PhD position in in Applied Ecology and Biotechnology

Deadline: 14.03.2024

Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (INN University) is home to over 16,000 students and 1,500 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 2025.

The Evenstad campus is located at the heart of Østerdalen in Stor-Elvdal municipality, approximately 20 km south of the town of Koppang. The campus has a pleasant and inclusive study and academic environment, as well as scenic surroundings.

At Evenstad, we offer programs in applied ecology, forestry and wildlife management at BSc, MSc and PhD levels.

Our vision is "Stronger Together".

Are you our new colleague?

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 will run for 3 years, starting in September 2024. The candidate will be enrolled in INN’s PhD program in Applied Ecology and Biotechnology, workplace at Campus Evenstad.

About the project

Project description

The PhD position is associated with the project Genetic variation, climate and sustainability - Are reindeer equipped to handle the perfect storm? (EQUIP; Project leader Anna Skarin, SLU, Sweden, 2023-2027) and the project “Animal welfare, behaviour, health and sustainability – the effects of feeding on reindeer and reindeer herding (WelFed; Project leader Morten Tryland, INN, 2021-2025).

Reindeer herding in Norway and Sweden is facing major challenges, such as climate change, loss of pastureland and predation. As a mitigation, herders are increasingly feeding their animals, which may create cultural challenges, changed animal behavior and altered exposure to (new and emerging) diseases. At the same time, and with some variability, the reindeer herds in Norway and Sweden have a poor calf production. About 87% of sexually mature females deliver a calf, whereas up to 50% of their calves are lost during the first year of life, including a peak in late summer when they are normally not challenged by restricted food availability or harsh weather conditions. A low calf percentage can be due to critical winter conditions and predators but may also be a result of abortions due to pathogens that are known to cause poor reproduction, or pathogens that may affect calves in more subtle ways, making them less fit for the winter challenges.

This PhD project will focus on infection biology affecting the pregnant female, her unborn calf and calves in early stages of life. Samples will be collected from live animals from three herds of semi-domesticated reindeer in Norway and three herds in Sweden as well as from slaughterhouse-derived materials.

The candidate’s main supervisor will be Professor Morten Tryland. Co-supervisors will be Postdoc Kayla J. Buhler (INN). Other co-supervisors may be allocated. The PhD candidate will be part of a research team with two other PhD students working on reindeer health and diseases. The PhD project will be further developed by the candidate together with the supervisor team.


 It is a requirement that the PhD research fellow qualifies for admission to the University's PhD programme in Applied ecology and biotechnology. 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 veterinary medicine, biology, ecology, biotechnology, 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

There is a requirement that the candidate has: 

  • Collaborative skills with the ability to develop a network and at the same time being capable of working independently.
  • The candidate needs to be results-oriented and have a strong motivation for successfully carrying out a PhD within the given time frame of three years.

Desired experience and skills

  • Experience in a related subject matter including but not limited to infection biology, livestock, wildlife and reproduction.
  • Experience with working in the field with animal related projects, animal handling etc.
  • Experience with sample collection and laboratory work (e.g., microscopy, ELISA, PCR, sequencing, phylogeny).
  • Experience with data handling and statistics (e.g., software program R).
  • Scandinavian language skills count positively due to stakeholder involvement.

Further preference will be given to candidates with good teamwork abilities and communication skills and documented 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.

The position and associated tasks must be carried out in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations for government employees, including also the Act on Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology, etc. Candidates who, after assessment of the application and attachments, come into conflict with the criteria in the latter act, will not be able to take up the position at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. Necessary approvals must be maintained throughout the employment relationship.

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
  • Position is paid and placed in position code 1017, PhD candidate in the Government Salary Scale
  • 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:

  • Professor Morten Tryland, email: morten.tryland@inn.no

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 assistance 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.

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