UiT Norges arktiske universitet - PhD postion - Concepts of Arctic nature from East Asian perspectives

Fakultetet for idrett, reiseliv og sosialfag - Institutt for reiseliv og nordlige studier

PhD postion - Concepts of Arctic nature from East Asian perspectives

Deadline Thursday, October 26, 2017

At the Department of Tourism and Northern Studies, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, workplace Alta, there is a vacant position from 01.01.2018 for a candidate wishing to take the degree of philosophiae doctor (PhD).

The position is for 3 or 4 years.

This is a research training position suitable for an applicant with prior research training with the aim of taking a PhD. Admission to doctoral programme is a requirement and the period of study will start on commencement of the position. The successful applicant will participate in the university`s organized research training, and the PhD shall be completed during the term of appointment.

For further details of the position and field of study, please contact:

  • Head of Department Bente Haug of the Department of Tourism and Northern Studies on Tel No (+47) 78450154 or by email at bente.haug@uit.no or the
  • Project leader Young-Sook Lee on Tel No (+47) 78450164 or by email at young-sook.lee@uit.no


The position is organised within the Department of Tourism and Northern Studies, with Alta as the place of work and office location. Institute for Tourism and Northern studies currently has approx. 25 scientific positions, head of department and office manager. The candidate will be a part of the project “Sustainable Arctic Tourism”, Department of Tourism and Northern Studies, Alta.

Field of research/research project and other duties

Field of research as below:

What is meant by nature, its boundaries and perceptions are largely defined by social construction (Dake, 1992; Demeritt, 2002; Eder, 1997; Greider & Garkovich, 1994). Consequently, people with different cultural and philosophical backgrounds seem to have different meanings of nature, its elements, hence the very definition of environmental sustainability is contested.

This is one of the reasons why we, in the 21st century, are faced with questions at global level, such as `what is environmental sustainability? ; `How do we know that we are placing reasonable limits to growth as an exchange for economic benefits?´, etc.. As the world is becoming more and more connected via technology and transport infrastructures, we witness more people travelling to further places from their normal places of residents. Coupled with ever-growing people’s desire to explore different parts of the world, increasing environmental problems and changing climate all over the globe, understanding different tourist markets´ meaning and perception of nature becomes even more significant in today´s tourism sector. This is due to the fact that tourism industry, in its efforts for economically sustainable business, tends to design, plan and provide what appear to be the market expectations and requests.

However, the current tourism industry, let alone Arctic tourism industry, is ill equipped with the knowledge that is other than Western, largely Judao-Christianity based understanding and perception of nature. The current state of lack of comprehensive understanding on diverse notions of nature, held in different markets, calls for an in-depth research on growing tourist markets´ perception of Arctic nature.

One notable change in the global tourists market is the rapid growth of East Asian markets. Paralleled to the global tourists market trend, the increase of East Asian tourists in the Arctic destinations has been phenomenal in recent years. As part of the increasing worldwide international tourist arrivals from 278 million in 1980 to 1133 million in 2014 (UNWTO, 2015), this changing pattern of the tourist market is not surprising.

The fastest growing international tourists markets originate from China and East Asia where China alone marked 117 million outbound visitors in the year 2014 (CNTA, 2015). This highlights a significant pattern change in the world´s tourist market and to the Arctic as a tourist destination. Due to the current lack of organised research focusing on Arctic tourism, however, only anecdotal evident can be used, which shows continuous increases every year (Huang et al., 2017).

In the Norwegian context, the significance of the Chinese and East Asian tourists markets increase accordingly. Chinese market´s increase between 2010 and 2014 marked 159,4% in Northern Norway, the highest increase from entire markets (NordNorsk Reiseliv, 2015). However, the phenomenon is yet to be dealt with appropriate actions at the industry level based on in-depth research.

The fundamental position on the concept of nature in East Asian societies is that physical nature and humanity is in one unity (Tu, 1985; Tucker, 1991; Tucker, 1998). This unity between nature and humanity leads to the essential need for harmony between them (Lee et al., 2012). This cultural philosophy on nature is largely originating from the societies´ religious and cultural backbones, including Daoism, Confucianism and Zen Buddhism (Lee & Prebensen, 2014). With increasing concerns over environmental degradation on the planet Earth, combined with noticeable climate changes in recent years, understanding different cultural positions on nature is gaining more significance and academic currencies. This is no exception for tourism researchers, who are keen to have good insights into existing and potential tourist markets.

