PhD position in grazing ecology (sheep grazing in the boreal forest)

Deadline: 05.02.2023

Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (INN University) is home to over 14,000 students and 1,000 employees, and has campuses in Lillehammer, Hamar, Elverum, Rena, Evenstad and Blæstad.

INN University aspires to build strong and enduring academic and research environments that will spearhead regionally, nationally and internationally.
We are developing a new and better institution with high academic and pedagogical quality, aiming at achieving university accreditation by 2020.

Campus Blæstad is located on a farm in a rural landscape, eight kilometres outside Hamar city centre. Hamar is the largest city in Innlandet County. This part of Innlandet is characterized by varied nature and rich cultural heritage. In addition to the PhD study, which is administrated from Campus Evenstad, Blæstad offers agricultural programs at BSc and MSc levels.

Our vision is "Stronger Together".

PhD Research Fellowship in Applied ecology

About the position

A 100 % PhD position in applied ecology is available at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (INN), Faculty of Applied Ecology, Agricultural Sciences and Biotechnology. The position is financed by The Research Council of Norway (Forskningsrådet) and INN and will run for 3 or 4 years, starting in August 2023. The candidate will be enrolled in INN’s PhD program in applied ecology and biotechnology, with workplace at Campus Blæstad.

About the project

Project description:

Livestock grazing in outlying lands has been an important practice for centuries in Norway since it makes use of otherwise unavailable natural resources in forest and mountain areas available for food production. The use of coniferous forest as pasture for livestock has a long tradition in Norway but faces challenges in a landscape with modern forestry and the presence of large predators.

The PhD student will explore three different silvopasture systems for sheep in the coniferous forest: 1) free‐ranging sheep, 2) sheep inside electric carnivore proof fences, and 3) sheep grazing on fenced clear-cuts. The project includes studies of diet- and habitat selection of sheep, which will form the basis for studies of sheep grazing as vegetation management in forests. The impact of sheep grazing on forestry will be assessed by studying growth in- and damage to young trees in regeneration areas. In each silvopasture system we will perform studies on the importance of grazing for biomass production and the impact on plant communities. The student will collaborate with another PhD student in the project on production and health of sheep in different grazing systems. Since the project deals with issues that concern various stakeholders in the boreal forest, they will participate and give input throughout the project.

In sum, the PhD student will study: 1) Resource selection of sheep 2) Impact of grazing on plant communities and forestry; 3) Health in sheep and lamb production within each system.

The candidate’s main supervisor will be Associate professor Morten Tofastrud. Co-supervisors will be Associate professors Cecilie Dyngeland, Mari Reiten, Olivier Devineau and Professor Svein Solberg (all at INN).


It is a requirement that the PhD research fellow qualifies for admission to the University's PhD programme in Applied ecology. Applicants who already hold a PhD will not be considered.

To be admitted to the doctoral program, the applicant must normally have a minimum master's degree or master's level (120 credits, §3 master's in the Norwegian system) or equivalent education, within agricultural sciences, biology, ecology, environmental sciences , or other relevant subject areas.

Furthermore, you must have a strong academic background from your previous studies, ie. the average grade should normally be B or better from the master's program (120 credits) or equivalent education. Calculation of the average grade is based on the credits for each course and for the master's thesis. Applicants with weaker grades than what is normally required for admission must document that they will be able to complete a doctoral degree. In cases where the education has been approved with the use of the grades passed / failed, the applicant is admitted after an individual assessment. If you have education from abroad, you can contact NOKUT for approval of your education, alternatively a similar assessment will be made in connection with the application process.

Furthermore, emphasis is placed on the following attributes:

The position will require previous experience from relevant fieldwork, statistical analysis of large datasets and GIS. We expect the candidate to be passionate about doing research, and to be willing to develop the skills to communicate this passion with other scientists, farmers and the general public. A further preference will be given to candidates with good teamwork characteristics and communication skills, and documented peer-reviewed scientific publications or other writing experience.

Language proficiency

  • Applicants must be proficient in both written and oral English. Applicants from non-English-speaking countries must document English competence through an approved test (TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

Evaluation of candidates for the position will be based on a total assessment of educational background, experience and personal suitability, as well as motivation and other eligibility requirements, as defined in the advertisement. In addition, the following will be emphasized: quality of the project description, documented independent research and development work or experience relevant to the project.

How to apply

Your application must include:

  • Application letter including a brief account of the applicant's research interests and motivation for applying for the position
  • CV detailing your relevant educational background and experience (registered in Jobbnorge's form).
  • Copies of academic diplomas and transcripts (A certified English translation of all educational documents is required unless the documents are in Norwegian.)
  • A list of publications.
  • The names and contact information for two referees.
  • Any other documentation you would like us to consider.

Attachments must be uploaded as separate files. If the attachments exceed 30 MB, they must be compressed prior to upload. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all attachments are uploaded. Documents submitted after expiry of the deadline will not be considered in the evaluation of your application.

We offer

  • An exciting and challenging position at a developing institution
  • A place in an ambitious and highly international environment.
  • A challenging and exciting project with opportunities for personal and scientific development.
  • An independent and flexible work setting that the successful candidate may to a large extent influence her/himself. Daily contact with inspiring skilled colleagues.
  • A campus setting surrounded by forests and mountains with opportunities for outdoor recreation.
  • Position is paid and placed in position code 1017, PhD candidate in the Government Salary Scale( A paygrade of LT 54)
  • Membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension, with among other things, good pension and insurance schemes.

For more information about INN University as an employer, please see here.

General information

For further details about the position, please contact:

HINN believes that there is strength in inclusion and diversity. We desire employees with different competencies, professional combinations, life experiences and perspectives to contribute to an even better way of solving problems. We will facilitate for employees who need assitance to realise their goals. Relevant adaptations can be, for example, technical aids, adapting furniture or adjusting routines, work tasks and working hours.

If there are qualified applicants with disabilities, gaps in the CV or immigrant background, we shall call at least one applicant in each of these categories for an interview. In order to be considered as an applicant in these groups, the applicants must meet certain requirements. You can read more on this here.

We encourage applicants to tick in Jobbnorge if they have a disability, a gap in their CV or immigrant background. The ticks in the jobseeker portal form the basis for anonymised statistics that all state-owned enterprises report in their annual reports

Information about applicants may be made public even if the applicant has asked not to be named on the list of persons who have applied. The applicant must be notified if the request to be omitted is not met.

Apply for position

Powered by Labrador CMS