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PhD Research Fellow within the fields of language, literacy and mathematical development

Deadline: 01.08.2023

Universitetet i Oslo

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest ranked educational and research institution, with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. With its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally recognised research communities, UiO is an important contributor to society.

CREATE (Centre of Research on Equality in Education) is an interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence funded by the Research Council of Norway and the Faculty of Educational Sciences. CREATE’s objective is to generate novel knowledge about how to reduce inequalities in education.

Job description

Applicants are invited for a three to four year fulltime position as a PhD Research Fellow at the University of Oslo, Norway. The intended starting date is January 1, 2024.

The position has a double affiliation with the Centre for Research on Equality in Education (CREATE) and the Department of Special Needs Education.

CREATE is an interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence funded by the Research Council of Norway with the objective to generate novel knowledge about how to reduce inequalities in education, see web site. The interdisciplinary centre integrates researchers with substantive expertise from education, psychology, sociology, economics, and genetics, and methodological expertise from educational measurement, psychometrics, econometrics, statistics, and biostatistics. The PhD fellowship is affiliated with CREATE’s research strand 1 «Identifying the barriers to equality in education».

The Department of Special Needs Education offers a Bachelor’s degree in special needs education and five special education majors (speech and language therapy, hearing, language and communication, specific learning difficulties, psycho-social difficulties, and developmental disabilities) at the Master’s level, in addition to an international Master’s program (Master in Special Needs Education). The department’s lab, Oslo Special Education and Learning Lab (Oslo SpeLL) offers an excellent possibility to incorporate research, innovation and student activities into a clinical context.

More about the position

The PhD fellow is expected to pursue quantitative research in line with the aims of CREATE’s research strand 2: 1) to develop and examine effects from reliable, durable, and educationally meaningful interventions addressing the barriers to equality in skill development, and 2) to design theoretically oriented experiments to examine the causal mechanisms that operate in interventions. CREATE focuses on oral language, literacy (reading and writing), and mathematics as fundamental skills critical to educational success. To achieve the above aims, the PhD fellow is expected to work on existing longitudinal data as well as participate in the development and execution of new experiments and intervention studies. As part of the work on the intervention studies, the PhD fellow is expected to contribute to the administration and implementation, including the development of assessment tools and intervention materials and the coordination of research assistants. 

The PhD fellow is expected to work with the interdisciplinary team on in strand 2 of CREATE, and will have the opportunity to define and pursue their own research interests within the scope of CREATE’s research aims.

This is one of two PhD positions in Strand 2 where we seek the same kind qualifications. The only difference between the two positions is where the research fellow will do the teaching (either at the Department of Education or at the Department of Special Needs Education) if the position is extended to four years. We strongly encourage applicants for this position also to apply for the other PhD position in Strand 2 (see announcement).

Further information about the position and CREATE’s research program can be obtained from Acting CREATE director Prof. Arne Lervåg, a.o.lervag@iped.uio.noProf. Janne von Koss Torkildsen (Strand 2 leader), j.von.k.torkildsen@isp.uio.no

The research fellow must take part in the faculty’s approved PhD program and is expected to complete the project within the set fellowship period. The main purpose of the fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a PhD degree.

For more information, please see our web site.

The appointment is a fulltime position for a period of three years. If there is a good match between the candidate’s competence and the teaching needs at the Department of Education the position may be extended to four years, 25 percent of which are devoted to teaching, supervision, and research assistance.

Qualification requirements

Applicants must satisfy the requirements for admission to the faculty´s PhD programme. 

This normally includes:

  • Applicants must hold a Master´s degree or equivalent in a field relevant for the research project (e.g., special needs education, education, psychology, cognitive science, language sciences or a related field)
  • A Master’s degree (120 ECTS) with a minimum grade B (ECTS grading scale) or equivalent. The Master’s degree must include a thesis of at least 30 ECTS, with a minimum grade B
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English and Norwegian (or another Scandinavian language)
  • Experience with quantitative data and assessment of children’s language, literacy and/or mathematical skills.
  • Additional desirable skills (or motivation to acquire them) include knowledge of advanced statistical methods and tools, data management and open science procedures, experimental methods, and/or psychometrics.

In the assessment of applications, emphasis will be placed on:

  • The quality of the project description, the description of the research topic’s relevance to strand 2 of CREATE’s research program, the specific problems to be studied, the choice of scientific theory and method, and the proposed implementation plan for the study
  • The applicant’s experience, personal suitability and motivation for the post, including their ability to collaborate and to form part of a cross-disciplinary academic community
  • The applicant’s academic attitude and motivation with regard to completing the research training program

Personal skills

  • A collaborative, friendly, and team-oriented work style
  • Ability to join interdisciplinary academic communities
  • Ability to focus and work independently
  • Ability to work with children and educators

We offer

  • Salary NOK 532 200 - 575 400 per annum depending on qualifications in a position as PhD Research fellow, (position code 1017)
  • An interdisciplinary and international work environment, nationally recognized as a Centre of Excellence
  • Attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement, in addition to Oslo’s family-friendly environment with its rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities

How to apply

The application must include

  • Cover letter (1 page, incl. a statement of motivation)
  • Project description (approximately 5 - 7 pages, including a short summary of research gaps, research questions the candidate regards relevant to pursue, theoretical and methodological approaches, and a progress plan for the PhD). Please see our guidelines.
  • CV (summarizing education, positions, publications and other relevant academic work)
  • Copy of the Master´s thesis
  • Copies of educational certificates (academic transcripts only). Foreign applicants must attach an explanation of their grading system
  • Documentation of English proficiency (for information on required documentation, see information on this web site)
  • List of reference persons: 2-3 references, including the supervisor of the Master's thesis (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and phone number)

Incomplete applications will not be assessed.

Please note that all documents should be in English (or a Scandinavian language).

The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system, please follow the link: “Apply for this job”. Short-listed candidates will be invited for an interview.

When evaluating the application, emphasis will be given to the project description and the applicant’s academic and personal prerequisites to carry out the project.

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Research Fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo.

According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

The appointment may be shortened/given a more limited scope within the framework of the applicable guidelines on account of any previous employment in academic positions.

The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results etc.

Inclusion and diversity are a strength. The University of Oslo has a personnel policy objective of achieving a balanced gender composition. Furthermore, we want employees with diverse professional expertise, life experience and perspectives.

If there are qualified applicants with disabilities, employment gaps or immigrant background, we will invite at least one applicant from each of these categories to an interview.

Contact information

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