Ledig stilling på Universitetet i Oslo

Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)
Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)

PhD Research Fellowship in Disease Ecology - Wildlife host parasite dynamics

Deadline: 19.11.2019

Job description

Universitetet i Oslo

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest rated institution of research and education with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. Its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally esteemed research communities make UiO an important contributor to society.

Department of Biosciences (IBV) is one of nine departments at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Research in the department is organised in five sections covering topics within biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology, cell biology, genetics,

aquatic biology, toxicology, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Education across these topics is offered for around 380 bachelor, 170 master, and 75 PhD students. With 52 permanent professors/associate professors, post-docs, researchers, technical, and administrative personnel, the Department has a total staff of 340 from more than 30 different countries. The Department aims to maintain high international standards within both research and teaching. The new bachelor program in bioscience is the first of its kind to include programming and computational modelling as core elements.

Flere stillinger fra Universitetet i Oslo

Position as PhD Research fellow available at the Department of Biosciences, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), University of Oslo (UiO).

Trait-based modeling of host-parasite dynamics in a changing world

Individuals of a wildlife population can vary in a range of traits affecting their life history as well as responses to parasites. Demographic population models are suitable for including such trait variation as well as environmental drivers, and represent a promising tool to study effects of host heterogeneity on outcomes of disease dynamics. For instance, host individuals may differ in exposure to parasite infection through their space use behavior or social organisation, or in the strength and specificity of their immune response. This project aims to bring together recent developments in demographic models, to investigate how key outcomes of host-parasite dynamics depend on the joint impacts of i) individual heterogeneity in host traits affecting vital rates and infection dynamics, and ii) external drivers like temperature or resource level.

Depending on the candidate's specific background and interests, the project will include a theoretical part with development and analysis of demographic models for host-parasite dynamics, as well as a more empirical part modeling the key components of a host-vector-parasite system in Norway (Lyme disease). The successful candidate will develop detailed research questions in close collaboration with the supervisors, and the direction of the project is quite flexible within the general topic and the two project parts.

Regarding the empirical study system, climate warming is currently shifting the distribution of ticks to higher latitudes and altitudes, and the incidence of tick-borne diseases is increasing in Europe and North America. Lyme disease is a notifiable disease in Norway since 1995, which provide a unique database for studies of disease emergence under global change at northern latitudes of Europe. A better understanding of the underlying factors that influence the dynamics of Lyme disease is therefore urgently needed. The predictive models to be developed in this project will be simplified representation of the system including the ecology of the main host groups, the main tick vector Ixodes ricinus, and the main pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (causing Lyme disease), including the response to environmental change. Specifically, the impacts of host heterogeneity are so far not well explored and will be a key focus.

Host institution

The PhD project and training will be based at the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo. CEES provides a stimulating research environment with international and Norwegian scientists working on a variety of theoretical and empirical topics within ecology, evolution, population genetics, genomics, phylogenetics, molecular biology, and statistical methodology. Information about the centre can be found at: www.cees.uio.no

The project also involves collaboration with Dr. Jessica Metcalf at Princeton University, and may include research visits to her lab.

More about the position

The candidate will be supervised by Yngvild Vindenes, and co-supervised by Atle Mysterud and Hildegunn Viljugrein. Collaboration: Jessica Metcalf, Princeton University.

The fellowship is funded by the Department of Biosciences. The position is for a period of 3 years without teaching duties, or for a period of 4 years including 25 % duty work contingent on the qualifications of the candidate and the teaching needs of the department.

Suggested starting date: January 2020.

The purpose of the fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a PhD degree.

Qualification requirements

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences has a strategic ambition of being a leading research faculty. Candidates for this fellowship will be selected in accordance with this, and are expected to be in the upper segment of their class with respect to academic credentials.

Formal qualification requirements:

The fellowship requires admission to the PhD program at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Formal requirements are:

  • The candidate must hold a Master’s degree before admission to the PhD program. MSc degrees completed outside of the Norwegian education system must correspond to a minimum of four years in the Norwegian system.
  • The average grade for courses included in the BSc degree must correspond to C or better in the Norwegian educational system.
  • The average grade for courses included in the MSc degree must correspond to B or better in the Norwegian educational system.
  • The grade on the Master thesis / dissertation must correspond to B or better in the Norwegian educational system.

The fellowship requires admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The application to the PhD programme must be submitted to the department no later than two months after taking up the position.

For more information see:

http://www.uio.no/english/research/phd/ and http://www.mn.uio.no/english/research/phd/

Selection criteria for this particular project:

In addition to meeting the formal requirements for admission to the PhD program, the ideal candidate for this position should meet the following points (applicants are encouraged to explain how they meet them in their application letter):

  • A MSc degree in Quantitative ecology or a related field relevant to the topic of this PhD project, for instance a Msc in mathematics or statistics with application to ecological and evolutionary questions, or in epidemiology.
  • Background and/or strong interest in modeling ecological dynamics. Experience with host-parasite dynamics and/or structured population models is considered an advantage, but not a strict requirement.
  • Experience with programming, e.g. using R.
  • Good communication skills in written and oral English http://www.mn.uio.no/english/research/phd/application/application.html
  • Good team-working skills and desire to contribute to a dynamic working environment of the research group and at CEES.

We offer

  • salary NOK 479 600 – 523 200 per annum depending on qualifications in a position as PhD Research fellow, (position code 1017)
  • attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement, in addition to Oslo’s family-friendly environment with its rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities

How to apply

The application must include

  • Application letter, including a brief explanation of how the applicant meets the selection criteria above
  • A brief account (one page, as a separate file) of the applicant’s interest and motivation for applying for the position
  • CV (summarizing education, positions, academic work, and scientific publications)
  • Copies of the original Master’s degree diploma and transcripts of records
  • Documentation of English proficiency (only for some applicants, e.g. from non-EU/EEA countries, see more info in the link)
  • List of publications and academic work that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee
  • Names and contact details of 2-3 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and telephone number)

The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system, please follow the link “Apply for this job”. Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University's grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English (or a Scandinavian language).

Applicants may be called in for an interview.

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Research Fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo.

According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

The University of Oslo aims to achieve a balanced gender composition in the workforce and to recruit people with ethnic minority backgrounds.

The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results etc.

Contact information

For further information please contact:

For questions regarding the recruitment system please contact:

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