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Researcher in soil sciences and biology

Deadline: 14.06.2024

Universitetet i Oslo

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest rated institution of research and education with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. Its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally esteemed research communities make UiO an important contributor to society.

Department of Biosciences (IBV) is one of nine departments at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Research in the department is organised in five sections covering topics within biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology, cell biology, genetics, aquatic biology, toxicology, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Education across these topics is offered for around 350 bachelor, 250 master, and 120 PhD students. With 52 permanent professors/associate professors, post-docs, researchers, technical, and administrative personnel, the Department has a total staff of 340 from more than 30 different countries. The Department aims to maintain high international standards within both research and teaching. The new bachelor program in bioscience is the first of its kind to include programming and computational modelling as core elements.

About the position

Position as Researcher available at Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo

The position is for a period of 36 months. Starting date as soon as possible.

Job description/project description:

We are seeking a highly motivated and qualified researcher to join our dynamic team working on the SICKSOIL project funded by the Norwegian Research Council. SICKSOIL is initiated by the fruit producer community in Midt-Telemark and involves fruit producers in the major fruit regions in Norway. The initiative stems from fruit producers in response to growing demands and awareness throughout the value chain, including consumers, related to three main areas: 1) food quality, 2) climate actions and the need for carbon sequestration in agricultural soil, and 3) resilience, predictable production, and value creation in a future characterized by rapid climate change. Soil sick syndrome will be studied in the context of fruit production, but it likely represents a broader issue concerning soil health in Norwegian and global agriculture. 

SICKSOIL will investigate soil sick syndrome by emphasizing the roles of:

1. Communities of microorganisms (microbiota), especially the diversity of such organisms and their metabolic states

2. Soil organic matter (SOM), with a special focus on the various types of molecules encompassing proteins, fatty acids, and carbohydrates. Both of these fields have been significantly overlooked in fruit production both nationally and internationally.

SICKSOIL will generate groundbreaking new knowledge in these scientific areas that will be transformed into practical concepts and advice for farmers. Furthermore, SICKSOIL will implement several methods that have not been systematically used in Norway, including DNA sequencing of microorganisms and viruses, as well as comprehensive studies of soil organic matter. These novel approaches and tools are not only essential for scientific investigations but are also valuable in the transition towards more sustainable agriculture in Norway.

You will be part of an exciting interdisciplinary project in the fields of biology and soil science. The position also offers the opportunity to collaborate with international research colleagues in soil chemistry, microbiology, neuroscience, and other relevant disciplines.


  • Organize and execute soil and root sampling in collaboration with our project partners
  • Conduct soil fractionation procedures to separate labile and stabilized organic matter pools
  • Analyse carbon and nitrogen contents of soil samples and organic matter
  • Perform chemical and spectroscopic analyses on soil samples
  • Collaborate with team members to identify chemical patterns in soil organic matter that correlate with soil health
  • Perform statistical analyses to relate soil chemistry and soil health categories

Qualification requirements:

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences has a strategic ambition to be among Europe's leading communities for research, education and innovation. Candidates for these fellowships will be selected in accordance with this, and expected to be in the upper segment of their class with respect to academic credentials.

  • Applicants must hold a degree equivalent to a Norwegian doctoral degree in a relevant field such as soil science, biology, microbiology, ecology, or a related discipline. Doctoral dissertation must be submitted for evaluation by the closing date. Only applicants with an approved doctoral thesis and completed defence are eligible for appointment.

We are seeking a highly motivated and ambitious individual with good interpersonal and communication skills. 

We are looking for and will prioritise applicants with these skills and background:

  • Background from soil science, particularly related to soil health and organic matter
  • In-depth knowledge of organic matter in soil, including its composition, carbon sequestration and decomposition
  • Strong knowledge on biogeochemical processes and experience in conducting research in soil chemistry and organic matter dynamics
  • Practical experience in planning and conducting field and lab experiments with plant-soil systems
  • Experience in the use of laboratory equipment and techniques, preferably in the analysis of organic matter and soil chemistry
  • Strong analytical skills and experience with statistical analysis and data interpretation, preferably on soil chemical and biochemical data
  • Knowledge of and prior research on "sick soil syndrome" or similar phenomena would be a significant advantage
  • Applicants must be fluent in both written and spoken English to a level sufficiently high for communication and dissemination at an academic level.

As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications, emphasis will be laid on publication record and relevant work experience.

Personal skills:

  • Communication: The ability to communicate research findings clearly, both in written and oral form, to scientific colleagues, project partners, and the general audience.
  • Independence and Teamwork: The ability to work independently and as part of a team, as projects often require both individual effort and collaboration with other researchers.
  • Project Management: Competence in managing project tasks, including coordinating fieldwork, laboratory work, and data collection.

We offer:

  • Salary NOK minimum 575 400 – 657 300 per annum depending on qualifications in position as Researcher (position code 1109)
  • Attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement
  • Professionally stimulating working environment
  • Vibrant international academic environment
  • Oslo’s family-friendly surroundings with their rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities

The application must include:

  • Cover letter (statement of motivation, summarizing scientific work and research interest)
  • A suggestion for a project description matching the project focus and revealing your competence/interest in the project, (max 1 page).
  • CV (summarizing education, positions, pedagogical experience, administrative experience and other qualifying activity)
  • Copies of educational certificates, academic transcript of records and letters of recommendation
  • A complete list of publications and up to 5 academic works that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee
  • Names and contact details of 2-3 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and telephone number)

The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system, please follow the link “Apply for this job”. Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University's grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English (or a Scandinavian language).

In assessing the applications, special emphasis will be placed on the documented, academic qualifications, as well as the candidates motivation and personal suitability. Interviews with the best qualified candidates will be arranged.

It is expected that the successful candidate will be able to complete the project in the course of the period of employment.

Formal regulations:

According to the Norwegian Freedom and Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results a.o.

The University of Oslo aims to achieve a balanced gender composition in the workforce and to recruit people with ethnic minority backgrounds.

Contact persons:

For further information about the position please contact: 

For technical questions regarding the recruitment system please contact: HR-adviser Nina Holtan, phone: +47 228 54424, e-mail: nina.holtan@mn.uio.no

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