Ledig stilling på Universitetet i Oslo

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

Postdoc in metabarcoding and environmental DNA (Natural History Museum)

Deadline: 08.01.2020

Description of the position

Universitetet i Oslo

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest ranked educational and research institution, with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. With its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally recognised research communities, UiO is an important contributor to society.


The Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo is Norway’s most comprehensive natural history collection. For almost 200 years, specimens of animals, fungi, plants, rocks, minerals and fossils have been collected, studied and preserved here. The museum is located at Økern and in the beautiful Botanical Garden, which is not only popular for recreation, but is a scientific collection in itself.

Flere stillinger fra Universitetet i Oslo

The Natural History Museum is recruiting a postdoc in metabarcoding and environmental DNA for a fulltime four-year position (25 % of which is devoted to required duties). The Natural History Museum (NHM) at the University of Oslo holds Norway’s most extensive collections of animals, plants, and fungi. These natural history collections are invaluable repositories because they enable the scientific community to answer key questions about geographical and temporal variation in biodiversity. As a museum, we seek to be at the forefront of developments in biology and adapt our infrastructure to the needs of science and society today. To develop our position at the cutting edge of metabarcoding and environmental DNA, we are recruiting a researcher for a four-year postdoctoral position. This person enters a vibrant research environment in which five out of eight research groups at the museum apply and develop metabarcoding approaches, including applied work on the authentication of food and medicine, or for molecular biodiversity assessments, as well as to answer ecological or evolutionary questions using aquatic environmental DNA, trophic material, bulk invertebrate and plant samples, soil DNA, and sedimentary ancient DNA.

Traditionally, the museum´s strategy emphasizes the use and collection of individual scientific collections, either through morphological or molecular research. The collection infrastructure requirements of environmental samples calls for a reassessment of our workflows, including physical sample storage, DNA bank storage, in-silico repositories, and reproducibility of analysis pipelines. In recent years, the museum has developed extensive experience in metabarcoding research, and we aim to increase the number of projects in these fields in the near future. The museum aims to strengthen its profile in environmental DNA/DNA metabarcoding by recruiting a postdoctoral researcher with a proven track record of scientific publications, international collaborations, and external funding in this field. The field is broadly defined and we are open to receive applications from anyone making a strong case for themselves, their research profile, and research plans with connection to natural history collections. The postdoc will join the Plant Evolution and DNA metabarcoding group led by Prof. Hugo de Boer, but is encouraged to work with all research groups at the museum.

Current research topics include:

  • DNA metabarcoding of herbal products for authentication
  • Aquatic eDNA monitoring of invertebrates
  • Bulk insect biodiversity analysis
  • Vegetation type assessments using soil eDNA
  • Molecular biodiversity monitoring and restoration ecology
  • Dietary analysis of herbivore interactions
  • Sedimentary ancient DNA from cave sediments
  • Soil core ancient DNA from lake sediments
  • SedaDNA archaeobotany of monastery gardens
  • Wood decaying fungi succession

The museum aims to strengthen its profile in environmental DNA/DNA metabarcoding by recruiting a postdoctoral researcher with a proven track record of scientific publications, international collaborations and external funding in this field. The field is broadly defined and we are open to receive applications from anyone making a strong case for themselves, their research profile, research plans and its connection to natural history collections. This person will join a strong team of scientists with a portfolio of eDNA projects and is expected to contribute significantly to the advancement of scientific research on development and application of environmental DNA/DNA metabarcoding.

We seek an active researcher with a relevant and strong publication record that can collaborate with existing groups and projects as well as develop their own research program. The successful candidate should be on an upward trajectory and is expected to have strong potential to execute competitive research projects at a high international level. They should have the ability to create an attractive research environment and perform research that inspires synergistic effects with current research at the museum. The ideal candidate would focus on using environmental DNA/DNA metabarcoding to study fundamental questions in biology, rather than applying or developing methods. The museum also plays a leading role in postgraduate education in biodiversity and systematics through ForBio – Research School in Biosystematics and the candidate will help strengthening our profile through teaching and supervision of PhD students.

Postdoctoral fellows who are appointed for a period of four years are expected to acquire basic pedagogical competency in the course of their fellowship period within the duty component of 25 %.

The main purpose of the fellowship is to qualify researchers for work in higher academic positions within their disciplines.

Required qualifications

  • PhD in biology, and a research profile with relevant experience in biodiversity assessment using molecular tools, specifically metabarcoding and/or metagenomics.
  • Experience with sampling and experimental design in projects using metabarcoding.
  • Familiarity with different sample types for analyses of bulk samples, aquatic eDNA, faecal DNA, soil DNA, sedimentary ancient DNA and the challenges associated with these samples.
  • Experience with bioinformatic analyses of high-throughput sequence data in metabarcoding/metagenomics.
  • Experience with statistical analyses of metabarcoding/metagenomics data and visualization of results.
  • Excellent English language skills

Desired qualifications

  • International networking skills
  • Proven ability to collaborate beyond the field of your PhD. Team-working skills
  • Communication skills
  • Knowledge of a Scandinavian language

We offer

  • salary NOK 532 300 – 583 900 per annum depending on qualifications in position as Postdoctoral Research Fellow (position code 1352)
  • An inspiring and friendly working environment
  • Membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • A position in an inclusive work life (IA) institution
  • Attractive welfare benefits

How to apply

The application must include

• Application letter, including 1) your interest in this position, 2) a review of relevant work experience and interests, and 3) a description of how this position will fit you and enhance your career development goals.

• CV (summarizing education, positions and academic work - scientific publications)

• Copies of educational certificates, transcript of records and max 2 letters of recommendation.

• 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. 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).

The required submitted documents will be assessed. Language skills will be assessed through the application, and reference to reports, proposals and/or first author peer-reviewed scientific papers. Oral skills can be documented in the CV through talks and seminars. An interview will be used in the appointment process. In the assessment of applicants, emphasis will be placed on the research potential, and then teaching and other academic qualifications, as well as those for management and administration. Personal qualities, such as international networking skills, ability to collaborate, communication skills, team-working skills, and scientific leadership will be emphasized. The quality and extent of the applicant’s scientific production will be assessed, as well as experience in modern research methods and techniques.

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one Postdoctoral Fellow 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 has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results etc.

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

Contact information

For questions about the recruitment system, please contact HR-Officer Thomas Brånå, [email protected], +47 22856374

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