PhD Research Fellow in neuroscience

Deadline: 30.03.2023

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 100 % position is available at the University of Agder, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences as a PhD Research Fellow in neuroscience, affiliated to The Psychology Academic Group. The position is available for a period of three years, possibly for four years with 25% required duties. The starting date is negotiable with the faculty.

The position is located, at the present, at Campus Kristiansand of the University of Agder on the southern coast of Norway. The Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences has four departments: Department of Health and Nursing Science, Department of Nutrition and Public Health, Department of Sports Science and Physical Education and Department of Psychosocial Health. The PhD position will be associated with the DSyNC research laboratory.

In DSyNC, we work to understand how sensory processes and learning are affected by internal generative processes. We use the olfactory system in mice as a model system and are interested in how statistical learning is implemented both algorithmically and biologically in cell networks in the cerebral cortex. More specifically, we are interested in how sensory representations are linked to identity (odor objects). Natural odors typically consist of several hundred different chemicals, and we have little insight into how the brain establishes which of these best define specific odor objects over time and best separate these from other odor objects. It is, however, already well established that these processes, known as 'pattern completion ' and 'pattern separation', do take place already in the first part of the olfactory cortex after inputs from the nose. To approach these processes, high-yield in vivo electrophysiology is used in awake behaving mice, together with optogenetic methods to manipulate neural activity. We also make use of high-capacity behavioral monitoring through a virtual reality setup we designed for mice, which provides very precise experimental control of sensory stimuli, including smell. Both the type of data (high dimensional neural time series and behavioral signals), and the experimental questions we are interested in, require that the employee has good experience with relevant statistical methods, data analyzes and programming.


The successful candidate will primarily analyze experimental data using state-of-the-art machine learning and statistical techniques. In this regard, the employee will have a lot of creative freedom in coordination with supervisors Tor and Hanne Stensola. Responsibilities associated with the position include establishing pipelines for data analyses. Experiments can also be included, particularly for candidates with experience in experimental neuroscience.

Required qualifications

The applicants must qualify for admission to the PhD-programme at the Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences or at the Faculty of Engineering and Science, and have a relevant Master’s degree (neuroscience, computational neuroscience, biology, mathematics, physics, machine learning/artificial intelligence or equivalent) with an average grade of A or B. Applicants who are in the process of finishing their Master’s thesis are also welcome to apply for this position.

English proficiency, both written and oral. 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.

The applicant must demonstrate good communication skills orally and in writing, and document analytical and programming skills.

Further provisions relating to the positions as PhD Research Fellow 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

The candidate that can document the following experience and/or knowledge will have a clear advantage:

  • Work experience in analyzing neural data (for example from electrophysiological recordings)
  • Experience with and understanding of python and C++ programming languages.
  • Good understanding of, and experience with, statistical learning methods (regression, linear decoders, Bayesian inference, factor analysis, PCA, nonlinear embedding)
  • Experience with neural models (spiking neural networks [AdEx, Morris-Lecar etc] or neural field models such as Wilson-Cowan)
  • Work experience with nonlinear dynamical systems

The working language at the University of Agder is manly Norwegian. It is therefore an advantage if the applicant is fluent in Norwegian or another Scandinavian language, both written and spoken.

Personal qualities

  • Flexible and collaborative
  • Independent, structured, efficient and proactive
  • Strong ability to execute
  • Analytical and reflective
  • Solution oriented

Personal qualities and suitability for the position will be emphasized.

We offer

  • Professional development in a large, exciting, and socially important organization
  • 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 501 200 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 regardless 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 organizational changes and changes in the duties and responsibilities of the position must be expected. The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. 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 necessary information about education and experience (including diplomas and certificates) are to be sent electronically. Use the link "Apply for this job".

The following must be uploaded electronically:

  • Certificates with grades, as well as an explanation of the grades
  • English certificate (IELTS or TOEFL) for international candidates who are not exempt from the English language requirements.
  • Master’s thesis (if finished)
  • CV with list of fieldwork projects, relevant experiences, and publications
  • Transcripts and documentations
  • Motivation letter for the position
  • References

The applicant is fully responsible for submitting complete digital documentation before the closing date. We must note that we cannot assess the application if supporting documents are absent. All documentation must be available in a Scandinavian language or English.

Application deadline: 30 March 2023.


For questions about the position:

For questions about the application process:

Apply for this job

Powered by Labrador CMS