Group Leader/Researcher in Data-Driven Epidemiology and Biology of Infection

Umeå University

Application deadline

October 15, 2023

Group Leader/Researcher in Data-Driven Epidemiology and Biology of Infection

Umeå University

Umeå University is one of Sweden’s largest higher education institutions with over 37,000 students and about 4,700 employees. The University offers a diversity of high-quality education and world-leading research in several fields. Notably, the groundbreaking discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was made here. At Umeå University, everything is close. Our cohesive campuses make it easy to meet, work together and exchange knowledge, which promotes a dynamic and open culture.

The ongoing societal transformation and large green investments in northern Sweden create enormous opportunities and complex challenges. For Umeå University, conducting research about – and in the middle of – a society in transition is key. We also take pride in delivering education to enable regions to expand quickly and sustainably. In fact, the future is made here.

Are you interested in learning more? Read about Umeå university as a workplace

Together with The Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS) and the SciLifeLab & Wallenberg National Program for Data-Driven Life Science (DDLS), Umeå University is looking for two excellent young researchers to become Group Leaders. Fellowships are targeted towards applicants to start their first independent group within a few years of their PhD. We offer generous funding for up to 9 years, conditional upon favourable review after four years. Data driven epidemiology and biology of infection covers research that will transform our understanding of pathogens, their interactions with hosts and the environment, and how they are transmitted through populations. Research will have a strong focus on computational analysis or predictive modeling of pathogen biology or host-microbe systems for which multidimensional, genome scale experimental data are now available, or it may use population scale genetic, clinical, or public health data from pathogen surveillance efforts and biobanks.

Project description

DDLS Fellows program
Data-driven life science (DDLS) uses data, computational methods and artificial intelligence to study biological systems and processes at all levels, from molecular structures and cellular processes to human health and global ecosystems. The SciLifeLab and Wallenberg National Program for Data-Driven Life Science (DDLS) aims to recruit and train the next-generation of data-driven life scientists and to create globally leading computational and data science capabilities in Sweden. The program is funded with a total of 3.1 billion SEK (about 290 MUSD) over 12 years from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg (KAW) Foundation.

The DDLS program will recruit 39 high-profile young Group Leaders and launch over 210 postdoctoral positions and establish a research school for 260 PhDs, including industry PhDs and postdocs. Fellows will be recruited to the 11 participating host universities/organizations but brought together under a national DDLS program coordinated by SciLifeLab. The DDLS program has four strategic areas: cell and molecular biology, evolution and biodiversity, precision medicine and diagnostics, epidemiology and biology of infection. For more information, please see

During 2022-2023, the first round of 20 young Group Leaders joined us as DDLS Fellows, and now we are looking to recruit an additional group of 19 fellows. Each DDLS Fellow will receive a recruitment package of 17 MSEK (about 1.6 MUSD) for a 5-year period, covering their own salary and other resources, such as two PhD students and postdoc positions.

The future of life science is data-driven. Will you be leading that change with us? Then join us in this unique program!

MIMS is the Swedish node of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)  and part of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine, with other partner institutes in Helsinki, Oslo, and Aarhus. The partnership provides excellent access to research infrastructure, including databases, computational facilities and instrumentation, as well as to clinical materials and networks and training activities. The four laboratories of the partnership adhere to the EMBL model for research organisation, mentorship and evaluation. Funded by the Swedish Research Council at Umeå University with its strong community of researchers in microbiology and infection, MIMS offers a stimulating scientific environment that excels in basic research, such as Emmanuelle Charpentier’s Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 mechanism, and benefits from proximity to one of Sweden’s major university hospitals.

Within the DDLS program, you can develop your full potential as a leading independent scientist in a flourishing academic campus environment that encompasses Umeå University, Norrland’s University Hospital and  the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. You will become part of the national DDLS program at SciLifeLab and the European network of MIMS, which includes EMBL and the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) in Hinxton, UK. Relevant local environments include the Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR)the Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine (WCMM)  and IceLab, a hub for interdisciplinary collaboration.

Organisationally, the positions in question will be affiliated to either Faculty of Medicine or Faculty of Science and Technology. Departmental affiliation will be decided in consultations with the successful candidates, based on where their research best fits. Potential host departments include Department of Computing ScienceMathematics and Mathematical StatisticsMolecular BiologyPlant Physiology and Clinical Microbiology. More information regarding accessible research infrastructure can be found here. Please feel free to state your preferred department in the application.

