PhD Positions in Theoretical Computer Science and Combinatorial Optimization
University of Copenhagen Department of Computer Science

PhD positions in Theoretical Computer Science and Combinatorial Optimization

Department of Computer Science
Faculty of SCIENCE

University of Copenhagen

The Department of Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen (DIKU) invites applications for PhD positions in theoretical computer science and combinatorial optimization, tentatively starting 1 April 2022 or thereafter (the concrete starting date is negotiable).

The PhD students will be working in the Mathematical Insights into Algorithms for Optimization (MIAO) group headed by Jakob Nordström (, which is active at both the University of Copenhagen and Lund University on either side of the Øresund Bridge.

The MIAO research group has a unique profile in that we are doing cutting-edge research both on the mathematical foundations of efficient computation and on state-of-the-art practical algorithms for real-world problems. This creates a very special environment, where we do not only conduct in-depth research on different theoretical and applied topics, but where different lines of research cross-fertilise each other and unexpected and exciting synergies often arise. Much of the activities of the group revolve around powerful algorithmic paradigms such as, e.g., Boolean satisfiability (SAT) solving, Gröbner basis computations, integer linear programming, and constraint programming. This leads to classical questions in computational complexity theory—though often with new, fascinating twists—but also involves work on designing and coding up clever algorithms that can exploit the power of such paradigms in practice.

We are fortunate to be part of the Algorithms and Complexity Section at DIKU, which is world-leading in algorithms and complexity theory (currently ranked 6th worldwide by DIKU hosts the Basic Algorithms Research Copenhagen (BARC) centre ( joint with the IT University of Copenhagen, and we also have extensive collaborations with the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and with Lund University on the Swedish side of the Øresund Bridge, as well as with our many visitors. We aim to attract top talent from around the world to an ambitious, creative, collaborative, and fun environment. Using the power of mathematics, we strive to create fundamental breakthroughs in algorithms and complexity theory. While the focus in on theoretical research, we do have a track record of surprising algorithmic discoveries leading to major industrial applications.

The University of Copenhagen was founded in 1479 and is the oldest and largest university in Denmark. It is often ranked as the best university in Scandinavia and consistently as one of the top places in Europe. Within computer science, it is ranked 2nd in the European Union (post-Brexit) by ShanghaiRanking.

Further information about the Department of Computer Science and the Faculty of Science can be found at Inquiries about the positions can be made to Jakob Nordström at or +46 70 742 21 98. Candidates interested in working with other faculty in the Algorithms and Complexity Section ( are also encouraged to apply.

Job Description

The position is available for period of 3-5 years, depending on your current education level as discussed further below, and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are to:

  • Manage and carry through your research project
  • Complete and pass the MSc education in accordance with the curriculum of the MSc programme
    (ONLY when you are attending the integrated MSc and PhD programme)
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to app. 30 ECTS (1/2 FTE)
  • Teach and disseminate your research
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Write scientific articles aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend your PhD thesis on the basis of your research project

Who are we looking for?

To be eligible to apply for these positions, applicants need to have or be about to obtain either a BSc or an MSc degree in computer science, mathematics, or a related field. The successful candidates are expected to have a strong background and passionate interest in mathematics and theoretical computer science, as demonstrated by excellent grades in relevant courses, or by results at the Olympiads of Mathematics or Informatics, or by publication in relevant internationally recognized conferences or journals. Problem solving skills and creativity are a must. For candidates interested in applied research, strong programming skills are required.

Applicants need to be strongly motivated for doctoral studies; should possess the ability to work independently and perform critical analysis, and also have good levels of communicative abilities and English language skills.

The working language of the group is English, and knowledge of English is also fully sufficient to navigate life in Denmark in general. It might also be worth mentioning that Denmark routinely scores at the absolute top in rankings of quality of life such as, e.g., the OECD Better Life Index .

Principal supervisor is Professor Jakob Nordström, Department of Computer Science, E-mail

The PhD programme

Depending of your level of education, you can undertake the PhD programme as either:

Option A: A three year full-time study within the framework of the regular PhD programme (5+3 scheme), if you already have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master’s degree.

Option B: An up to five year full-time study programme within the framework of the integrated MSc and PhD programme (the 3+5 scheme), if you do not have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master´s degree – but you have an education equivalent to a Danish bachelors´s degree.


Option A: Getting into a position on the regular PhD programme

Qualifications needed for the regular programme

To be eligible for the regular PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. computer science, mathematics, or a related field. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.

Terms of employment in the regular programme

Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The terms of employment and salary are in accordance to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Option B: Getting into a position on the integrated MSc and PhD programme

Qualifications needed for the integrated MSc and PhD programme

If you do not have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master´s degree, you might be qualified for the integrated MSc and PhD programme, if you have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish bachelor´s degree. Here you can find out, if that is relevant for you: General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.  

Terms of the integrated programme

To be eligible for the integrated scholarship, you are (or are eligible to be) enrolled at one of the faculty’s master programmes in mathemacs or computer science.

Students on the integrated programme will enroll as PhD students simultaneously with completing their enrollment in this MSc degree programme.

The duration of the integrated programme is up to five years, and depends on the amount of credits that you have passed on your MSc programme. For further information about the study programme, please see:, “Study Structures”.

Until the MSc degree is obtained, (when exactly two years of the full 3+5 programme remains), the grant will be paid partly in the form of 48 state education grant portions (in Danish: “SU-klip”) plus salary for work (teaching, supervision etc.) totalling a workload of at least 150 working hours per year.
A PhD grant portion is DKK 6,243.

When you have obtained the MSc degree, you will transfer to the salary-earning part of the scholarship for a period of two years. At that point, the terms of employment and payment will be according to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.


Application and Assessment Procedure

 Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  1. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position e.g. list of possible publications
  2. Brief statement as to why the applicant wishes to conduct doctoral studies, including a description of the applicant's qualifications and interests.
  3. Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  4. Other information for consideration, e.g., BSc/MSc thesis or research publications.
  5. Information about references who might be contacted later in the recruitment process after retrieving an explicit consent from the applicant

Application deadline:

The deadline for applications is 28 November 2021, 23:59 GMT +1.

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

The further process

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the abovementioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science. You can read more about the recruitment process at


For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website:

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Application deadline: 28-11-2021
Department/Location: Department of Computer Science

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Computeroxy


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