Two PhD scholarships within visitor management and monitoring of protected and recreational areas

Deadline: 31.12.2023

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

NMBU will contribute to securing the future of life through outstanding research, education, communication and innovation. We have the country's most satisfied university students, who receive research-based education in a unique student environment. Our graduates gain a high level of competence in interdisciplinary collaboration and are popular in the labor market. NMBU has internationally leading research environments in several subjects. Together with our partners in society and business, we contribute to solving some of the biggest societal challenges of our time.

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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.

Are you interested in research on protected areas, recreation and tourism?

About the position

The Faculty of Environment and Natural Resource Management at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has vacant two three-year PhD–positions related to visitor monitoring and management.

VIMAS (Visitor Monitoring and Management in protected and recreational areas: new challenges, novel solutions for the Anthropocene) is a new EU HORIZON-MSCA-Doctoral Network. VIMAS will 1) develop new, effective monitoring combining digital and traditional methods, 2) explore how better monitoring contributes to increase social and economic benefits and reduce unwanted environmental impacts and 3) develop new, multidimensional governance-relevant indicators, based on collaborative and participatory principles.

The aim of VIMAS is to provide high-level training in the fields of recreation ecology, geography and conservation social sciences to a new generation of high achieving early-stage researchers to provide them with the scientific and transferable skills necessary for thriving careers within these disciplines. This goal will be achieved by a unique combination of ‘hands-on’ research training, non-academic placements, and courses and workshops on scientific and transferable skills facilitated by the academic/non-academic composition of the consortium.

The VIMAS consortium consists of 7 full partners in 6 European countries, together with 14 academic and non-academic associated partners. A total of 10 Phd candidates will be engaged in the project.

The following two positions are open at Faculty of Environmental Sciences at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU):

  • Position 1. Improving/[Encouraging] human-nature connectedness through monitoring and conserving natural soundscapes. Supervisors: Prof. Øystein Aas (oystein.aas@nmbu.no) and Dr. Rose Keller (rose.keller@nina.no)
  • Position 2. Visitor behavior change through conservation communication. Main supervisor: Prof. Øystein Aas (oystein.aas@nmbu.no)

Applicants are 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 candidates will participate in all phases of the research work from fieldwork to publication. 

The main tasks include:

  • Undertake innovative research in the field of soundscape monitoring and acoustic social sciences (Position 1).
  • Understand and frame the challenges of visitor monitoring and management that may be addressed with an acoustic understanding of place, and human-nature connection (Position 1).
  • Examine the effects of communication strategies (including through social media) to affect behavioural change among different visitor segments to selected national parks (Position 2).
  • Assess the effects on natural resources/conservation values of behavioural change among visitors (Position 2).

All PhD students recruited by VIMAS will be expected to attend a series of training schools in different countries focusing on both scientific and transferable skills training. During the PhD, candidates will undertake planned secondments at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research and with other hosts, and to work closely with the “Sounds like Norway” project.

In addition to the requirements of the doctoral network, recruited candidates must satisfy the local requirements for the fulfillment of a PhD at the host institute.


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, 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:

  • Master’s degree within a relevant scientific field, such as environmental/conservation social sciences, applied studies in tourism/recreation, recreation ecology, or geography.
  • Mobility rule: Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (e.g., work, studies) in the country of the recruiting beneficiary (Norway) for more than 12 months in the last 36 months immediately before their recruitment date.
  • A valid driving license (Class B or equivalent).

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Prior field experience in surveys, interviews, or monitoring preferably within conservation social sciences.
  • Experience with mixed methods research
  • Experience in bio/ecoacoustics, passive acoustic recording equipment, or experience in spectrogram software (Position 1)
  • Experience in, and enjoyment of field work in natural surroundings.
  • Engagement and experience with interdisciplinarity across the natural – social sciences divide
  • Experience with engaging local partners in applied conservation research

You need to:

  • Applicants that are not native English speakers must provide proof of their English language proficiency as established through an internationally recognized qualification system.
  • Have good communication and writing skills.
  • The candidate should be a good team player as well as being able to work independently, efficiently and with dedication.
  • Be highly motivated and show interest and enthusiasm towards the PhD project.
  • Be prepared to spend short periods abroad during secondments to partner institutes within the VIMAS consortium.

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: 31st December 2023

Your CV must be entered in JobbNorge's CV form and not just included as an attachment. This is to be able to comply with the regulations of §15 of the Public Administration Act.

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), clarifying which of the positions you apply for.
  • Complete CV 
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and certificates. (i.e. Diploma, 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.
  • Shortlisted applicants might be requested to submit a 4-5 page project proposal at the next stage.

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