PhD Research Fellow in Environmental Technology and Process Engineering

Deadline: 15.08.2024

The University of South-Eastern Norway, USN, is one of Norway’s largest higher education institutions, with around 18,000 students and 1,900 employees across eight different campuses.

We offer studies, research and knowledge dissemination, all targeting various professions and working life and with a high level of quality internationally. Our goal as a University is to create value both for the individual student and for business and commerce, the public sector and society in general. We achieve this by utilising the best tools we have: education and research.

USN is a University with a strong social commitment where studies and working life are integrated. At USN, we focus on practice-relevant, profession-oriented and applied research and education.

The students shall benefit from innovative educational methods and challenging studies closely associated with society's requirements and needs. They will learn how to adapt to a society and working life that is constantly changing. The University shall meet major social challenges with knowledge and expertise, helping to promote practical solutions, structural changes and new ways of thinking. USN’s academic activities shall be embodied by a clear dedication to the UN’s sustainable development goals. The University aims to realise this main profile in close cooperation with society and working life.

For more information on USN, please go to 


The Faculty of Technology, Natural Sciences and Maritime Sciences have a vacancy for a position as  PhD Research Fellow in Environmental Technology and Process Engineering

About the position

The Faculty of Technology, Natural Sciences and Maritime Sciences has a vacancy for a 100% 3 year position as PhD Research Fellow in the Department of Process, Energy and Environmental Technology from 01.11.2024. 

The position is located at the Department of Process, Energy and Environmental Technology and reports to the Head of the Department, Prof. Lars-Erik Øi. The place of employment is at Kjølnes Ring 56, 3918 Porsgrunn, Norway.

About the PhD-project

The PhD position aims to develop biofilm-based process technology for producing natural gas grid-quality biomethane. This project will explore various systems, including trickle bed reactors, bioelectrochemical reactors, and combinations of selected biofilm-based reactors. The research will develop methods for cultivating targeted microbial biofilms on different materials, aiming to enhance methane production. Additionally, the project will investigate the interactions between microbes and materials to optimize the overall process. 

Proficiency in some of the following areas will be advantageous

  • Solid knowledge of bioprocess, biotechnology, and environmental technology
  • Biofilm-based bioreactor design, operation and gas fermentation technology
  • Biofiom characterization using microscopy techniques and analytical chemistry
  • Electrochemistry and understanding of microbes-material interaction


Applicants to the PhD position must have a Master’s degree (120 ECTS) or equivalent higher education qualifications in Engineering (Environmental, Process, Chemical, Biological, Biotechnological, etc.) The degree must be accomplished before application deadline. 

The candidate must have the ability to work independently and at the same time have the motivation to share knowledge and take part in team work. Personal suitability for the post will be emphasised. 

It is a requirement that the successful applicant is granted admission to the university’s doctoral programme in Technology within three months of accession in the position. For admission to the Programme the weighted average grade is B or higher is usually required. 

Co-operation between staff members is an integrated part of the working atmosphere at the University of South-Eastern Norway. The candidate must be motivated and demonstrate a proven ability to work effectively within a team and in a collegiate manner to formulate and realise common objectives.

We offer

  • A stimulating and growing research environment, with good opportunities to develop your career and your academic skills
  • A good social environment
  • Attractive welfare benefits in the State Pension Plan
  • Opportunity for physical activities within working hours


PhD Research Fellow (code 1017): NOK 532 200 a year. Further promotion will be based on time served in the position. 

A statutory contribution to the state pension plan will be deducted from the employee’s salary.

Other information

The Academic Appointments Board for PhD Research Fellowships is responsible for the appointment. An expert assessment of applicants will be carried out. The candidates deemed best qualified will be invited to an interview.

The person appointed must comply with the laws, regulations and agreements that apply at any given time to the post. Please note that approved work permit is a prerequisite for the employment.

According to its human resources policy, the University of South-Eastern Norway targets a balanced gender composition and aims to recruit persons with a background as an immigrant.

The University contributes to the Inkluderingsdugnaden (a voluntary scheme to promote inclusion), and it is our aim that our employees, to the fullest extent possible, shall reflect the diversity of the general population. We therefore encourage qualified applicants with disabilities to apply for the post. The University will facilitate the workplace for employees with disabilities.

Pursuant to section 25, 2nd paragraph of the Freedom of Information Act, information on the applicant may be disclosed even if the applicant has requested not be included on the list of applicants. Applicants will be notified if such requests are not allowed.

Contact information

For more information about the position, please contact:

  • Associate Professor Nabin Aryal, Nabin.Aryal@usn.no (+4731009386) 
  • Head of Department, Professor Lars Erik Øi (+4735575141357541) Lars.Oi@usn.no

For questions regarding the recruitment process, please contact:

  • Senior Consultant Amna Zafar, amna.zafar@usn.no

How to apply

The University of South-Eastern Norway makes use of online application management. Applicants to the post must register their application and CV with enclosures online via the Jobbnorge recruitment portal by clicking on the link on the right-hand side – “Søk stillingen” (Apply for the post).

The following documents shall be attached to the online application:

  • Transcripts and diplomas of Bachelor's and Master's Degrees (120 ECTS)
  • Other relevant certificates (if applicable, must be specified)
  • Maximum 3-4 page project description or motivation letter
  • Documentation of English proficiency [if required for the position]
  • Any scientific publications and a list of these
  • Three references (contact information)

Please note that all documents must be in a Scandinavian language or in English. Any translations must be certified.

If your higher education is from a university outside of Norway, we require it to be recognized by the Norwegian Directorate of Higher Education and Skills. You must apply for the recognition before the application deadline for this position expires. Add a receipt on your application or recognition when applying. The recognition must be sent to us and is a requirement for being hired.

The application will be assessed on the basis of the attached documentation as requested above. Each applicant is responsible for ensuring that the required documentation has been uploaded with the application deadline.

The University has been awarded a Charter & Code certificate by the European Commission, and is entitled to use the HR Excellence in Research (HRS4R) logo. The University is also a member of the EURAXESS network, which contributes to good working conditions for mobile researchers.

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