in the building industry. 
  • A high level of written and spoken English.

It is an advantage if the applicant 

  • Has knowledge of moisture transport in building constructions. 
  • Has knowledge of new and sustainable biogenic building materials. 
  • Has work experience (e.g. a student job) from a consulting engineering company dealing with indoor environment and building investigations. 
  • Has an interest in the chemistry and microbiology that affect the health and safety of occupants living or working in mouldy indoor environments. 
  • Can speak and write Danish at a high level. 


The successful application must contain the following

  • A motivated application in English (maximum 2 pages) stating the reasons for applying and the qualifications in relation to the PhD project. 
  • A project description in English and the applicant’s initial thoughts and ideas on societal problems relating to a healthy indoor environment (maximum 3 pages). 
  • A curriculum vitae in English including personal data. 
  • Copies of relevant diplomas (Master of Science). On request, applicants could be asked for an official English translation. 

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

The research group

The successful applicant will be part of the research group, Indoor Health Impacts that is dedicated to the improvement of the indoor environment of homes, schools and institutions and the health and well-being of occupants and building users. Our research is based on a holistic approach to the many factors and processes affecting the indoor environment. The research efforts aim to contribute to the best possible solutions to current societal problems and issues

 Our research encompasses laboratory and field experiments, intervention and demonstration projects and analyses of data from questionnaires and national data registers. We have expertise in microbiology, chemistry, indoor air quality, humidity control, thermal comfort, user perception and behaviour, and public health. Our research results are published in Danish reports and international scientific journals and our knowledge is communicated directly to the building industry and to occupants and users. Currently, the group works with indoor air pollution from particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from building materials and fungal growth, on monitoring of heat and moisture, and cross-sectional surveys on health and indoor environment.


Further information can be obtained from Associate Professor Birgitte Andersen, Department of the Build Environment, email:, phone: (+45) 9940 2312 concerning the scientific aspects of the stipend.

PhD stipends are allocated to individuals who hold a Master's degree. PhD stipends are normally for a period of 3 years. It is a prerequisite for allocation of the stipend that the candidate will be enrolled as a PhD student at the Doctoral School of Engineering and Science in accordance with the regulations of Ministerial Order No. 1039 of August 27, 2013 on the PhD Programme at the Universities and Certain Higher Artistic Educational Institutions. According to the Ministerial Order, the progress of the PhD student shall be assessed at regular points in time.

Shortlisting will be applied. This means that subsequent to the deadline for applications the head of department supported by the chair of the assessment committee will select candidates for assessment. All applicants will be informed whether they will be assessed or not.

For further information about stipends and salary as well as practical issues concerning the application procedure contact Bettina Wedde, The Doctoral School at The Faculty of Engineering and Science, email:,  phone: +45 9940 0009.

For more information of The Doctoral School of Engineering and Science:  

The application is only to be submitted online by using the "Apply online" button below.


AAU wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background or belief.


Appointment and salary as a PhD fellow are according to the Ministry of Finance Circular of 28 June 2019 on the Collective Agreement for Academics in Denmark, Appendix 5, regarding PhD fellows, and with the current Circular of 11 December 2019 on the employment structure at Danish universities.

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