PhD Research Fellow in ecology machine learning and bioacoustics

Deadline: 19.01.2022

University of Agder

The University of Agder has more than 1500 employees and almost 14 000 students. This makes us one of the largest workplaces in Southern Norway. Our staff research, teach and disseminate knowledge from a variety of academic fields. Co-creation of knowledge is our common vision. We offer a broad range of study programmes in many fields. We are situated at two modern campuses in Kristiansand and Grimstad respectively.

We are an open and inclusive university marked by a culture of cooperation. The aim of the university is to further develop education and research at a high international level.

About the position

A fixed-term 100% position is available at the University of Agder, Faculty of Engineering and Science as a PhD Research Fellow in ecology, with emphasis on machine learning and bioacoustics, affiliated to the Department of Natural Sciences, for a period of 3 years. The position is located at UiA Campus Kristiansand and the starting date is as soon as possible or to be negotiated with the Faculty.

The PhD Research Fellow will become a part of the UiA priority research centre - Centre for Coastal Research (CCR), which is a collaboration between UiA, Institute of Marine Research, NIVA, University of Oslo and GRID-Arendal, and comprises around 40 affiliated Researchers including Professors, Professors II, Researchers II, Post-Doctoral and PhD Research Fellows.


Many animals emit sounds to communicate. These sounds, together with other naturally occurring sounds in the ecosystem and sounds produced by human activities, constitutes the soundscape of an ecosystem. Bioacoustics, the scientific sub-discipline concerned with sound and its effects on living organisms, is rapidly growing. Technological advances have made it possible to autonomously collect large volumes of acoustic data, and advances in data science and artificial intelligence have revolutionized the possibilities to extract patterns that may be too complex to detect manually. This interdisciplinary project will use the latest developments in data science, including deep learning, to extract information from acoustic data in aquatic and marine ecosystems.

Bioacoustics, and the use of artificial intelligence to answer ecological or evolutionary research questions, are relatively new areas of research at UiA. The candidate will contribute to the development of this growing research group. We are looking for a highly motivated research fellow interested in shaping his/her own project as well as contributing to the future research directions of the group.

Possible research areas

  • Isolating individual vocalizations from recordings of acoustic choruses, potentially in noisy environments
  • Detecting and classifying animal sounds from passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) in aquatic and marine systems
  • Using PAM data to estimate population density and community composition
  • Using microphone arrays to localize vocal individuals.
  • Understanding reproductive ecology of aquatic species through the lens of acoustic data
  • Characterizing anthropogenic noise in marine environments and its possible effects on animal acoustic communication and behaviour

A detailed description of the PhD project will be developed in collaboration with the candidate and will depend on the candidate’s skills, experiences, and interests.

Required qualifications

  • Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this project, we welcome applicants with a MSc degree, or equivalent, (at the starting date) in a biological, chemical, physical, or mathematical science and with an interest in using machine learning and bioacoustics to address biological, ecological and/or evolutionary questions.
  • Demonstrated machine learning skills and an interest in ecology
  • Competence in programming languages such as Python, MATLAB or R
  • Written and spoken English proficiency. International candidates that are not exempt from the English language requirements pursuant to the guidelines of the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT) must document this through one of the following tests with the stated results or better:
    • TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language with a minimum score of 600 for the Paperbased Test (PBT), or 92 for the Internet-based Test (iBT)
    • IELTS - International English Language Testing System, with the result of 6.5

A prerequisite for employment is that the candidate is to be admitted to UiA’s PhD programme at the Faculty of Engineering and Science, Specialisation in Natural Sciences.

Further provisions relating to the positions as Post-Doctoral Research Fellows can be found in the Regulations Concerning Terms and Conditions of Employment for the post of Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Research Fellow, Research Assistant and Resident.

Desired qualifications

  • Main- or co-authorship of scientific publications where machine learning plays a major role

Personal qualities

The PhD Research Fellow will be expected to take part in a binding cooperation with the research group and contribute to an active research environment that will give opportunities for personal and professional development. The appointee must have the ability to work in a goal-oriented, organized, focused, and independent manner. Interpersonal and teamwork skills will also be emphasized, and the appointee will be expected to contribute to a positive, safe, and inclusive working environment.

During the assessment process, emphasis will be placed on the applicant’s previous work, and education, as well as any other previous relevant research and development work.

We offer

  • Professional development in a large, exciting and socially influential organisation
  • A positive, inclusive and diverse working environment
  • Modern facilities and a comprehensive set of welfare offers
  • Membership of the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund

More about working at UiA.

The position is remunerated according to the State Salary Scale, salary plan 17.515, code 1017 PhD Research Fellow, NOK 491 200 gross salary per year. A compulsory pension contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund is deducted from the pay according to current statutory provisions.

General information

UiA is an open and inclusive university. We believe that diversity enriches the workplace and makes us better. We, therefore, encourage qualified candidates to apply for the position independent of gender, age, cultural background, disability or an incomplete CV.

The successful applicant will have rights and obligations in accordance with the current regulations for the position, and organisational changes and changes in the duties and responsibilities of the position must be expected. Appointment is made by the University of Agder’s Appointments Committee for Teaching and Research Positions.

Short-listed applicants will be invited for interview. With the applicant’s permission, UiA will also conduct a reference check before appointment. Read more about the employment process.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act § 25 (2), applicants may request that they are not identified in the open list of applicants. The University, however, reserves the right to publish the names of applicants. Applicants will be advised of the University’s intention to exercise this right.


The application and any necessary information about education and experience (including diplomas and certificates) are to be sent electronically. Use the link "Apply for this job".

The following documentation must be uploaded electronically:

  • Certificates with grades
  • Master’s thesis/Summary (approximately 1-2 pages) of the master's thesis; For those who are in the final stage of the Master’s education but without a Master’s degree yet, the transcripts without the results of thesis can be provided; The evaluation result of the thesis can be provided later.
  • Applicants with a foreign higher education must attach an official description of the grading system used at the issuing institution;
  • Academic work and R&D projects, as well as a list of these
  • Summary or links to the applicant's scientific publications (if any);
  • A suggested project description with a maximum scope of 3 pages, including reference list. The outline should present and discuss possible research questions, theory perspectives, material and methods within the given framework
  • Applicants who are required to document their English proficiency must submit their TOEFL or IELTS test results (these may be forwarded after the closing date);
  • References

The applicant is fully responsible for submitting complete digital documentation before the closing date. All documentation must be available in a Scandinavian language or English.

Application deadline: 19.01.22


For questions about the position:

  • Associate Professor Lars Korslund, tel. +47 38 14 16 40, e-mail [email protected]
  • Head of Department Hans Weinberger, tel. +47 38 14 18 45, mobile +47 48 89 83 97, e-mail [email protected]

For questions about the application process:

  • Higher Executive Officer Lise Askbo Fylkesnes, tel. +47 37 23 31 25, e-mail: [email protected]

Apply for this job

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