PhD scholarship within algal genetics

Deadline: 31.01.2021

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 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 Biosciences

The Faculty of Life Sciences (BIOVIT) aims to help shape the future food- and bio-production of through teaching and research within biology and sustainable production and use of plants, livestock and fish. The faculty has an annual turnover of approx. 250 million kroner. The faculty is organized into nine research sections: Genome biology, Breeding and Quantitative Genetics, Ruminant Nutrition and Physiology, Ethology and Animal Environment, Nutrition and Physiology, Agroecology, Genetics and Plant Breeding, Plant Protection and Food Crops, Pant Biology and Biotechnology. The faculty has seven large and small research centers and laboratories, including a center for outstanding innovation (CFI) - Foods of Norway. The faculty is responsible for bachelor's and master's degrees in Aquaculture, Biology, Animal Science and Plant science as well as English-language master's degrees in Agroecology, Plant Sciences, Feed Manufacturing Technology and Genome Sciences. The faculty is responsible for PhD degrees in animal science and plant science. The faculty currently has about 550 bachelor and master students and 90 PhD students. The faculty has about 220 employees and its own faculty administration.

About the position

The Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Biosciences, at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant three-year PhD–position related to genetics of sugar kelp.

There is an enormous potential for value creation based on kelp production along the Norwegian coast and a strong interest in developing cultivars with improved traits. Globally, cultivation of kelp and other macroalgae is expected to become an increasingly important source of human food, and the production is recognized as being environmentally sustainable. Kelp has a large range of potential uses: human food, animal feed (either directly, as a feed ingredient, or as a resource for yeast production), biochemicals (such as alginate), pharmaceuticals, agricultural fertilizer, and bioenergy. A potential problem with extensive use of kelp for food and feed, however, is the high content of certain minerals, e.g. iodine (I) and arsenic (As). The role and success of selective breeding in both agri- and aquaculture shows that selective breeding is likely to be of high importance for future cultivation and utilization of kelp worldwide, boosting economic and environmental sustainability of marine aquaculture, and creating markets for the aquaculture, processing and breeding industries.

The PhD position is associated with a project funded from the Norwegian Research Council – Breed4Kelp2Feed, which is a collaboration between BIOVIT, Sintef Ocean AS and Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO).

The main goal of Breed4Kelp2Feed is to establish knowledge needed to start selective breeding of sugar kelp, and the two main activities are:

1) manipulation of the life cycle and ploidy levels with the aim of generating sterile production plants that cannot hybridize with natural populations (in order to avoid problems with “genetic pollution” of wild populations), and

2) a short-term selection experiment based on mixed hybridization and phenotypic selection of large individuals (to demonstrate the potential of selective breeding also in kelp, and to obtain genetic information).

The PhD position is linked to the ongoing selection experiment, which involves phenotyping and genotyping (genotyping by sequencing (GBS)) of a large number of individuals with the aim to estimate genetic variance, heritability, genetic correlations between traits, genetic response to selection, and genotype by environment interactions.

The PhD student is expected to go to ILVO in Belgium for a short stay to get training in bioinformatic analysis.

Main tasks

  • Participate in morphological and chemical phenotyping as well as DNA extraction
  • Bioinformatic analysis of genotyping-by-sequencing data
  • Genetic analysis of a natural population of sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima L.) and of material in the selection experiment

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 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

  • Master’s degree and proficiency in English as detailed above
  • Skills at Master’s degree level in genetics

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Skills and experience in quantitative genetic analysis or population genetics
  • Skills and experience with bioinformatics
  • Skills in academic writing

You need to:

  • Be interested in research and highly motivated for completing a PhD
  • Be open-minded and eager to learn
  • Be goal-oriented, accurate, analytical and structured
  • Have strong communication and cooperation 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 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: 31.01.2021

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 Biosciences, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, within31.1.2021. Please quote reference number 20/05399.

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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