Associate Professor: terrestrial vertebrate zoology / ecology

Deadline: 28.02.2023


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 terrestrial zoology. The department currently consists of three professors, four associate professors, nine adjunct professors, 11 Ph.D./postdocs and three technical/administrative staff. The department conducts research and education in Arctic marine and terrestrial biology and delivers 23 courses at bachelor, master and Ph.D. levels. The department focuses on an integrated approach to High Arctic biology and field studies and field safety are important considerations in all education and research.

Research at the department revolves around three themes, i) Climate change biology, ii) Seasonal ecology, and iii) Spatio-temporal dynamics of species and systems. Teaching has an emphasis in the department which has the deputy chair of the SFU (Centre for Excellence in Education) bioCEED initiative.

Additional information about the department can be found at www.unis.no.

Description of the vacant position and qualifications

We seek candidates with a strong research background in the ecology of high latitude/altitude terrestrial vertebrate fauna. Relevant candidates should be highly motivated and can demonstrate the capability to develop a research portfolio on high-Arctic ecosystems in relation to the three strategic research themes of the Department of Arctic Biology.

Applicants must have:

  • good taxonomic knowledge of elements of polar terrestrial vertebrate fauna
  • proven track record and quantitative skills in terrestrial spatial ecology, such as species distribution modeling, spatial prioritization, or movement ecology
  • experience of field-based methods and approaches
  • motivation and vision to develop research across trophic levels, such as plant-herbivore interactions
  • understanding of the population dynamics of biological systems and quantitative methods
  • research and fieldwork experience from the Arctic or high-latitude terrestrial ecosystems

Advantageous attributes:

  • expertise in other fields such as winter processes, variations in space and time, environmental management
  • research experience with organism groups from a variety of trophic levels.
  • experience of field leadership.
  • well established national and international network in Arctic terrestrial fauna research
  • interest in developing novel teaching methodologies with special attention to field-based teaching
  • experience with course development and administration, especially fieldwork components

The appointee is expected to build a strong independent research programme in their field that integrates with the broader research in the Department of Arctic Biology. Opportunities and ability for collaboration with other staff members will thus 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.

Interdisciplinary studies with the other science departments at UNlS are encouraged.

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 have well documented teaching experience at different academia levels and formal pedagogic training.

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/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. The reflection 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.

Early career applicants or applicants for other particularly compelling reasons for not met the requirements above, are encouraged to apply. The employment contract for the successful candidate will then state that the requirements have to be met within three years.

The candidate must demonstrate evidence of high-quality research and teaching, and will be evaluated based on research pian and the possibility to create synergies in the department. Applicants for the position must document their qualifications as full or associate professor. The minimum requirement for Associate Professor is a PhD degree.

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 in 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 8 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 trial lecture and an interview. The appointment will be made based on the recommendation from the scientific and the appointment committee. Applications from applicants qualified as full professor or associate professor will be assessed and ranked as two independent groups.

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

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.

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, outlining a teaching and learning philosophy, teaching experience and own development in teaching and learning*
  • 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 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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