This PhD thesis has three amis to achieve:

  1. to better understand the East Asian notion of nature in the context of Arctic nature
    - may delve deeper into the East Asian notion of harmony
  1. to present a comparative analysis of East Asian notion of Arctic nature in relation to Scandinavian notion of Arctic nature
  2. to present the areas of application in the Arctic tourism setting driven from the study findings

Requried qualifications

The successful applicant must fulfil the entrance requirements for PhD programmes at UiT, cf. § 6 of the PhD Regulations for UiT The Arctic University of Norway. The applicant must also document satisfactory proficiency in oral and written English that satisfies the Norwegian

Higher Education Entrance Qualification.

The successful applicant will have a Master’s degree in tourism studies or relevant area with a focus on nature, environment and tourism. The applicant must have a minimum of grade B or relevant level in institutions outside Norway in his/her Master’s thesis.

Personal suitability will be emphasised.

Admission to the PhD programme

Admission to the doctoral programme is a prerequisite for appointment as a PhD candidate, cf. § 9 of the PhD Regulations for UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

Within three months of commencement of employment, the final plan for the research training must be approved and regulated by a formal agreement. In this connection, the successful applicant will be allowed up to two months from the date of commencement to submit a draft or revised project proposal and suggestions for topics in the educational component of the PhD.

If the PhD agreement is not signed within the deadline, the employer may terminate the agreement, cf. § 1-3 (8) of the Regulations on Conditions of Employment as Postdoctoral Fellow, PhD Candidate, Research Assistant and Specialist Candidate.


The normal employment period for PhD candidates is four years, with 25% compulsory duties. A three-year period without compulsory duties may be considered.

The appointment is for four years with 75% research, alternatively three years with 100% research.

In a four year employment period, the additional 25% of the position may be used for other relevant work, such as leadership, development and learning, cf. the guidelines for the duties of a PhD candidate.

The salary for the position of PhD candidate is based on the State Salary Scale, Code 1017 LR 20, Alternative 8, Pay Grade 50-57 (currently NOK 430 200-483 400). There is a deduction of 2% as a statutory contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.


Applicants will be assessed by an expert committee. Particular emphasis will be placed on the applicant’s research potential as demonstrated by:

• the Master’s thesis or equivalent

• any other academic work

• a project proposal of maximum 5 pages

In addition, consideration may be given to work experience and other activities of significance for the applicant’s ability to successfully complete the PhD. The applicant’s general teaching qualifications will also be considered, including any teacher training, teaching experience, experience of popularisation and experience of/formal qualifications in other forms of communication/dissemination. Any information and material to be considered

by the assessment committee must be submitted by the deadline.

The applicants considered to be best qualified will be invited to attend an interview, where one important objective will be to assess the applicant’s personal suitability for the position.

How to apply 

Applications must be submitted electronically using the application form available at Jobbnorge.no

The application must include:

• letter of application

• CV (containing full details of education, work practice and relevant work experience and references)

• certified copies of

- certificate and transcript of Bachelor’s degree or equivalent

- certificate and transcript of Master’s degree or equivalent

- diploma supplement for degrees awarded

- documentation of proficiency in English

- references

- project proposal, if required

• List and description of academic publications, including the author(s) and title.

For articles: name and volume of journal, first and last page of article, year of publication

For books: publisher, year of publication and number of pages

All published or unpublished work that the applicant wishes to be considered by the assessment committee must be attached to the application.

The assessment will be conducted on condition of receipt of the above documents.

Applicants invited to attend an interview must bring their original certificates and references.

For further information, please refer to the Supplementary Regulations for Appointment to Positions as Postdoctoral Fellow, PhD Candidate and Research Assistant at the UiT The Arctic University of Norway and the Regulations on Conditions of Employment as Postdoctoral Fellow, PhD Candidate, Research Assistant and Specialist Candidate.

General information on positions at UiT The Arctic University of Norway

UiT The Arctic University of Tromsø emphasises diversity and therefore encourages qualified applicants to apply irrespective of gender, work capacity and national or ethnic background.

The University is an inclusive workplace (IA) and therefore endeavours to adapt working conditions for employees with reduced work capacity.

Personal data provided in the application or CV will be handled in accordance with the Norwegian Personal Data Act. Under the Freedom of Information Act § 25, Paragraph 2, the applicant may request not to be included in the publicly available list of applicants. The University may nevertheless decide to publish the name of the applicant, in which case the applicant will be notified in advance.

Apply for position

Søknadsfrist: 26.10.2017
Web: www.uit.no

Kontakt: Bente Haug (Head of Department)
Telefon: (+47) 78450154
E-post: bente.haug@uit.no

Kontakt 2: Young-Sook Lee (Project leader)
Telefon: (+47) 78450164
E-post: young-sook.lee@uit.no