Permanent position as Associate Professor in Snow Science

Deadline: 15.08.2022


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 are from abroad. UNIS is a state-owned corporation. The administrative language is Norwegian.


The Department of Arctic Geology at UNIS invites applications for a permanent, full time Associate Professor in snow science. Currently the department constitutes 2 professors, 4 associate professors, 2 post-doctoral research fellows, 7 PhD students, one departmental engineer and 11 adjunct associate or full professors (with 10-20 % positions). The department conducts research and education in Arctic Geology, ranging from large-scale tectonics, basin analysis and deep time palaeoclimate, through terrestrial and marine Quaternary environmental change to contemporary glacial, periglacial, watershed and coastal process studies. It provides 39 courses at bachelor, master and PhD levels (see this). Additional information about the department can be found at www.unis.no whilst our current research activities are described at here.

Through this appointment the Arctic Geology Department seeks to enhance cross-departmental interaction at UNIS. It is hoped the position will complement existing expertise in snow climatology and regional snow cover (Arctic Geophysics Department), snow-ecosystem interaction and biogeochemistry (Arctic Biology and Arctic Geology Departments), snow – permafrost interaction and firn processes (Arctic Geology and Arctic Geophysics) and snow avalanches (Arctic Safety Centre). The potential for strong interaction with the Arctic Safety Centre is particularly welcome, because the growth of snow science in the context of avalanche safety is important to UNIS field operations and to provide professional community services.

UNIS carries significant national and international responsibilities in research and education. The importance of field training is stressed at all levels throughout the teaching programs, and through UNIS’ contribution to two multi-institutional projects funded by the Norwegian Centres of Excellence in Education scheme, SFU (www.iEarth.no and https://bioceed.w.uib.no/).

Description of the vacant position and qualifications

We are seeking candidates for a permanent Associate Professorship in Snow Science with a strong research profile to complement the department’s existing strengths in cryospheric science and to enhance cross-departmental collaboration. The successful candidate will have a strong background within snow science, uses GIS, remote sensing and field mapping tools, and has significant numerical skills that include modelling snow processes. Experience with hazards related to snow and avalanche research, will be a distinct advantage. We expect the successful candidate to further develop collaboration with both local authorities and national geohazard management communities. Experience from interaction with geohazard management environments and interest in/experience in developing applied solutions, e.g. prototyping innovative forecast products is an advantage as is experience from project collaboration within risk science, natural hazards, climate preparedness and/or climate adaptation.

The appointed person will be responsible for undergraduate and/or graduate courses and is expected to supervise students at MSc and/or PhD level. The candidate is expected to develop snow and avalanche teaching at UNIS, which includes responsibility for the MSc and PhD-level Snow and Avalanche Dynamics course in spring and contribute to physical geography teaching at the BSc level. We emphasize active learning, field learning and authentic research experience in all courses, and experience with/ a clear plan for providing a high-quality learning environment and provide integration between research and teaching is required.

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 at minimum 200 hours with the aim of qualifying for all aspects of the basic competence, or

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. This shall include an overview of practical teaching experience and competence, documentation of this and a brief reflection note. The reflection note shall primarily be linked to one's own teaching philosophy and evaluation of one's own teaching in relation to knowledge about students' learning in higher education (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, SoTL). Applicants that do not meet the requirements above may for particularly compelling reasons be employed, provided the candidate has described a realistic plan to meet these requirements within two years.

Fieldwork at UNIS is performed year-round in both teaching and research. Experience from fieldwork in remote/Arctic areas and demonstrated experience with field leadership is an advantage. Snow science research at UNIS will contribute to local management, risk evaluation and provide scientific background for field safety decisions for all UNIS. Courses in field safety are provided, and the successful candidate is expected to follow these during the first year, and become able to work independently with students in the field according to UNIS safety standards during the first year.

Applicants for the position must document their qualifications as Associate professor. The minimum requirement for Associate Professor is a PhD degree. UNIS does not evaluate applicants for professorships, but the successful candidate when employed by UNIS, may apply for qualification assessment by the national professor committee.

The candidate will be evaluated based on a) the research plan incl plans for developing field-based research motivated by societal needs, b) the teaching portfolio and plans for how to teach at UNIS and c) the possibility to and plans for creating synergies across UNIS, with the Arctic Safety Center and in the department.

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.

Employment conditions for faculty positions at UNIS

At the present time, sixty percent 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, administration and be willing to contribute to the development of UNIS in a more general sense in addition to take an active part in the advancement of his/her field of research.

The vacant position is a full-time permanent position within the Arctic Geology Department. The employee’s workplace is at present UNIS’ premises in Longyearbyen (Forskningsparken).

All scientific staff are responsible for planning the content of their primary subject and must make all necessary arrangements with external guest lecturers, as well as preparing for, and coordinating, the stays of guest lecturers coming to Svalbard. All faculty members are also responsible for budget compliance and financial follow-up for their primary subject and for providing continuity of contact with the students in their primary course. They must also provide assistance in handling these tasks in secondary courses assigned to them.

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
  • Favorable conditions for sabbatical leave


All salaries are set in accordance with the Norwegian government’s University salary scale, associate professor code 1011.

The salaries are depending on experience/seniority. A social security contribution of 2 per cent to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted from the salary.

Selection and appointment

A scientific committee will evaluate the applications. Based on the report, an internal interview committee will invite the most suitable applicant(s) for a trial lecture and an interview.

The appointment will be made by the Managing director of UNIS based on the recommendation from both committees and an appointment committee. As UNIS would like to increase the percentage of females in academic positions, women are especially invited to apply.

You can request to have your application exempted from public access cf. the open files act § 25. The request must be clearly motivated. UNIS will determine if the application will be exempted from public access or not, based on the terms and regulations of the open files act. If the request is not be accepted, the candidate will be contacted and can decide to withdraw the application.


Inquiries about this position may be directed to:

Deadline for applications is 15. August 2022

Please apply online on www.jobbnorge.no

At the end of the online application form the candidate should attach:

  • An extensive CV including a full list of publications and previously held grants
  • Research plan outline for the next five years, with particular focus on maximizing synergies with ongoing research activity and strengths (max 2 pages)
  • Five publications (authored or co-authored by the candidate) that you want to have evaluated for consideration for appointment to this position
  • Teaching portfolio or similar, outlining a teaching and learning philosophy, teaching experience and own development in teaching and learning*
  • Education, pedagogical or teaching certificates (including a list of previously supervised graduate and PhD students, where applicable)

The committee could ask for further documentation or copies of parts of 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 shows participation in projects related to the development of teaching, such as students active learning, digital learning methods, supervision or/and learning environment


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. 2400 inhabitants and has a good service offering, swimming / sports hall and a varied association, sports and cultural life.

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