Ledig stilling ved Universitetet i Agder

PhD Reserach Fellow in Environmental Communication, Participation and Policy-Making

Deadline: 02.08.2020

University of Agder

The University of Agder has more than 1400 employees and 13 000 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 Social Sciences as a PhD Research Fellow in Environmental Communication, Participation and Policy-Making, affiliated to the Department of Global Development and Planning, for a period of three years, or four years with 25 % required duties. The position is located at the Kristiansand campus.

The starting date will be in early 2021, and is, to some extent, negotiable with the Faculty.The Faculty of Social Sciences has four departments: Department of Political Science and Management, Department of Global Development and Planning, Department of Information Systems, and Department of Sociology and Social Work.

The Department of Global Development and Planning has thirteen permanent academic staff, one postdoctoral fellow and ten PhD research fellows. The Department has research and teaching experience in climate and environmental issues, social movements, city and regional planning, local development and participation processes, digital communications and e-learning, gender, integration and mobility, poverty issues, globalisation and political economy, state and welfare politics in the South, rural/urban migration, natural disasters and crisis management.

About the research project

As issues such as the environment and climate change become more prominent in public debates, Norway’s green policies such as the implementation of regional area & transport plans and city growth agreements are becoming increasingly contested at the local level.

Established forms of climate policy-making, participation and communication are being transformed and disrupted by new actors and social movements. These processes are often highly localised, while connecting disparate communities across national and international boundaries. Horizontal and decentralised forms of digital communications now play a key role. These changes offer new opportunities for effective institutional participation and communication, but they also produce challenges that need to be addressed by administrators and politicians at the municipality and county levels, as the recent wave of protests against road tolls in Norway shows.

The PhD student hired for this project will focus on deepening the understanding of these issues, with an emphasis on the links between climate policy, popular participation and digital communications at intersecting scales, esp. the role that local and regional governance play in the implementation of effective climate policies. The study will produce policy-relevant academic knowledge that will benefit the Agder region and Norway more broadly. The qualitative data collection will involve in-depth interviews, focus groups and co-production workshops with administrators, politicians, local citizens and anti-road tolls activists affected by and/or involved in the design, negotiation and implementation of regional area & transport plans (areal- og transportplaner) and city growth agreements (byvekstavtaler) in three areas: Kristiansand’s region and Arendal’s region in Agder county, and one region to be chosen for comparison in Rogaland, where much of road tolls protest activity took place.

The methodology also includes: media and documentary analysis; and advanced methods of quantitative social network analysis for tracking the diffusion, reception and transformation of messages in hybrid social networks (the network analysis will be carried out with one of the supervisors, and no previous skills in quantitative network analysis are required for this post).

Co-production with research participants will be part of the methodology, to produce high quality academic knowledge that is impactful and inclusive, and that can spur positive change in local governments and communities involved in the study, and in other locations across Norway where similar issues are experienced. Implicit and explicit comparison with secondary data and analyses from other Nordic, European and transnational contexts will also be sought out to situate Norwegian experiences in a global perspective.


The PhD Research Fellow will take the lead in carrying out the research project described above, working closely with the project leaders Vito Laterza (Associate Professor in Developpment Studies) and Alexander Ruser (Professor of Sociology), who will also act as his supervisors.

The Fellow will also benefit from affiliaton with the Department of Sociology and Social Work, which offers research and teaching expertise in Sociology, Social Work and Child Welfare. The Fellow will also be attached to the Centre for Digital Transformation, which is a priority research centre of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and has an active working group on sustainability and digitalisation.

Required qualifications

Further provisions relating to the positions as PhD 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.

The applicants must qualify for admission to the PhD Programme in Social Sciences and must hold a master’s degree in development studies, anthropology, sociology, geography, communication, or other relevant subject with a strong qualitative research training component with an average mark of B or better. Applicants who are in the process of finishing their master’s thesis are also welcome to apply for this position. Fluency in written and oral English is a prerequisite.

More information about the PhD programme at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Desired qualifications

  • Previous experience in research on environmental communication, participation and policy-making
  • Knowledge of the Norwegian context of environmental communication, participation and policy-making
  • Fluent in Norwegian or another Scandinavian language for the purpose of research and co-production activities with research participants

Personal qualities

  • Independent and self-driven
  • Strong teamworking and collaborative skills
  • Curious and willing to learn new knowledge, pushing beyond conventional boundaries
  • Ability to contribute to academic discussions and innovative research activities

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 479.600 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.

Women are strongly encouraged to apply for the position.

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 interviews. With the applicant’s permission, UiA will also conduct a reference check before appointment. Read more about the employment process here.

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 the position".

The following documentation must be uploaded electronically:

  • Higher education certificates with grades
  • Master’s thesis (or advanced draft, if you have not yet completed your master’s degree)
  • References
  • Academic work, policy projects and/or other R&D projects, as well as a list of these works;
  • Project description with a maximum scope of 5 pages, excluding reference list. The outline should present and discuss possible research questions, theory perspectives, material, a progress plan, and methods within the given framework.

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

Application deadline: 2 August 2020.


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For questions about the application process:

Apply for the position