Postdoctoral research fellow within food microbiomes and PhD candidate within dairy science & technology

Deadline: 12.03.2021

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 Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science

The Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science (KBM) employs about 160 people. Currently about 50 PhD students are enrolled into our PhD program. KBM represents a broad range of scientific fields encompassing basic natural sciences such as microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry as well as the application of these towards food chemistry, technology and safety, biotechnology, bioprocessing and environmental issues. The Faculty is responsible for education, research and information within our fields of expertise and also has state-of-the-art instrumentation to perform research within these fields. KBM collaborates in networks and research projects both nationally and internationally.

Further information here.

How to take production of sustainable high-quality milk and dairy products up to the next level?

About the position

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science (KBM) and the faculty of Veterinary Medicine (VET) has two vacant positions; one PhD candidate and one postdoctoral fellow connected to and mainly financed by the projects “CLOBIO: Clostridia and other microbiota in raw milk and milk products: importance for product quality and food safety” and “GoatSCC: High somatic cell numbers in goat milk – influence on product quality”. CLOBIO and GoatSCC are both granted by the Research Council of Norway (RCN):

The 3-year post-doctoral researcher position at KBM and VET is in the field of Food microbiology, focusing on novel techniques for characterisation of milk microbiota using sequencing and bioinformatics methods.

The research work will be conducted in the “Dairy Science and Food Quality (DSFQ)” and “Food Safety” research groups at KBM and VET, respectively. The postdoctoral fellow will mainly work within the project “CLOBIO” but will also on other ongoing projects at KBM focusing on microbiota/bioinformatics on dairy samples.

The 3-year PhD project in the field of dairy science should focus on milk microbiology, chemistry and cheese technology. The project will be connected to and supervised by the DSFQ research group. The candidate will work within the projects “CLOBIO” and “GoatSCC”. The overall aim of GoatMilkSCC is to study how milk microbiota and SCC affects milk quality in terms of rennet coagulation properties and cheese quality

Main tasks

Major tasks include:

Postdoctoral project

Specific tasks will be bioinformatic analysis of sequencing data of milk and cheese microbiota and whole genome sequencing of bacterial isolates. In addition, microbial work such as DNA isolation, studies of bacterial sporulation and germination behavior, and microscopy analyses will also be performed:

  • Generation of microbiota and whole genome sequence datasets
  • Bioinformatic analysis of sequencing data
  • Bacterial isolation, identification and characterization.
  • Studying formation and germination properties of clostridial spores.
  • Writing of scientific articles

PhD project

The task for the position within CLOBIO is to study the influence of different clostridia species on the quality of dairy products, i.e. cheese and milk powders. The task within GoatSCC is studies on goat milk quality focusing on milk protein composition (quantification by i.e. capillary electrophoresis) and activity of selected enzymes (enzyme assay kits and quantification with LC-MS) derived from somatic cells.

Specific tasks:

  • To study the influence of spore formers on cheese and milk powder production.
  • To make cheese and milk powder in the dairy pilot plant (FoodPilotPlant Norway)
  • Analysis of proteins in milk and cheese using protein analysis and proteomic techniques.
  • Analysis of the activity of selected enzymes derived from somatic cells.


The PhD/post-doctoral position should qualify for work in high-level scientific positions in research institutes and academia. The following is required:

Postdoctoral fellow:

Required academic qualifications

  • PhD degree in microbiology, bioinformatics, molecular biology or food science, with documented experience in the generation and analysis of datasets from next generation sequencing.
  • Good research performance during PhD documented by high quality scientific publications.
  • Proficiency in oral and written English language and preferably a Scandinavian language.

Required and desired experiences and skills

To qualify for the position the applicant must demonstrate experience and skills within three or more of these fields

  • Experimental work in bacterial culturing and molecular microbiology.
  • Good knowledge of at least one programming language
  • Library preparation for next generation sequencing and bioinformatics
  • Nucleic acid extraction from complex matrices
  • Bioinformatics processing and microbial composition analysis from short amplicon and shotgun metagenomics sequencing.

PhD fellow

Required academic qualifications

  • Master’s degree in food science with specific emphasis on dairy science (see below regarding requirements for admission to the PhD program at NMBU).

Required Experiences

  • Practical experience with dairy processing
  • Practical experience with milk protein analysis
  • Good academic writing skills

Desired experiences

  • Experimental work with cheese making
  • Experimental work in molecular microbiology.
  • Experience with food chemistry
  • Experience with chromatography and proteomic analyses

The successful applicant must meet the requirements for admission to a PhD programme at NMBU. The applicant must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year Norwegian degree programme (300 ECTS), where 120 ECTS 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 supplementary regulations for the KBM PhD programme.

We are looking for candidates who are ambitious, curious and motivated to work in a strong research environment.

The ideal candidates will combine the following personal qualities:

  • Curious and genuinely interested in scientific research.
  • Independent and hard-working
  • Creative and ambitious
  • Accurate with good practical skills
  • Good social and collaborative skills

We expect that the candidates will successfully publish research findings in high-impact peer reviewed journals. Applicants must be proficient both written and spoken, in English, and preferably in a Scandinavian language.

Remuneration and further information

PhD student: 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.

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

Postdoctoral Fellow: The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1352 Postdoctoral Fellow, wage framework 24 (salary grade 59-77) (NOK 526.000 – 744.600), depending on qualifications. Seniority Promotion in position.

For further information, please contact:

  • Professor Siv Skeie ([email protected]) tel. +47 67232552 at the Dairy technology and food quality research group at KBM,
  • or Associate Professor Marina Aspholm ([email protected]) at the Food Safety Unit at VET

Information for PhD applicants and general Information to applicants


To apply online for these vacancies, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above to be directed to the University's Web Recruitment System. Please note, before completing the online application form you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in.

Application deadline: March 12th 2021

For the postdoctoral position: Up to ten publications selected by the applicant as most relevant must be attached to the application. In multiple-author publications, the applicant should clarify his/her contribution to the work.

Printed material which cannot be sent electronically should be sent by surface mail to Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Biosciences, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, within March 12th 21).

Please quote reference number 21/01065 Applicants invited for an interview will be asked to present verified copies of diplomas and certificates.

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