Associate Professor - Department of Arctic Biology

Deadline: 15.10.2023

University Centre in Svalbard

UNIS is the world's northernmost educational institution, located in Longyearbyen. UNIS has technical and scientific equipment, laboratories and infrastructure for teaching and research in Arctic natural science and technology for sea, land and atmosphere. 

The disciplines include Arctic Biology, - Geophysics, - Geology and - Technology. All teaching is in English, and about half of the staff and students is from abroad. UNIS is a state-owned corporation. The administrative language is Norwegian.


The department of Arctic Biology seeks a candidate for a full-time, permanent position as Associate Professor in Arctic marine biology.

The department currently consists of two professors, four associate professors, ten adjunct professors, 10 PhD/postdocs and two technical/administrative staff. The department conducts research and education in Arctic marine and terrestrial biology and delivers 23 courses at BSc, MSc and PhD levels. The Arctic Biology department has, and based on the unique location of UNIS, a special focus on seasonality, as well as time series and the spatial variability provided by the archipelago. Arctic Biology is a partner in numerous large research projects with funding at both national and international scale.

Research at the department revolves around three themes, i) Climate change biology, ii) Seasonal ecology, and iii) Spatio-temporal dynamics of species and systems (Arctic Biology Research - UNIS).

UNIS has well equipped lab facilities including a state-of-the-art molecular lab, a primary production lab and cold labs for experimental work. UNIS has access to various autonomous platforms, owns a small research boat to conduct fjord investigations and a remote field station close to a seasonally ice-covered fjord.

Teaching has an emphasis in the department which has the deputy chair of the SFU (Centre for Excellence in Education) bioCEED initiative.

Description of the vacant position and qualifications

We seek candidates with a strong research potential in ecology of high latitude marine ecosystems to complement and strengthen current marine research and education in our department that focuses on biodiversity and ecology of protists and invertebrates. Relevant candidates must demonstrate their ability to use and develop UNIS’ field- and lab infrastructure (Operations and field safety - UNIS, Lab services - UNIS).The highly motivated candidate is expected to conduct and develop research on high-Arctic ecosystems focusing on one or more of the three strategic research themes of the Department of Arctic Biology listed above.

Applicants must have:

  • PhD degree in marine biology, marine ecology or another relevant field
  • Research and fieldwork experiences from Arctic or high-latitude marine ecosystems
  • Experience in field- and/or lab-based methods and approaches
  • Motivation and vision to develop research within the Arctic Biology department as well as across UNIS departments

Advantageous attributes:

  • Experience with novel methodology to study physical-biological interactions
  • Competence in experimental approaches to study adaptations and physiological responses
  • Competence in molecular techniques
  • Experience with analyses, publication and archiving of large data sets, particularly with time-series or spatial data
  • Well established national and international network in Arctic marine research
  • Experience in developing teaching methodologies with special attention to field-based teaching

Since the appointee is expected to build an outstanding research profile in their field that integrates with the broader research in the Department of Arctic Biology and other departments within UNIS, opportunities and ability for collaboration with other staff members will be emphasized during the recruitment process. The ability to work independently as well as in teams and having a positive attitude and flexibility are considered important. The research field and expertise of applicants will be evaluated in relation to the research profile and strategic plans for the Department of Arctic Biology(Arctic Biology Research - UNIS).

The appointed person will be responsible for both undergraduate and graduate level teaching courses and for supervising students at BSc, MSc and PhD levels. They will also be expected to develop their teaching within the framework and strategy of the department. The candidates should document teaching experience at different academia levels and formal pedagogic training (see below). Knowledge of Norwegian university education and funding systems is beneficial.

UNIS is a Norwegian institution and all the education we offer is to be compliant with Norwegian universities. Knowledge and experience from the Norwegian university sector is an advantage. Non-native Scandinavians must pass an approved Norwegian language test at B2 level on the Council of Europe Level Scale for Languages (CEFR) within two years.

