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PhD scholarship: Integrating sustainable nature-based tourism and nature conservation

Deadline: 20.10.2020

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 and 5,200 students. The university is divided into seven faculties and has campuses in Ås and Oslo. We will be co-located in Ås from 2021.

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 Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management

The Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA) works with nature and the environment, sustainable use of natural resources, biological and geological processes.

MINA’s employees undertake teaching, research and dissemination within the fields of geology, hydrology and limnology, soil science, environmental chemistry, forestry, ecology, natural resource management, renewable energy, and nature-based tourism.

Our vision is to be a key actor in knowledge production and dissemination, and our goal is to deliver research of high, international quality, and varied and excellent teaching. The faculty’s employees are significant participants within their respective fields of expertise, both nationally and internationally. The faculty is dominated by a vital research culture and high levels of scientific production.

The faculty has about 200 employees, 90 PhD students and 650 students. The faculty has a dedicated group working specifically with nature-based tourism and its linkages to nature conservation and management. The group is responsible for a master program in NBT and includes currently three other Ph.d. students. Taking an applied social science approach to NBT, the group regularly cooperate with ecologists and other scholars, inside and outside the faculty.

Read more about MINA here

Are you interested in research that integrates nature-based tourism and nature protection to achieve a more sustainable tourism sector?

About the position

Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant 3-year PhD–position in nature-based tourism and nature conservation.

Previous studies suggest several ways in which synergies and benefits between tourism and nature protection and conservation can occur.

These might include:

  • Job creation and local economic benefits when tourists seek protected areas
  • Direct economic support for conservation and management of nature
  • Tourists’ experiences and knowledge gained from experiencing unspoiled nature could trigger environmental awareness and political support for protection of species, areas and ecosystems more generally

Understanding the relevant sociocultural, emotional and learning processes that are involved in the relation between tourists, tourism and nature protection, as well as governance arrangements that enhance such synergies are key to work towards more sustainable tourism.

This PhD position, funded by Norwegian University of Life Sciences is dedicated to address one or several of these issues;

  • How can experiences of vulnerable nature be created to increase tourists’ pro-environmental behavior and conservation intentions through political or economic support?
  • For tourists visiting protected areas, what learning processes are best suited to increase synergies between valuable experiences and nature conservation?
  • What policy and governance instruments are most efficient to increase the contribution from tourism to nature conservation?
  • What are the direct and indirect economic effects from tourism in protected areas on local communities, and how do they contribute to biodiversity and landscape protection?
  • How can the tourism – nature protection nexus, including institutional and business structures be strengthened for mutual benefit?

Main tasks

During the scholarship period, the candidate is expected to:

  • Develop a detailed theoretical and methodological plan for the research project
  • Participate in, and complete the course program
  • Implement and conduct data gathering according to plan
  • Analyze data

The successful candidate is expected to submit 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 Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are at master's degree level. 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

  • A completed Master study within a relevant social scientific field or discipline, such as geography, sociology, psychology, economics, social-anthropology, or a relevant multidisciplinary, applied Master study in tourism, natural resource management, conservation social sciences or other relevant university study at the Master’s level.

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Ambitions to pursue a research career
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to be systematic, analytic and creative
  • Previous experiences with academic writing and presentations is a strength
  • Knowledge and skills in one of the Scandinavian languages

You need to have:

  • Writing and speaking skills in English
  • Grade B or above on the Master study

All applicants are expected to submit a maximum 4-page idea proposal as part of their application, based on one or more of the topics listed above.

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 479.600,-) 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: 20th October 2020

Applications should include (electronically) a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, full publication list, copies of degree certificates and transcripts of academic records (all certified), and a list of two persons who may act as references (with phone numbers and e-mail addresses). Publications should be included electronically within the application deadline. The relevant NMBU Department may require further documentation, e.g. proof of English proficiency.

Printed material which cannot be sent electronically should be sent by surface mail to the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural resource Management, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, within 20th October 2020.

Please quote reference number 20/03854.

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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