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PhD position in social sciences for fire disaster prevention

Deadline: 10.01.2020

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Engineering and Science has an available PhD position in social sciences for fire disaster prevention

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

With about 16,000 students, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences is one of the largest higher education institutions in Norway. A broad range of academic programmes are offered at Bachelor, Master and PhD levels, spread out on the five campuses Førde, Sogndal, Bergen, Stord and Haugesund.

Our ambition is to build strong and solid academic and research environments that will interact nationally and internationally. The aim is to become a recognized actor on the international higher education arena. We work toward this goal by international cooperation and engagement in externally funded projects.

The Faculty of Engineering and Science has 270 employees and 3200 students. The faculty has a broad education portfolio offered at bachelor and master level in engineering and sciences, as well as PhD education in computer technology. The Mohn center for Innovation and Regional Development researches and offers master programs in innovation and entrepreneurship. The diver training program offers a one-year vocational education.

The majority of the faculty's activities are in Haugesund, Bergen, Sogndal and Førde, but we also offer decentralized education in Florø, Kristiansund and Stord. The faculty's activities are internationally rooted and we work in close collaboration with regional companies, clusters, health enterprises and the public sector, including other institutions in the university and college sector. This applies to research, development, innovation, and not least, education with student projects at all levels.

The Department of Safety, Chemistry and Biomedical laboratory sciences has over 60 employees in full-time and part-time positions including 7 Professors, 17 Associate Professors, 24 Assistant Professors and 8 Engineers. In addition, there are 8 PhD fellows associated with the academic environment at the institute. The department has four bachelor programs and one master program. In Bergen, we have a bachelor program for bioengineering and chemistry engineering. At campus Haugesund we have a bachelor program for fire engineering education and HSE engineering education as well as a master program in fire safety. The department has laboratories with state-of-the-art instrument parks, a broad research activity and close collaboration with many companies in the region.

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Engineering and Science (FIN) has one available position as PhD Research Fellow in social sciences for fire disaster prevention. This is a 100 % position for 3 years. The PhD Research Fellow will be part of the Fire Disaster research group (www.hvl.no/en/research/group/fire-disasters/) at the Department of Safety, Chemistry and Biomedical laboratory sciences at campus Haugesund.

The Fire Safety environment at HVL, campus Haugesund, has a strong focus on fire disaster prevention including risk understanding, fire dynamics and emergency management. The research environments have cooperation with many national and international research groups, national and regional industry partners, and public sector agencies. The current PhD position is allocated to research on prescribed burner groups for Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) fire risk reduction and proactive emergency management for fire disaster prevention.

About the PhD project and research environment

The PhD Research Fellow will be a member of the interdisciplinary project "Reducing fire disaster risk through dynamic risk assessment and management (DYNAMIC)". We are seeking a PhD Research Fellow interested in organizational learning and change with focus on contingency management and fire disaster prevention. There will be given special attention to the Norwegian context, civic farmer groups performing prescribed burning and fire brigades for better risk perception and proactive risk management.

The PhD project will investigate learning processes in prescribed burner groups, fire disaster risk perception in the fire brigades and the possibilities for improved proactive emergency management. The commitment is to intervene with public emergency organizations to enhance proactive emergency management and improved fire disaster risk management. The primary supervisor for this position will be Associate Prof. Maria-Monika Metallinou (emergency management) in collaboration with Associate Prof. Lene Jørgensen (social sciences). A scientific advisory group will also be allocated.

An application for enrolment should first be submitted after an appointment is made. The supervisor(s) will help with this procedure. The candidate must be enrolled as a PhD Research Fellow within 3 months from the start of the employment.

Key duties and responsibilities:

  • Plan and perform research on implementing novel warning systems for increased fire disaster risk perception in public emergency services, with focus on fire brigades
  • Plan and perform research on ways of organizing, success criteria and learning processes in civic groups performing prescribed burning
  • Conduct research, applying relevant methods within qualitative and quantitative studies, assess data, interpret and form conclusions
  • Write scientific manuscripts for national seminars, international workshops, conferences and publish in peer-reviewed journals
  • Travel may be needed as part of the position


  • The PhD Research Fellow should have a master's degree in a relevant field, e.g. societal safety, fire safety or social sciences. Grades should be minimum a B grade on the master thesis
  • In order to communicate with prescribed burner groups and fire brigades, fluency in a Scandinavian language is a requirement for the PhD position

In addition to the required educational background and language requirements, the following criteria will be evaluated:

  • Competence and grades on completed course work in MSc Degree
  • Research and teaching experience
  • Experience from emergency response work

Personal skills:

  • Ability to work independently and in teams, supplemented with regular guidance
  • Good communcation skills, both orally and in writing
  • Ability to work in the field
  • Strong motivation for completing the PhD in the given time frame (2020-2023), and contributing to research within the field

Application procedure:

Please send your resume, CV, certificates and diplomas by clicking the button marked with «Søk stillingen» on this site. We kindly inform you that your application will be assessed by the information entered in www.jobbnorge.no at the application deadline. The applicants are responsible for ensuring that all the documentation is submitted before the closing date, including any scientific work (up to 15 items), complete publication list, certificates and diplomas. If the diplomas, transcripts or other documentation are not in a Scandinavian language or English, the applicant must upload the certified transactions himself. If the attachments exceed 15 MB, they must be compressed before uploading or attaching as a link.

The appointment board is Faculty of Engineering and Science (FIN) at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. Applicants will be assessed by an expert committee. Based upon the expert committee’s evaluation and recommendation, the qualified applicants will be invited for an interview. Applications cannot be sent by e-mail or to individuals at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

We offer:

  • Exciting academic environment with the possibility of competence enhancement and development
  • Good occupational pension, insurance and loan schemes from The Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • Opportunities for physical training within the working hours

The position as PhD candidate is paid according to the Government's salary regulation, in position code 1017, Ltr 54, NOK 479 600.

There is a compulsory 2 % deduction to the pension fund (see http://www.spk.no/en for more information). The successful applicant must comply with the guidelines that apply to the position at any time.

General information:

The appointment will be made in accordance with the regulations for the State employees Law in Norway ("Lov om statens ansatte)".

State employment shall reflect the multiplicity of the population at large to the highest possible degree. Western Norway University of Applied Sciences Bergen has therefore adopted a personnel policy objective to ensure that we achieve a balanced age and gender composition and the recruitment of persons of various ethnic backgrounds.

Information about the applicant may be made public even though the applicant has requested not to be named in the list of applicants. The applicant will be notified if his/her request is not respected. Applicants may be called in for an interview.


1) Associate professor Maria-Monika Metallinou, phone: +47 9885 5104 / 52 70 26 49, e-mail: [email protected]

2) Associate professor Lene Jørgensen, phone: +47 52 70 26 88, e-mail: [email protected]

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