PhD position within fish welfare

Deadline: 17.04.2023

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

NMBU's focus is a joint effort for a sustainable future. Our university will contribute to securing the future of life, through outstanding research, education, communication and innovation.

NMBU has 1,900 employees of which about 500 phd scholarships and 6,700 students. The university is divided into seven faculties.

NMBU believes that a good working environment is characterised by diversity.

We encourage qualified candidates to apply regardless of gender, functional ability, cultural background or whether you have been outside the labour market for a period. If necessary, workplace adaptations will be made for persons with disabilities. More information about NMBU is available at


About the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at NMBU is the country's only veterinary professional education and provide expertise in veterinary medicine and veterinary public health. The Faculty educates veterinarians, animal nurses and doctoral students in Veterinary Science and researches in veterinary medicine and related biomedical fields. We have 500 students and 430 employees.

The faculty consists of the departments of Preclinical Sciences and Pathology, Paraclinical Sciences, Production Animal Clinical Sciences and Companion Animal Clinical Sciences. We also run the Animal Hospital, which is closely linked to our research and education, and receives patients from all over the country.

We are seeking you who is interested in fish welfare

About the position

The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has a vacant 3-year PhD–position related to physiology, ethology, and fish welfare. The position is at the Biochemistry and physiology Unit at the Department of Preclinical Sciences and Pathology.

The Atlantic salmon life cycle requires long migrations and periods of strenuous swimming. Given the exceedingly active lifestyle of wild Atlantic salmon, it is not surprising that swimming exercise has been found to be beneficial for this species. However, how beneficial is it? In the current project, we will explore how increased exercise may help salmon cope with stress and pain.

The PhD candidate will contribute to the team’s efforts to gain a deeper understanding of biological mechanisms related to increased exercise in salmonids that have the potential to increase the welfare of captive fish.

The work requires that the candidate is able to spend time both in Bergen and Gothenburg (Sweden) where some of the work will be conducted.

The PhD project (funded by NMBU) “Fish welfare: links between stress, pain, and exercise” is a multidisciplinary project which combines imaging, histological, molecular biology, neurochemical, and behavioral analysis approaches to gain a deeper understanding of the beneficial effects of exercise training in salmon.

The applicant is made aware that an application for a PhD position at NMBU is at the same time an application for admission to a PhD programme at the institution. The documentation that is necessary to ensure that the admission requirements are met must be uploaded as an attachment.

Main tasks

  • Design and execution of experimental studies on salmon.
  • Conduct ethogram-based behavioral analyses of salmon.
  • Laboratory work: molecular biology (analyses of gene expression, RNAseq), hormone analysis (ELISA), histological analysis (immunohistochemistry), neurochemistry (HPLC), and advanced imaging (fluorescent and confocal microscopy).
  • Disseminate results in scientific publications and presentations.
  • Disseminate results to the general public in relevant popular science channels.

The successful candidate is expected to enter a plan for the progress of the work towards a PhD degree during the first months of the appointment, with a view to completing a doctorate within the PhD scholarship period.


The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD programme at NMBU. The applicant must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year master’s degree or a cand.med.vet. degree, with a learning outcome corresponding to the descriptions in the Norwegian Qualification Framework, second cycle. The applicant must have a documented strong academic background from previous studies and be able to document proficiency in both written and oral English. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD Regulations and the relevant PhD programme description.

The applicant must document expertise and interest in the research subject.


Required Academic qualifications:

  • Relevant education at master’s degree in biology (e.g. molecular biology, physiology, ethology, ecology or biochemistry) or a degree in Veterinary Medicine.
  • Good written and oral communication skills in English.

The candidate which finishes their education within the spring of 2023 can also apply but must provide documentation of their degree before employment.

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Experience with salmonids, both behavioral and experimental, such as sampling and laboratory work.
  • Relevant experience of working with fish.
  • Experience/training in scientific writing.
  • Experience in using R, python or similar programming languages for bioinformatics or statistical analyses.
  • Interest and curiosity in salmon biology.
  • High ability to familiarize yourself with new scientific topics.
  • Good written and oral communication skills in Norwegian or other Scandinavian language.

Personal qualities

You need to:

  • Be able to work independently and in groups.
  • Be flexible and be able to do some of the work outside NMBU, when necessary.
  • Have good communication and collaborative skills.
  • Have a strong motivation for scientific work.
  • Be patient and work accurately.

Remuneration and further information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD. Fellow. (Pay grade 54 – 65) NOK 501 200 – 604 400. Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 501 200) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

Employment is conducted according to national guidelines for University and Technical College PhD scholars.

For further information, please contact:

Information for PhD applicants and general Information to applicants


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 17.04.2023

In the application, the candidate must confirm that information and documentation (in the form of attachments) submitted via the job application can also be used by NMBU in a possible admission process.

Applicants invited for an interview are expected to present original diplomas and certificates.

The following documents must be attached to the application:

  • Motivation letter (maximum 1 page)
  • Complete CV
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and certificates. (i.e. Di-ploma, transcript. Diploma supplement for both bachelor and master). Diplomas, transcripts and diploma supplements that are not in Norwegian or English must be uploaded in the original language. An English translation of these documents must also be attached.
  • Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement, or a similar document, which describes in detail the study program and grading system.
  • Documentation of proficiency in written and oral English in accordance with NMBU PhD regulation section 5-2 (3).
  • Names and contact details for two references.
  • Additional relevant documentation of professional knowledge (for example, list of scientific works). If it is difficult to judge the applicant’s contribution for publications with multiple authors, a short description of the applicant’s contribution must be included.

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