PhD position within mid-infrared photonic sensing of food contaminants

Deadline: 31.05.2021

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

NMBU has a particular responsibility for research and education that secures the basis for the life of future generations. Sustainability is rooted in everything we do and we deliver knowledge for life. NMBU has 1,800 employees of which about 250 phd scholarships and 6,000 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 www.nmbu.no.

About The Faculty of Science and Technology

The Faculty of Science and Technology (REALTEK) develops research-based knowledge and educates civil engineers and lecturers needed to reach the UN's sustainability goals. We have approximately 150 employees, 70 PhD students and soon 1500 students. The education and research at REALTEK cover a broad spectrum of disciplines.

This includes data science, mechanics and process engineering, robotics, construction and architecture, industrial economics, environmental physics and renewable energy, geomatics, water and environmental engineering, applied mathematics as well as secondary school teacher education in natural sciences and use of natural resources such as in agriculture, forestry and aquaculture. The workplace is in Ås, 30 km from Oslo.

Do you wish to work in an exciting multidisciplinary team in the field of photonics, data science and food science?

About the position

The Faculty of Science and Technology at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant PhD position related to the use of infrared handheld and portable technology for sensing microbial and chemical contamination in food.

The PhD position is for a period of 3 years, or up to 4 years if teaching or other work duties are agreed.

The starting date for the position will ideally be Aug 15, 2021, but some flexibility is possible.

The PhD position is related to the EU H2020 project PHOTONFOOD - Flexible Mid-Infrared Photonic Solution for Rapid Farm-to-Fork Sensing of Food Contaminants (2021-2024). For more info about the project, please see:

The PhD project will be within infrared photonics sensing for detecting contamination of food and the development of data analysis tools for the obtained spectral data.

Project and supervisor group

Prof. Dr. Achim Kohler, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Volha Shapaval, Dr. Valeria Tafintseva and Dr. Boris Zimmermann at the Faculty of Science and Technology, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås, Norway and Professor Dr. Boris Mizaikoff at Ulm University in Germany.

Main tasks

  • Perform evaluation of handheld and portable infrared devices developed in the PHOTONFOOD project for sensing food contamination;
  • Analyze infrared data obtained by the new devices and develop and apply chemometrics and machine learning methods and correlate infrared data related to food contamination.

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 candidate may need to have research stays at Ulm University for measurements with prototypes developed in the project.


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 Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are at master's degree level. Candidates submitting MSs thesis by 30. June 2021 may be considered. The applicant must have a documented strong academic background from previous studies and document proficiency in both written and oral English. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the NMBU PhD Regulations sections 5, and the supplementary provisions for Science and technology.

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

Required Academic qualifications

  • Master in Physics / Photonics / Analytical Chemistry / Physical Chemistry or similar
  • Fluent English both written and oral

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Experience in working with photonic, sensor and spectroscopic technologies, in particular based on infrared electromagnetic radiation.
  • Experience in multivariate data analysis, such as Principal component analysis (PCA), Partial least squares (PLS), Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA), K-nearest neighbours (kNN), Multivariate curve resolution (MCR), Artificial neural networks (ANN), and Random forest (RF). Experience in usage of data analysis software, such as R, Matlab, Python, the Unscrambler, and Origin, will be considered as advantage. Programming skills are advantageous.
  • Experience with application of spectroscopic sensors for chemical characterization, detection and identification in food or biomedical sciences.

You need to:

Be able to work both independently and in a multidisciplinary research team and needs to describe these skills in the application.

Remuneration and further information

The PhD position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017.

PhD fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 482.200,-) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

Terms of employment are governed by Norwegian guidelines for PhD fellowships at Universities and University Colleges.

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.

Applications should include (electronically):

  • A letter of intent
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Full publication list
  • Copies of degree certificates and transcripts of academic records (all certified)
  • A list of two persons who may act as references (with phone numbers and e-mail addresses)
  • Proof of English proficiency must be attached in accordance with NMBU PhD regulation section 5-2 (3).

Application deadline: 31.05.2021

Publications should be included electronically within the application deadline. Printed material which cannot be sent electronically should be sent by surface mail to the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, within (31.05.2021). Please quote reference number (21/02574).

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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