For a position as an associate professor, basic competence in teaching and supervision at university and university college level is required. This include basic skills in planning, implementation, evaluation and development of teaching and supervision and can be achieved through having completed.

1) A pedagogical training course of minimum 200 hours

2) Relevant courses in combination with own teaching which the institution considers to be equivalent to a pedagogical training course of at least 200 hours

Teaching competence must be documented through a teaching portfolio (see below).

Early career applicants or applicants with particularly compelling reasons for not meeting the requirements of basic competence in teaching and supervision above, are nonetheless encouraged to apply. The employment contract for the successful candidate will then state that the requirements must be met within three years.

Employment conditions for faculty positions at UNIS

Sixty per cent of the working time of full-time faculty at UNIS is reserved for research and professional development. In addition, staff are required to be involved in teaching and administration, and to be willing to contribute to the development of UNIS in a more general sense.

UNIS offers

  • Free arrival passage for you and your family, and relocation expenses associated with initiation of the engagement
  • Annual holiday travel grant, in accordance with current regulations
  • Membership in the Norwegian Public Pension Fund
  • Favourable conditions for sabbatical leave


All salaries are set in accordance with the Norwegian government's University salary scale, associate professor code 1011. The salaries depend on experience/seniority. As resident of Svalbard an annual allowance of NOK 38 520 (Svalbardtillegg) will be added to staff salaries. A social security contribution of 2 per cent to the Norwegian public service pension fund will be deducted from the salary. Income tax on Svalbard is 8 per cent, plus 7,9 per cent toward national insurance coverage.

Selection and appointment

A scientific committee will evaluate the applications. Based on the report, an appointment committee will invite the top ranked person(s) for a pedagogical trial, a presentation of their background and research plan and an interview. The appointment will be made based on the recommendation from the scientific and the appointment committee. Applicants for the position must document their qualifications as associate professor. UNIS enforces a positive discrimination if a gender’s representation falls below 40 % to address any gender imbalances effectively.

Application / Contact person

Inquiries about the position may be directed to:

  • Head of Department, Prof. Steve Coulson, e-mail: stevec@unis.no, mobile (+47) 90 11 89 73 or 
  • Professor Janne E. Søreide, email: jannes@unis.no, mobile (+47) 91 82 39 84

Deadline for applications is the 15.10.2023.Please apply online on www.jobbnorge.no

At the end of the form, please attach:

  • Covering letter explaining motivation and suitability for the position
  • CV including full list of publications and previously held grants
  • Education and teaching certificates
  • Teaching portfolio or similar *
  • Five-year research plan (max two pages) demonstrating how the research field and experience of the applicant can contribute to the strategy of the Department of Arctic Biology
  • Up to five publications (authored or co-authored by the applicant) that are relevant for the position
  • Name and contact details for three references

The committee could ask for further documentation or copies of parts or the complete scientific production described by the applicants.

*Details about the teaching portfolio:

The teaching portfolio should describe, and document pedagogical qualifications divided into the following areas:

1) Teaching philosophy

2) Pedagogical or other relevant teaching courses and education

3) Teaching activities

4) Pedagogical research and development work

5) Sharing experience, dissemination and outreach related to teaching activities and/or educational development.

The following attachments may be relevant in the teaching portfolio:

  • Pedagogical and teaching training certificates
  • Evaluation reports of the applicants teaching
  • Overview of masters and doctoral degree supervision and results
  • Teaching merits and other awards
  • Educational publications
  • Teaching compendiums and materials
  • Reports that show participation in projects related to the development of teaching, such as students active learning, digital learning methods, supervision or/and learning environment

You can request to have your application kept from public access cf. the open files act § 25. The request must be explained. UNIS will determine if the application will be kept from public access or not, based on the explanation and the regulations from the open files act. If the application will not be accepted, the candidate will be contacted.


Longyearbyen is located in Svalbard, in the midst of a varied and beautiful Arctic nature with good opportunities for outdoor activities. Longyearbyen is a modern town with approx. 2500 inhabitants and has a good service offering, swimming / sports hall and a varied association, sports and cultural life.

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