The Group Leader package
DDLS and MIMS offer funding for up to two new Group Leaders (Researchers) to start in the coming year. 17 million SEK, for each Group Leader, are allocated for an initial five-year period, with the option of extension with 2 million SEK annually for up to a total of nine years conditional upon a successful external evaluation in the fourth year. New Group Leaders will be offered state-of-the-art office and laboratory facilities. The funded researcher will receive further support mechanisms to establish their own research group with members at postdoctoral and doctoral level. Successful applicants are also expected to be able to supplement their research budget by attracting national and international research grants.

Research subject area
The subject area concerns research in the general area of epidemiology and biology of infection with a strong computational profile. This research subject area aims to lead to innovative development and/or application of novel data-driven methods relying on machine learning, artificial intelligence, or other computational techniques. 


The tasks include primarily leading and conducting research in data-driven epidemiology and biology of infection within the MIMS research environment as MIMS Group Leader and DDLS Fellow. The research tasks also include seeking external funds for funding one’s own research. Conducting education at postgraduate level in the subject area may be included. Administrative tasks and assignments within the department and the Faculty of Medicine as well as the Faculty of Science and Technology may also be included. The ability to manage personnel and operations is expected as a MIMS Group Leader and DDLS Fellow. 
The positions are based in Umeå (but work in another place may occur).

MIMS Group Leaders are expected to conduct a successful research program in synergy with the multidisciplinary research environments in which MIMS is integrated, contribute actively to the DDLS program and participate in joint activities that promote research and exchanges within The Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine.


Qualification requirements
To qualify for an employment and for funding as a DDLS Fellow and MIMS Group Leader the applicant must have completed a doctorate or have a foreign degree deemed to be equivalent to a doctorate. Candidates should have undergone post-doctoral training and education in relevant research area. In addition, competence and commitment in training young researchers and supervision of scientific theses is required.

We seek talented early career researchers who have already produced excellent research work with relevance to data-driven molecular infection research or infection epidemiology, are ready to work independently and show potential to be a research leader. Successful candidates will be competitive for ERC Starting Grants and would therefore usually have obtained a doctoral degree, or corresponding qualifications, no later than two and no more than seven years before the application.

Assessment criteria
As a basis for assessment for employment and when awarding funding as MIMS Group Leader and DDLS Fellow, the degree of such skill that is a requirement for eligibility is scientific skills. In addition, attention can be paid to proficiency in academic leadership.

A general basis for assessment for Group Leaders at Umeå University is both, good cooperative skills and the expertise and suitability in general required to complete the work duties satisfactorily.

The weighting of assessment criteria
During appointment, scientific skills will be given the highest weighting (3), thereafter proficiency in academic leadership (1).
Description of assessment criteria
In assessing scientific skills for this position, particular emphasis will be placed on independent research initiatives, innovation, relevance, quality and originality in ongoing and planned research in data-driven epidemiology and infection biology. Documentation of published original work in which the applicant has had a prominent role and received external research grants as main or co-applicant is considered as especially meritorious. Also meritorious is a post-doctoral stay at a university other than the one where the applicant completed his/her PhD, as well as referee assignments from international scientific journals.
In assessing proficiency in academic leadership for this position, particular emphasis will be placed on evidence of the ability to lead and train a team of researchers.

In assessing research expertise, specific consideration shall be given to the originality and autonomy of the research and the potential of the applicant to develop their own successful line of research within data-driven infection research, such as the development or innovative application of computational tools to analyse and integrate data or mathematical models to understand complex systems.

Experience of teaching in undergraduate and graduate education can be an advantage. We expect an interest in training the next generation of researchers.

The applicant’s experience in data-driven life sciences especially with a focus on infectious diseases, and infection biology, is particularly meritorious and the applicant is expected to have a scientific profile that fits the purpose of the positions.  Applicant´s potential for collaborations with the DDLS program, EMBL and The Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine is also considered meritorious for this position.


Last application date is 15/10/2023.

The application should include the following:

  1. An introductory letter summarizing the applicant’s career, previous research experience of relevance for molecular infection medicine, and the future research career plans (1-2 pages),
  2. CV with a list of all scientific publications (with the five most important marked),
  3. A copy of the doctoral degree certificate,
  4. A short research plan (5 pages maximum) with a summary of expected results and importance in the research subject area,
  5. Names and contact details for three references.

Applications will be evaluated by a recruitment committee that includes faculty representing EMBL and the nodes within The Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine, and a representative of the DDLS steering group. A top ranked group of applicants will be invited to interview with the Recruitment Committee. The assessment will result in a recommendation for funding, which will be forwarded to the MIMS Executive Board for decision. The Board’s funding decision will be the documented basis for an employment decision by the dean of the faculty involved and for decision about departmental affiliation.

For more information, please contact MIMS Director, Professor Oliver Billker:, +46 90 785 67 78

We welcome your application!

Last updated: 2023-07-17

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