PhD position in spatial planning - sustainable land use of peatlands

Deadline: 02.02.2022

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 five campuses Førde, Sogndal, Bergen, Stord og Haugesund.

Our ambition is to build stronger and more 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. Increased international cooperation and engagement in externally funded projects will work towards this goal.

The Faculty of Engineering and Science has approximately 300 employees and approximately 3,200 students. The faculty has a broad educational offer at both bachelor's and master's level in engineering and science, as well as PhD education in computer technology. The Mohns Center for Innovation and Regional Development researches innovation and offers master's education in innovation and entrepreneurship. The diving education offers a one-year vocational school education.

The main part of the faculty's activities are in Haugesund, Bergen, Sogndal and Førde, but we also offer decentralized education in Stord.

The faculty's activities are internationally based and take place in close collaboration with regional companies, clusters, health trusts 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.

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Engineering and Science, Department of Environmental Sciences has a vacancy for PhD position in spatial planning - sustainable land use of peatlands

About the position:

The PhD position is part of a project titled “RePeat - Rethinking sustainable land use of peatland,” funded by the Research Council of Norway (2022–25). RePeat focuses on the distinctive interaction between land use, climate change and biodiversity in peatlands and addresses conflicting goals in land use planning through investigation of strategically selected development projects. The project approaches complex environmental planning in active collaboration with public authorities and stakeholders, for improved and shared understanding and knowledge.

The PhD will contribute to increased understanding of how we can integrate expert and situated knowledge about sustainable land use of peatlands in planning and management across different levels of government. Core interests target how ecological, economic, social and cultural values and interests influence decision making and how shared understandings can help strengthen social legitimacy in land use planning. The research will use qualitative methods to assess how public authorities reason in planning processes, explain legal inconsistencies in peatland management and explore the potential of collaboration for knowledge integration in planning. The candidate will participate in co-production workshops with practitioners from relevant project partners, contributing with insights from the research.

A full project description will be detailed at the start of the PhD period, in close collaboration between the candidate and the supervisors.

About the PhD project/ work tasks:

The PhD candidate is expected to enroll in the HVL PhD program Responsible Innovation and Regional Development (RESINNREG)—an innovation study program encompassing public sector innovation, green innovation, and industry innovation. It is a prerequisite that the PhD candidate fulfills the admission requirements for the selected PhD program within the first three months of employment.

The PhD candidate will be part of the research group “Landscape, ecology and climate” at the Department of Environmental Sciences, HVL. The PhD is a temporary, three-year position, which can be extended to four years with an additional year of teaching duties at the Department of Environmental Sciences depending on the qualifications and interests of the applicant.

We offer a stimulating, interdisciplinary academic environment, and a team of supervisors located in Sogndal and Kristiansand. The position is affiliated with Department of Environmental Sciences at campus Sogndal, and the successful candidate is expected to have Sogndal as his/her daily working place during the employment period.


Applicants must have a completed master’s degree (120 ECTS) in spatial planning, environmental management, geography, or similar fields, including a master thesis of at least 30 ECTS with grade “B” or better in the Norwegian grading system.

The candidate must demonstrate knowledge of Norwegian environmental management in general and spatial planning in particular, through academic courses and exams, topical integration in master’s thesis or practice experience. Furthermore, the candidate must have experience from using qualitative methods for data collection and analysis.

Scientific publications beyond a master’s thesis will strengthen the application. Considering the nature of the research project (RePeat), we seek candidates willing to work interdisciplinary.

The candidate must be able to work independently, be flexible and self-motivated, and demonstrate good collaborative abilities. Good communication skills in Norwegian (or another Scandinavian language) and English, both written and oral, are mandatory.

Application procedure:

The application must include a short note (max 6000 characters) outlining the applicant’s perception of challenges with integration of environmental knowledge in spatial planning, pointing out knowledge needs, and placing the applicant’s own competence in this picture.

Applicants with an education from outside of Norway must include a certified translation in English (or a Scandinavian language) of their diploma(s) and transcript(s) of grades. Furthermore, applicants with an education from outside of Norway must include an assessment of their education from the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT), confirming that the applicant’s education corresponds in scope and level to a Norwegian master’s degree.

Please see www.nokut.no/en for more information about NOKUT’s general recognition. This may take some time and we recommend you to apply as soon as you know you will apply for this position. If no answer within the application deadline, please enclose documentation from NOKUT that they have received your application.

The following elements will be emphasized in the evaluation of applicants:

  • Academic qualifications within the advertised area
  • Quality of master's thesis
  • Knowledge of Norwegian environmental management in general and spatial planning in particular
  • Demonstrated ability to produce scientific reports, papers and conference contributions
  • Written and oral communication and presentation skills
  • Personal characteristics

Applications will be evaluated by an expert panel of three members.

Applicants are asked to submit their application and CV online. Please use the link “Apply for this job” (“Søk stillingen”).

The following documentation should be uploaded as an attachment to the online application:

  • Master Thesis
  • Copies of selected academic publications (no more than 15)
  • A CV with a complete list of academic publications
  • Diplomas and certificates

Applicants should indicate which publications or parts of publications should be given special consideration in the evaluation. If the documents submitted are not in a Scandinavian language or in English, the applicants must submit certified translations of these. The transcripts must specify the topics, the course works, and the grades at the bachelor`s and master`s degree levels.

Applicants should note that the evaluation will be based on the documentation submitted electronically via Jobbnorge within the submission deadline. The applicants are responsible for ensuring that all the documentation is submitted before the closing date. It is of utmost importance that all publications to be considered in the evaluation are uploaded as an attachment with the application, since these are sent electronically to the expert panel. Applications cannot be sent by e-mail or to individuals at the college.


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

Initial salaries will be offered at grade 54 (code 1017) in the Civil Service pay grade table scale.

There is a compulsory 2 % deduction to the pension fund (see http://www.spk.no 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 State employees Law in Norway ("Lov om statens ansatte)". Organizational changes and changes in the duties and responsibilities associated with the position must be expected.

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.

Short-listed applicants will be called in for an interview.


1) Supervisor and associate professor, Marte Lange Vik, HVL, email: [email protected], tel +47 476 36 552

2) Co-supervisor and associate professor, Mikaela Vasstrøm, UiA, email: [email protected]

3) Head of department, Tarald Seldal, e-mail: [email protected]

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