Postdoc - SEMPER

Deadline: 01.10.2023

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

With about 17,000 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 Education, Arts and Sports has four departments with staff in Bergen, Sogndal and Stord. This Faculty is one of the largest teachers training institutions in the country with around 6 630 students and a staff of 553, offering kindergarten teacher training, primary and secondary school teacher training for Classes 1-7 and 5-10, practical pedagogical education and Bachelor’s, Master's and PhD programmes.

The faculty will offer an extensive programme of continuing and further education. Research activities at the Faculty are organised into research programmes and research groups.

Postdoctoral Fellow

At the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences there is a temporary vacancy for one Postdoctoral Fellow within the research project SEMPER at the Faculty of Education, Arts, and Sports.

About the position

At the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) at the Faculty of Education, Arts, and Sports (FLKI), Sogndal campus, there is a temporary vacancy for a postdoctoral fellow within the research project SEMPER - Self-Efficacy in Mathematics, Pathways in Education and Research.

The postdoctoral fellow will work in the research project SEMPER alongside experienced international and Norwegian researchers, PhD candidates, and master’s students at HVL. The position will be thematically related to the development of students’ mathematics self-efficacy and performance and/or on teacher-student interactions that support this development.

The faculty has three research centres, five research programs, and 50 associated research groups. Further descriptions of research as the faculty may be found here.

SEMPER is a collaboration project with the University of Oxford, the University of Stavanger, and the field of practice in Sunnfjord municipality, financed by the Research Council of Norway from 01.09.2023 - 31.08.2027.

The primary objectives of SEMPER are to develop knowledge regarding lower secondary school students’ learning processes in mathematics, and to assess the effect of a professional development intervention-pilot on teachers’ differentiated instructions and students’ trajectories in mathematics. The postdoctoral fellow is expected to work within the following secondary objectives:

1) determine individual differences in students’ trajectories of self-efficacy and the cyclical relationship between self-efficacy and performance experiences, as well as key individual and group level factors associated with these processes,2) determine the relationship between teacher-student interactions and the development of students’ self-efficacy and performance trajectories as they learn new topics in mathematics.

Within these objectives the following themes will be particularly relevant: Research on students’ mathematics learning processes, including their self-perceptions, performance, and cognitive attribution of their performance experiences. Classroom research, including observations of teacher-student interactions, considering, e.g. emotional support and instructional support.

Multiple data sources will be collected through SEMPER, including self-report questionnaires (completed by the students), systematic classroom observations, mathematics tests, and interviews (with students and teachers). Additional types of data could be considered, however, the burden these may have on the participants must be considered, and balanced with the added value they would provide for the project.

A more detailed description of the SEMPER project is available, and candidates for the position are encouraged to use this as a starting point for designing their project description. The description can be accessed by contacting the project PI (karin.street@hvl.no).


The position is two years. In addition, the candidate is expected to apply, through SEMPER, to the Research Council Norway for a one-year international stay at one of the institutions SEMPER collaborates with. A successful application would mean an extension of the position for one year (to a three-year position in total).

The workplace is HVL, on the Sogndal campus, Norway. The fellow will be a part of a research milieu within pedagogy and/or mathematics didactics. The primary objective of the appointment of the postdoctoral fellowship is to qualify for work in top academic positions, to strengthen and sustain a research milieu with high ambitions, and to ensure high scientific qualification through international publications. The postdoctoral fellow is expected to complete the project within the three-year period.

The desired starting date is 01.01.2024, or according to agreement.

Areas of responsibility and work tasks:

The postdoctoral fellow will work within the research project SEMPER on data collection and management, analysis, publications, and presentations. SEMPER will draw on various sources of data and analytical approaches, and it is desirable if the candidate can bring in special expertise and supplementary methodological skills.

As postdoctoral fellow you are expected to:

  • contribute towards data collection and analyses
  • contribute toward project organisation and collaboration with the project partners, including the field of practice
  • contribute to supporting PhD students and master students in SEMPER
  • publish (sent for review) at least five scientific research articles in international journals
  • publish at least two of these at level 2
  • Co-publish with the SEMPER research group and international partners
  • Contribute towards knowledge exchange through presentations at conferences and workshops

In addition to work within the SEMPER project the fellow is expected to collaborate with other participants in the project and actively participate in networking activities. The activity should result in publications written together with project participants or alone, published in international peer-reviewed journals. The postdoctoral fellow is expected to be first or collaborating author on at least two publications per year, with at least one of them at level 2. Furthermore, the fellow must expect some traveling in association with data collection /field work. Finally, the postdoctoral fellow is expected to apply to the Research Council Norway for a one-year international research visit, which would start during the second year of the appointment. A successful application would mean an extension of the position for one year (to a three-year position in total).


