Ledig stilling ved Universitetet i Agder

PhD Research Fellow in Mathematics Education

Deadline: 01.06.2020

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 Engineering and Science as a PhD Research Fellow in Mathematics Education, affiliated to the Department of Mathematical Sciences, for a period of three years, or for suitable candidates four years with 25% required duties. The position is located, at present, at Campus Kristiansand. The starting date is negotiable with the Faculty.

The Department of Mathematical Sciences has a large and active research group in mathematics education, MERGA, with about 20 fellows on its PhD programme. The research group MERGA was rated very high in a national survey of educational research conducted by The Research Council of Norway in 2017, and since autumn 2018 has been recognised as one of five Top Research Centres at the University of Agder. The person appointed will join this research group. The group pursues a variety of research interests focusing especially on five main strands within mathematics education: Teaching and learning mathematics in kindergarten and early school years; Teaching and learning mathematics in higher education; Mathematics teaching and learning in teacher education and professional development; Emergent technologies in mathematics teaching and learning; Mathematics in non-mathematical practices.

MatRIC, The Centre for Research, Innovation and Coordination of Mathematics Teaching is a national Centre for Excellence in Higher Education, established in January 2014, and is led by the Department of Mathematical Sciences. The person appointed, with research in an appropriate area could contribute to the work and development of the Centre.

The mathematics education research group has substantial and on-going experience of leading and contributing to large research projects funded by The EU, The Research Council of Norway, Nordforsk, the Competence Development Fund of Southern Norway, and others. The Department has hosted the Nordic Graduate School in Mathematics Education and contributes actively to the Nordic mathematics education community. The University of Agder has excellent library support and collection of research literature in mathematics education (in English and Scandinavian languages) and on-line access to all leading journals in the field.


Proposals are sought that seek to explore and understand better mathematics education in any of the three following areas.

1. Reasoning and argumentation in primary school mathematics

In Norway and internationally, reasoning and argumentation are increasingly considered to be topics that should be addressed in primary schools. However, it is not clear how this can be done or even what is meant by ‘reasoning and argumentation’ in the primary school context. This is in part because these topics, until recently, were seen as inaccessible to younger pupils. A limited amount of research has been done on this topic, which has shown that younger pupils are capable of such thinking. Now, in some places, including Norway with the latest new curriculum “Fagfornyelsen”, school curricula are changing to recognise this. However, most teachers in primary schools have not been prepared to include reasoning and argumentation in their teaching.

More research is needed especially on the design, implementation and evaluation of learning environments that promote reasoning and argumentation. A fellow undertaking this research area will work on school based research on the teaching and learning of reasoning and argumentation.

2. Development of knowledge and skills in initial mathematics teacher education and early years of teaching career

Growing pedagogical and didactical demands are broadening and deepening teachers’ roles in schools. To become effective teachers, policy makers and researchers point to the importance of subject matter and pedagogical content knowledge, competences to plan and manage classroom discourse and the ability to maintain a classroom milieu that supports the development of higher order thinking skills. What are optimal conditions within teacher education programmes that support the development of the required knowledge, skills and competences? Are there patterns in the experiences of individuals during their time in initial teacher education programmes and in early years of their careers? Projects that follow this line of research may range from phenomenological approaches to case studies or mixed or quantitative research designs.

3. Using biosensor technology to advance mathematics education research

Rapid developments of technology offer possibilities unknown earlier for studying human behavior. New tools such as eye-tracking, electroencephalography, galvanic skin response, facial expression analysis are now affordable for educational research. Real-time measurements of autonomous and nonconscious responses and brain activity offer insights into students’ actions, thinking and feelings facilitating innovative research on cognitive load and brain synchrony and suggest new ways to look at classical problems regarding expert-novice comparisons, mathematics tasks/text design, multimedia learning, and mathematical reasoning in different contexts. Research using these technologies on processes of learning from alternative sources (both print and digital) and mathematical reasoning in contexts of graphic, visual, text and symbolic representations at all levels would be welcome.

Required qualifications

The candidate must hold a cand. scient. or master’s degree in Mathematics or Mathematics Education or other field with a strong mathematics component (e.g. Physics). This year’s master’s candidates/candidates who are in the closing stages of their master’s degree can also apply. A teaching qualification is also essential for areas one and two above.

For candidates with research proposals in area 3, also candidates with background from cognitive psychology or neuroscience including use of biosensing technology will be considered.

The successful applicant must have written and spoken English proficiency. Applicants from some countries must document their English proficiency through one of the following tests or certificates:

  • TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language with a minimum score of 600 on the Paper-based Test (PBT), or a minimum of 92 on the Internet based Test (iBT);
  • IELTS – International English Language Testing System, with a result of at least 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5. (only Academic IELTS test accepted).
  • CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) certificate of at least Level B2.

The list of countries this pertains to can be found here.

Possible categories of applicants from particular countries may be exempted, see here.

Please note that the English test requirement applies to applicants from most countries according to the list mentioned above. No other tests will be approved, and certifications/statements cannot replace a test.

The applicant must submit an approved project description within three months of appointment.

A prerequisite for employment is that the candidate is to be admitted to UiA’s PhD programme in Engineering and Science, Specialisation in Mathematical Sciences, Scientific Field in Mathematics Education.

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.

Desired qualifications

Length of school experience and knowledge of Norwegian or Scandinavian language will be taken into account in the selection of a suitable candidate. At the University of Agder, PhD dissertations may be written in Norwegian, another Scandinavian Language or English.

Personal qualities

Personal suitability and good teamwork skills will be emphasized in the evaluation as well as relevant practical experience. Research Fellows are expected to contribute to the active research community at the University. The position places demands on the applicant’s capacity for independent goal-oriented work, ability to concentrate and attention to detail. Applicants will be assessed on the basis of academic background and results, attainment, and any previous research activity, in addition to a (preliminary) research proposal submitted with the application (see below).

Research visits to an external institution or with a national or international partner for part of the period of employment may be anticipated.

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.

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. 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:

  • A letter of application which includes a rationale for applying for the position together with an outline of the applicant’s research interests and background for the proposed project
  • Certificates with grades
  • Master’s thesis
  • References
  • A list, summary and links to the applicant's scientific publications if produced must be included if the be considered
  • A short research proposal (preliminary) that sets out background, rationale, recent work and research design for the intended study.This should not extend beyond about 5 pages, but it will form an important part of the evaluation of candidates. It must be made clear to which of the three listed topic areas above the proposal relates.
  • Any other relevant documentation

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: 01.06.20


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