Ledig stilling på Universitetet i Oslo

Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)
Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)

Researcher in Ethnobotany - Focus on Quantitative Analyses of Historical Plant Use in Scandinavia

Deadline: 31.05.2023

Universitetet i Oslo

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest ranked educational and research institution, with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. With its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally recognised research communities, UiO is an important contributor to society.

The Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo is Norway’s most comprehensive natural history collection. For almost 200 years, specimens of animals, fungi, plants, rocks, minerals and fossils have been collected, studied and preserved here. The museum is located at Økern and in the beautiful Botanical Garden, which is not only popular for recreation, but is a scientific collection in itself.


Job description

Applications are invited for a position as Researcher in Ethnobotany at the Natural History Museum, University of Oslo. The appointment is for a period of one and a half years, fully paid, with 100% research time. Starting date: preferably the 1st of September 2023, but negotiable.

More about the position

The researcher will be employed by the Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, and work on the Research Council of Norway funded project Nordic People and Plants led by Dr. Anneleen Kool.

Nordic People and Plants investigates the development of Nordic biodiversity through human interference from the Viking age until today. The project aims to rediscover and understand the evolution of Nordic plant traditions, by explaining the origins of diversity of selected plants. People have always been dependent on plants, using them as food, animal fodder, medicine, or as materials for clothing, tools and buildings. Throughout history, plants have shaped how people build, dress, and cure diseases. In turn, people have influenced biodiversity by cultivating and introducing new plant species, but they have also caused plants to go extinct. Currently, a decline in plant diversity world-wide threatens our well-being and the ecosystems we depend on, making it all the more pressing to better understand these human-plant relationships. In this project, plant names, archaeobotanical sources, iconographical sources and textual descriptions will all be systematized and analyzed. The project is based on close collaboration between the humanities and natural sciences. This cooperation will contribute to a comprehensive understanding of human relationships with plants and contribute to safeguarding Nordic plant traditions for the future.

The candidate’s work for the project will be to use data science approaches and ethnobotanical expertise to improve and analyze our extensive database of ethnobotanical, linguistic, archaeobotanical, and historical datasets. They will conduct research aimed at answering questions at the core of the project, such as: Can we triangulate data sources to state what the Viking ethnobotanical toolkit looked like? How was knowledge of plant use transmitted across time and space? What dynamics of cultural and linguistic diversity can be understood with these data? We therefore seek a candidate with strong analytical skills as well as a background/training in ethnobotany or a similar field.

The candidate’s tasks will be as follows:

To use data science approaches to analyse existing Nordic People and Plants data, focusing in particular on (a) the reconstruction of the Viking plant toolkit and (b) the cultural transmission dynamics of plant use through time.

In conjunction with other team members, to prepare the whole dataset for publication as an open-source resource for other scientists, including leading on an accompanying database paper.

To work across disciplines with team members and advise and assist on other NPP subprojects as time permits.

The candidate will work in the Evolution, eDNA, Genomics and Ethnobotany (EDGE) research group, at the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo. The EDGE group is composed of an interdisciplinary group of researchers interested in areas ranging from plant speciation and phylogenomics, the development of metabarcoding as a next-generation biodiversity assessment tool for society, and people's influence on wild plants through use and trade throughout history. The Kool group within the EDGE group combines ethnobotany with studies on historical human influence on plant distribution using comparative phylogenetic methods and is closely connected with the Botanical Garden.

The candidate will also work closely with a national and international interdisciplinary network of researchers.

Qualification requirements

Required qualifications:

  • A PhD in ethnobiology or social-ecological systems research or a related field.
  • Demonstrable strong statistical, quantitative and data science skills for the analysis of cultural, linguistic and/or ecological data.
  • Fluent spoken and written English.
  • Evidence of ability to formulate research questions, to design appropriate analyses, and interpret and present results for dissemination.
  • Strong track record of bringing projects to timely completion and publication.
  • A track record of quality academic publications, and evidence of working collaboratively on publications.

Desirable qualifications:

  • Proficiency in a Scandinavian language
  • Knowledge of the Scandinavian flora
  • Experience with North Germanic linguistic data
  • Experience of working intensively with large cross-linguistic and/or cross-cultural databases.

Personal qulifications

  • High flexibility and creativity
  • Excellent social skills to work in ambitious interdisciplinary teams.

We offer

  • Salary NOK 544 400 – 626 300 per annum depending on qualifications in position as Researcher (position code 1109).
  • Attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement, in addition to Oslo’s family-friendly environment with its rich opportunities for cultural and outdoor activities.
  • An international research environment with opportunities for academic development.
  • Outreach opportunities

How to apply

The application must include:

  • Application letter describing the applicant’s qualifications and motivation for the position
  • CV (summarizing education, positions and academic work)
  • A complete list of publications
  • Copies of educational certificates
  • 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 note that all documents should be in English.

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 and can be conducted digitally.

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to research posts at the University of Oslo.

According to the Norwegian Freedom of 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.

Inclusion and diversity are a strength. The University of Oslo has a personnel policy objective of achieving a balanced gender composition. Furthermore, we want employees with diverse professional expertise, life experience and perspectives.

If there are qualified applicants with disabilities, employment gaps or immigrant background, we will invite at least one applicant from each of these categories to an interview.

Contact information

For more about the research project Nordic People and Plants:

  • Dr. Anneleen Kool, e-mail: anneleen.kool@nhm.uio.no

For more about NHM:

  • Research Director Hugo de Boer: h.de.boer@nhm.uio.no

For questions regarding the recruitment process and Jobbnorge, please contact HR Adviser Thomas Brånå: thomas.brana@nhm.uio.no

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