Doctoral studies in Theory and Modelling in Natural Sciences

Research within this area has a broad scientific profile, sharing a common core of mathematical modelling, numerical methods and computer simulations.

tekfak doctoral studies theory modelling natural sciences bioinformatics

The development of computers, effective algorithms, software, and better databases, offers new opportunities for solving several scientific problems. Theory and modelling can complement or replace expensive and time-consuming experiments and product development processes.

Doctoral studies in Theory and Modelling in Natural Sciences is offered by the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM), one of the leading institutions in Swedish material research. You will get a solid foundation for a career within academia or with the industry. Our alumni have found work at the SMHI (Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute), FOI (Swedish Defence Research Agency), Saab, Volvo Cars, VTI (Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute), and NFC (Swedish National Forensic Centre).

Our research addresses some of the most challenging issues for the scientific community, the industry and the society at large, such as

  • The behaviour of materials at extreme compressions and temperatures
  • How to use computers for designing new materials
  • Which materials should be used to write, store and read quantum information
  • How to make molecular machines more efficient
  • How to design fluorescent proteins for better visualisation of living cells
  • How photochemical reactions happen
  • How to design a sustainable food production
  • How to reduce the impact of climate changes on ecosystems
  • How to minimise the risks of major disease outbreaks and their consequences 
  • Molecular-level effects of diseases
  • How to spot diseases before they manifest symptoms
  • How to design better drugs

To tackle these issues, our doctoral students follow key courses within their disciplines, as well as courses in scientific programming, statistics, and databases.

You may choose among four specialisations with a common core of mathematical modelling, numerical methods, and computer simulations.

Theoretical Physics

Theoretical research and computer calculations concerning applications such as the design of material for quantum computers, tweaking the composition of graphene for next-generation nanoelectronics, and the use of methods from machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict properties of new, hypothetical, compounds. Another example is the investigation of ultra-small semiconductor structures and devices in the quantum regime, electron transport, quantum and classical waves in cavities and constrictions for the purposes of spintronics applications. You will study key courses in quantum mechanics, statistical physics and thermodynamics, solid state physics, and density-functional theory.

Computational Chemistry

Research on a wide variety of problems in chemistry and biology which are investigated using both quantum-chemical methods and methods rooted in statistical thermodynamics. The problems of interest are typically related to the function, reactivity and properties of molecular systems in contexts such as nanotechnology and surface chemistry.

Theoretical Biology

This specialisation makes use of mathematical and statistical modelling to study the structure, dynamics and functioning of different large-scale biological systems, for instance epidemiological systems describing the spread of diseases, or systems for nutrient and energy management. As a doctoral student, you will address biological questions which are clearly related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Members of this department have various academic backgrounds; some are pure biologists, some are mathematicians, others are physicists or a combination of the above.

Bioinformatics

Development of methods to analyse and understand biological data. This is an interdisciplinary research area combining physics, chemistry, and biology with computer science, statistics, and mathematics. Many doctoral students are enrolled in the Swedish National Graduate School in Medical Bioinformatics, which constitutes a national network and provides advanced doctoral-level courses. This specialisation provides broad knowledge within applied biological and medical areas, but also a deep understanding in how to handle large quantities of data.

Funding

Our research is funded mainly by the following partners:

  • The Swedish government, for two strategical research areas; Swedish e-Science Research Centre (SeRC), and the Interdisciplinary Materials Science Laboratory for Advanced Functional Materials (AFM)
  • The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF), for the strategic research center FUNCASE
  • Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, for the research projects Isotopic Control for Ultimate Material Properties, Nanoparticles by Pulsed Plasma, and Strong Field Physics and New States of Matter
  • Psi-k, a European network within the field of electronic structure theory
  • The Swedish Research Council

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