Essential selection criteria:

Obtained a doctoral degree within a subject area relevant to the SEMPER project. This could include pedagogy, educational psychology, mathematics education, or special education. Applicants with a doctoral degree from within other subject areas who can document strong expertise within the relevant themes of the call, e.g., through the focus of the PhD thesis, may also be considered qualified.

  • The candidate must be able to document a strong background in working with quantitative data and analyses.
  • The applicant must have high competence in English, written and spoken. High competence in Norwegian (B2 or higher) is an advantage, but not a requirement for the position.

The application must contain a separate appendix with a description of up to five pages (in addition to the bibliography) of a proposed project outline for the fellowship within the framework of SEMPER. The project outline needs to contain a plan for progress as well as a plan for articles. To be formally qualified for the position, the candidate needs to display independence and the ability to formulate a relevant PhD project within the framework of and based on the SEMPER project in this proposal. The project outline should be written in English.

Desirable selection criteria:

Among candidates who fulfil the qualification requirements listed above, the following criteria will be used to rank candidates:

  • Experience from previous research projects
  • Scientific publications beyond the PhD thesis
  • Experience with quantitative analyses relevant to the project (e.g., factor analyses, path analyses, growth modelling or other multilevel analyses) and data management programs (e.g., SPSS, Mplus, or R)
  • Experience with systematic observation (e.g., CLASS from Teachstone, or similar observation manuals)
  • The scientific quality and thematic relevance of the project proposal
  • Experience from the Norwegian educational system, for instance through teaching or research activities
  • Teaching- or research- experience from schools in general

Personal characteristics:

The applicant must have good collaboration and communication skills, the ability to work both independently and in teams, and be able take initiative and be flexible. High awareness of research ethics is a necessity, as well as good organisational skills. The candidate must be personally suited for the position.

During assessment, the primary emphasis will be placed on the candidate’s qualifications in relation to the SEMPER themes in general, with a focus on the quality of the doctoral thesis and other scientific works submitted. During the assessment process we will emphasise the candidate’s motivation, research potential, independence, collaboration skills, and personal suitability. Experience with knowledge exchange and /or from organisatorial experience can also be included in the assessment.

Stillingskategorien postdoktor er regulert av Forskrift om ansettelsesvilkår for stillinger som postdoktor, stipendiat, vitenskapelig assistent og spesialistkandidat, fastsatt av Kunnskapsdepartementet 31.1.2006 med heimel i Universitets- og høgskulelova. §1-4.

Application procedure:

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:

  • Proposal for a project outline for the qualification work based on the main project
  • Copies of selected academic publications (no more than 5)
  • A CV with a complete list of academic publications
  • Diplomas and certificates

The applicant shall submit proposals for a project outline for the qualification work based on the main project.

The project outline should be up to 5 pages including references, progress and publication plan (font size 12, Times New Roman and line spacing 1). It shall be written in English.

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 coursework, and the grades at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels.

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

Applicants whose education is from a country other than Norway must also attach a certified translation of the diploma and transcript of grades to English or a Scandinavian language, if the original is not in any of these languages. It is required that the applicant enclose a review from NOKUT as to whether the education is of a scope and level that corresponds to the level of a Norwegian degree.

Please see www.nokut.no/en for more information about NOKUT’s general recognition. This may take some time and we recommend that you apply for the recognition as soon as you know you will be applying for this position. If you do not receive an answer from NOKUT within the application deadline, please enclose documentation from NOKUT that they have received your application.

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 email or to individuals at the university.

We offer

  • 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 of the Act relating to state employees in Norway (Lov om statens ansatte). Organisational 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. The 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.

Employment relies on the condition that you are granted a work and residence permit.


  • Head of Deparment Jan Helge Kallestad, +47 55 58 59 43, Jan.Helge.Kallestad@hvl.no
  • Project PI Karin Elisabeth Sørlie Street, +47 57 67 61 58, karin.street@hvl.no

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