PhD scholarship within ecology

Deadline: 01.03.2021

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 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.

Read more about MINA here

3-year PhD position on climate change effects in high-Arctic Svalbard reindeer

About the position

The Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant 3-year PhD position within ecology. The PhD work will be an integral part of the project “Understanding climate change impacts in an Arctic ecosystem: an integrated approach through the prism of Svalbard reindeer” funded by the Research Council of Norway (2021-2024).

Terrestrial Arctic ecosystems are natural laboratories to study the effects of climate change, because of their simplicity and fast rate of warming. In Svalbard, reindeer are a keystone species directly affecting lower trophic levels (plants and parasites) and indirectly higher trophic levels (carrion for Arctic fox). Two decades ago, we published what became a textbook study reporting that reindeer were strongly food limited but regulated by gut parasites. The doubling of the reindeer population size since then presents a puzzling paradox. The overall aim of this PhD-work is to solve this paradox by seeking out potential mechanisms for the possible loss of parasite regulation.

This work will involve 1) capturing wild Svalbard reindeer and treating them with anthelmintic drugs and monitoring their subsequent reproductive success relative to untreated, control animals, 2) set up and run a field experiment to monitor survival of free-living parasite larvae, and 3) investigate if the flora of gut bacteria has changed over time, and if this has affected the ability of reindeer to tolerate or suppress parasites.

The PhD student will work in close collaboration with ecologists at University of Tromsø (Prof Audun Stien), parasitologists and immunologists at Moredun Research Institute, Scotland (Dr. Fiona Kenyon), and with geneticists and microbiome experts at Centre of Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, University of Oslo (Dr. Pål Trosvik).

The starting date for the positions will ideally be June 1, 2021, but for the right candidate, both earlier and later starts may be negotiable.

Main tasks

  • Implement and conduct data gathering in the field summer and winter on Svalbard
  • Statistical analyses and modelling of individual- and population level consequences of parasites
  • Writing articles for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals
  • Presenting research findings at scientific conferences.
  • Collaboration with other team members (master students, a newly employed Post Doc, and established research partners).
  • Participate in, and complete the course program

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.

For this position, we are looking for an individual with a background in ecology or parasitology. The candidate must have strong quantitative skills and, preferably, experience in using the statistical software R (as this is the common analytical platform for the researcher team) and field work experience.

Required Academic qualifications

  • Master’s degree within a relevant scientific field, such as ecology or parasitology
  • Field work experience
  • Experience with statistical analyses, preferably using the statistical programming language R

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Documented scientific writing skills
  • Knowledge of parasitology
  • Lab work experience

You need to:

  • Be motivated to work as part of a team.
  • Be committed to endure field work under challenging conditions in Svalbard
  • Have a strong willingness to work analytically for the duration of the doctoral project
  • Have grade B or above on the Master study
  • Have very good writing and speaking skills in English

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 482.200) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

For especially well-qualified applicants, alternative salary placement may be considered

Employment is conducted according to national guidelines for University and Technical College PhD scholars.

For further information, please contact:

Information for PhD applicants and 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: 01.03.2021

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 Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA), P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, within 01.03.2021. Please quote reference number 21/00250

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.

Apply for this job

Powered by Labrador CMS