PhD Research Fellowship: Youth in Exclusion

Deadline: 07.04.2024

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 youth in exclusion; a project on youth and service providers

About the position

The Faculty of Health and Social Sciences (INN) hereby announces a PhD position in the fields of social work, child welfare, sociology, anthropology and mental health; Youth in Exclusion: a project on youth and service providers' experiences with exclusion, education and employment. The place of work is Campus Lillehammer. 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 candidate will be a member of the interdisciplinary research group Children and Young People's Upbringing and Socialization (BUOS), which emphasizes cultural and social theory, as well as methodologies from child and adolescent studies. The group's core competence is multidisciplinary cultural and social sciences with a qualitative methodology as the main strategy. Thematically, the group is broad and has participants with academic affiliation in disciplines like sociology, anthropology, but also mental health, sport and social studies. An important aim is to create a strong interdisciplinary interpretive and ethnographically oriented academic environment at the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences that demonstrate the value of researching on and with children and adolescents. Through combinations of basic research and applied research, BUOS aims to uncover how children and young people shape and are shaped by culture, society and institutions, and to use this knowledge to challenge, transform and develop applied measures to strengthen children and young people's life chances and quality of life in the Norwegian welfare state. The PhD project in question will be placed in BUOS's generous academic environment, where students and permanent staff meet regularly to discuss their own and others' manuscripts and projects through critically supportive academic talk.

This doctoral position will be part of an ongoing research project led by Astrid Halsa and Helene Toverud Godø. The candidate will apply for admission to the PhD program in health and welfare (HELVEL). The Ph.D. candidate will be employed at the Department of Social Work and Guidance, in the Section for Child Protection, Social Work, and Social Education, with workplace in Lillehammer. 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 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

This PhD project focuses on youth at risk of dropping out of upper secondary school or being outside the education system or job market. The project aims to explore young people's experiences of exclusion, but also service providers' experiences of working in interdisciplinary collaboration to ensure a dignified life for them in the present and future.

The candidate will be responsible for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting qualitative research material. The project's empirical focus is on how everyday lives of youth are shaped and influenced by structural factors related to completing school and entering the workforce. The primary target group for the project is youth and young adults aged 16-25 who have been, are currently, or are at risk of being outside school, education, and employment. The goal is to analyze youth experiences considering perspectives related to youth agency as addressed in contemporary child and youth studies.

The PhD position is situated in the discipline of child and youth studies, using theoretical tools from the social sciences. It is desirable that the methodological approaches of the position involve ethnographic fieldwork with the aim of understanding exclusion and agency within institutional structures. The project's focus should align with the core areas of child and youth studies in the platform for the new Ph.D. program in health and welfare (HELVEL), where the candidate will seek admission. The project includes the collection, processing, and interpretation of qualitative data, primarily obtained through observation and interviews with at-risk youth and young adults about their experiences with school and the work. It is also expected that relevant service providers in the support system are interviewed (such as teachers, school social workers, follow-up services, employees in NAV or child welfare services) to shed light on experiences of collaboration aimed at youth in the target group.

Central issues in the project may be:

  • How do young people who are not in school or education understand, experience and negotiate the structural and institutional conditions that characterize their everyday life and life situation?
  • How do service providers in the support systems understand and take care of young people's perspectives in a difficult life situation?
  •  How do texts and governing documents create opportunities, challenges and dilemmas for young people and service providers to ensure a dignified life for vulnerable young people?

Applicants can request a preliminary overall project description by contacting the contact person for the announcement.


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 with 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:

  • Master's degree in the fields of social work, child welfare, sociology, social anthropology, or other relevant master's degrees for child and youth studies
  • Strong research skills with knowledge and/or willingness to learn and apply quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Knowledge of and interest in cultural and social science theory and methods, as well as perspectives on children and youth
  • Strong ethical awareness and competence especially in terms of research involving vulnerable groups
  • Experience in ethnographic fieldwork or other qualitative research methods is an advantage

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

  • A good productive work ethic based on sound project management
  • Flexibility in the context of collaboration and independence
  • Experience from social work with children or adolescences
  • Good knowledge of the Norwegian welfare state regime

Furthermore, emphasis is placed on the following attributes:

  • Professional and personal prerequisites for completing the doctoral degree program within the employment period.
  • Good communication skills
  • The ability to work independently and demonstrate good collaborative skills
  • The ability to work in a structured manner and having a large work capacity.
  • Solid theoretical insight and interest.

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. 
  • 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:

  • Associate professor Astrid Halsa, Email: astrid.halsa@inn.no, Phone number +4761288338
  • Head of Section Roald Undlien, Email: roald.undlien@inn.no, Phone number +47 61 28 84 69 / +47 41 43 16 57

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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