PhD Research Fellow - "On your own feet"

Deadline: 17.03.2024

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.

Our vision is "Stronger Together".

PhD Research Fellowship in the field of health promotion

About the position

The Faculty of Health and Social Sciences at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (INN) invites applications for a PhD research fellowship in the field of health promotion; "On your own feet": Lifestyle habits and mental health among first year University students. The duration of the PhD Research Fellowship is 4 years, of which 25 per cent of the time each year comprises required duties associated with research, teaching and dissemination of results. The PhD Research Fellow will join the Section for Public Health, which is part of the Department of Public Health and Sports Sciences. Presence at Terningen Arena, Elverum, is expected in line with both national and INNs regulations for “working from home”.

The PhD candidate will be expected to be an active member of the research group «Technology for health and physical activity». The group is innovative and inclusive, and involves collaboration with several regional, national, and international public and private partners. The research group is primarily located within the section for Public Health at the Institute for Public Health and Sports Science, although the research group also includes members from the Section for Sports and Physical Education, the Institute for Health and Nursing Science, and the Institute for Game Education. 

It is a requirement that the PhD research fellow qualifies for admission to the University's PhD programme in Health and Welfare.

The final plan of the doctoral education must be approved and agreed upon no later than three months after starting in the position. Applicants who already hold a PhD will not be considered.

About the project

"On your own feet" (På egne bein) is a study that has been ongoing since 2021. The study has mapped changes in lifestyle habits and mental health among students moving away from home to begin studies at the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (HINN) or the University of Agder (UiA). Starting studies at a university/university college often involves moving away from home for the first time, thereby leaving one's social circle, caregivers, and daily routines and lifestyles. The transition from family life to independent student living involves increased demands for self-reliance and the establishment of new lifestyle habits, including diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption, sleep, and social networks—all of which are factors that affect our mental health. The project is mainly quantitative, but some additional qualitative data may be included as well and we anticipate that this will be particularly relevant for ensuring end-user perspectives. The overarching aim is to examine changes in lifestyle habits and mental health among first-year students and test a potential intervention to counteract a negative development. This is part of an ongoing longitudinal data collection, and the PhD candidate is expected to assist in this work, from data collection to analyses.

The PhD candidate will be expected to explore the association between the aforementioned variables and mental health and identify baseline factors that may be associated with a negative development in mental health during students first year at a university. The PhD candidate will then use the knowledge to develop a pilot intervention to counteract negative trends among first-year students and other relevant outcomes. Within the given framework and existing data, the main focus of the project can be partially tailored according to PhD candidate's competencies and interests. Contact Head of the Technology for Health and Physical Activity research group Sigbjørn Litleskare for more detailed information about the project.


We welcome applicants with relevant theoretical and practical experience and education. We are seeking a highly motivated candidate who wants to address the educational challenge of completing a PhD in a stimulating collaborative environment. You should have the interpersonal skills to work as part of a team, alongside being willing to show initiative and take on responsibilities yourself. In particular, a PhD requires you to be an independent learner with the capacity and capability of performing demanding tasks within defined time frames.

To be admitted to the doctoral program, the applicant must normally have a minimum Master's degree or Master's level (120 credits, §3master's in the Norwegian system) or equivalent education. Applicants must have a strong academic background as evidenced by their previous studies. The average grade from the Master's program (120 credits) or equivalent education, should normally be B or above.

Applicants with a master’s degree totaling of 90 credits may qualify for admission, provided that the applicant has relevant additional qualifications at PhD or master’s degree level totaling a minimum of 30 credits, or scientific publications after completing the master's degree, or participation in research projects. This provision is in accordance with the Supplementary guidelines for the Health and Welfare PhD programme. 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.

Specific requirements are:

  • Masters degree in sports science, public health sciences or psychology, or other relevant fields. 
  • Extensive knowledge within one or more of these fields: mental health, physical activity, nutrition, sleep, substance use among young adults

Furthermore, emphasis is also placed on the following attributes:

  • Solid theoretical insight and interest.
  • Experience with quantitative analysis
  • Experience with objective measurements and/or quantitative questionnaires
  • Professional and personal prerequisites for completing the doctoral degree program within the employment period.
  • The ability to work independently and demonstrate good collaborative skills.
  • The ability to work in a structured manner and having a large work capacity.
  • Competence with using relevant computer hardware and software programmes

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).
  • Applicants must have excellent communication skills in a Scandinavian language, both oral and written

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
  • Proposed project description of the study (max 8 pages, including references), outlining its academic relevance, methods, challenges and possibilities, and containing a tentative progression plan. The project description must be written in English.
  • 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;

  • Sigbjørn Litleskare, Associate Professor and Head of the Technology for Health and Physical Activity research group; sigbjorn.litleskare@inn.no, +47 62 43 02 18
  • Linda Lundsbakken, Head of Section for Public Health; linda.lundsbakken@inn.no, +47 62 43 02 57/+47 97 04 18 46

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.

Apply for position

Questions about the position

  • Linda Lundsbakken (Seksjonsleder), 97041846, linda.lundsbakken@inn.no
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