PhD Research Fellowship -  Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

Deadline: 17.03.2024

PhD Research Fellowship: Towards health promoting prisons?

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".

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 Public Health and Criminal Justice; Towards health promoting prisons? Exploring how prisons affect prisoners’ health, wellbeing and quality of life and co-creating ways of forming healthier institutions. The place of work is Terningen Arena, Elverum. The duration of the PhD Research Fellow 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. In addition, the PhD Research Fellow will be a member of the Critical Public Health Research Group and join four other PhD fellows at various stages of their programme. The Critical Public Health Research Group aim to provide a stimulating and supportive academic milieu within which members with diverse interests and at various stages of their academic careers can come together to share and debate ideas relating to public health and health promotion. Such a context creates a milieu for the development of people and projects towards key institutional goals. The Critical Public Health research group are particularly interested in bringing critical questions to the theory and practice of public health and health promotion in an increasingly complex and, at times, rapidly changing world. Through discussion and debate, members of the group explore new ways of thinking about public health and health promotion, which relate to contemporary social life in a global world.

It is a requirement that the PhD research fellow qualifies for admission to the University's PhD programme in Health and Social Sciences (HELVEL). The final plan of the doctoral education programme 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 research field and content of the fellowship

Project description

Prisoner health and wellbeing and the role of prisons therein is currently a major public health issue in Norway. In particular, there is concern that the Correctional Service is not meeting prisoners’ health, education and welfare needs and thus not adequately discharging its goal of preparing prisoners for their life in the community. This has led to interest in ‘health promoting prisons’, an approach designed to create the conditions for health and wellbeing within the settings of everyday life. There is limited research on the implementation of the concept internationally. Thus, the aim of the project is to explore the possibility of creating evidence-based change within prisons as a basis for becoming a health promoting prison. Participatory action research is used to involve prisoners and staff in co-creation of the research process as well as the development and implementation of ideas for change. A mixed methods longitudinal approach will be used to track prisoners’ health, wellbeing, and quality of life over time and identify associations with various aspects of the prison regime. This will be used to co-create evidence-based change to improve the everyday lives of prisoners, which will be tested out in the prison setting. The project has the potential to contribute theoretical and empirical knowledge concerning how prisons shape prisoners’ lives and what scope there is for change towards a health promoting setting.


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, both at INN, regionally and internationally, 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, §3 master'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 totalling of 90 credits may qualify for admission, provided that the applicant has relevant additional qualifications at PhD or master’s degree level totalling 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 public health sciences, health promotion, criminology, or other relevant social sciences subject
  • Strong research skills with knowledge and/or willingness to learn and apply quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Knowledge of or competence in participatory action research
  • Competence with using relevant computer hardware and software programmes
  • Strong ethical awareness and competence especially in terms of research involving vulnerable groups
  • Knowledge of relevant public health and health promotion concepts such as social inequalities in health, social determinants of health and settings-based approaches to health promotion.

Emphasis is also placed on the attributes identified above in relation to:

  • Good communication skills
  • A good productive work ethic based on sound project management
  • Flexibility in the context of collaboration and independence

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 Norwegian or other Scandinavian language, both oral and written.

Personal competence:

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, and/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:

  • Miranda Thurston Professor of public health, +4762430276
  • Linda Lundsbakken, Head of section of public health, +4762430257

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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