PhD scholarship developing simulation tools for managing genetic diversity

Deadline: 30.05.2023

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 Biosciences

The Faculty of Biosciences (BIOVIT) aims to help shape the future food- and bio-production through teaching and research within animal science/biology and sustainable production and use of plants, livestock and fish. The faculty has an annual turnover of approx. 250 million kroner.

The Faculty of Biosciences (BIOVIT) is organized in two departments: Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences and Department of Plant Sciences. The main objective of the Faculty of Biosciences is to contribute to the development of sustainable agriculture and food production systems through basic and applied research on plants and animals including fish (aquaculture). The faculty houses Centre for Integrative Genetics (CIGENE) and the research centre for Research-based Innovation (SFI) - Foods of Norway.

The faculty is responsible for bachelor- and master programmes in Biology, Animal Science and Plant Science, and international master programmes in Genome Science, Agroecology, Plant Science, Aquaculture and Animal Breeding Genetics. PhD programmes include Animal Science and Aquaculture, and Plant Sciences. There are currently 600 bachelor and master students, and 80 PhD students, enrolled in these programmes. The faculty has approximately 230 permanentand temporary scientific employees, including technicians, and administrative positions.

Do you want to manage genetic diversity by developing state-of-the-art computational tools?

About the position

The Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Faculty of Biosciences at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant three year PhD–position related to biometrical genomics.

We are looking for an ambitious student with experience in analysis of genomic data and programming to pursue their career in an ambitious PhD project focusing on the efficient use of genomic data and technologies in the management of genetic variation, studied by in-silico simulations. The aim is to utilise the benefits of high-level programming languages to develop flexible software suitable for in-silico generation of genetic data and test of the (long-term) effects of breeding strategies including gene-editing, methods to predict breeding values, and other genetic/genomic related technologies.

The PhD student will become part of a team developing a simulation tool in Julia. Software development will be done in collaboration with ongoing projects in a team composed of the supervisor group, a resource group and industry stakeholders. The project is linked to on-going projects: 1) Methods to reduce the population genetic load at a predefined rate (Task in H2020 project Rumigen 2021-2026), 2) Implementation of gene edits in an ongoing breeding program (NFR EcoGene 2019-2024) and 3) Gene editing for elucidating gene function and refining genomic selection for CMS resistance in Atlantic salmon (NFR CMSEdit,2021-2023).

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

The PhD project aims to utilise the benefits of the new and efficient programming language of Julia to develop flexible software. The PhD student will become part of a team developing a simulation tool in Julia with a specific emphasis on demonstrating its application through four cases:

  • Developing and validating genetic models maintaining genetic variation, based on complex system biology pathways
  • Contribution of novel mutations to long-term genetic progress and genetic load
  • Forward in time simulations based on real data (pedigree, phenotypes and/or genotypes)
  • Optimised breeding strategies using gene-editing and its impact
  • All four cases are relevant across species in livestock, fish and plants.

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 master degree in breeding and genetics, genome science, computational or statistical sciences or similar. Candidates that are close to completion of their master’s degrees will also be considered.

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Knowledge and preferably experience with analysis of genomic data.
  • Documented skills in programming, particularly in high-level programming languages.
  • Interest in modelling complex biological data.
  • Strong analytical skills

You need to:

  • Be positive to working in teams and coordinate your contributions to project requirements.
  • Have a genuine interest in scientific research
  • Be proficient in English, both written and spoken and have good verbal communication skills

Remuneration and further information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD Fellow. PhD Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 532.200,-) 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: 30.05.2023

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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