Ledig stilling på Universitetet i Oslo

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

PhD Research Fellow in Disease Ecology

Deadline: 29.02.2024

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 350 bachelor, 250 master, and 120 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.

About the position

Position as PhD Research Fellow in Disease Ecology available at Department of Biosciences / Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo. Starting date no later than October 1, 2024.

The fellowship period is 3 years.

A fourth year may be considered with a workload of 25 % that may consist of teaching, supervision duties, and/or research assistance. This is dependent upon the qualification of the applicant and the current needs of the department.

Job description

In this project the selected PhD candidate will use mathematical models to study the dynamics of Lyme disease, which is the most common vector-borne disease in the northern hemisphere. Lyme disease is a model system for understanding the establishment and spread of zoonotic diseases, which is currently of major concern due to changes in land use and climate. The bacteria causing Lyme are transmitted by ticks and maintained in the ecosystem through complex interactions with multiple vertebrate host species. This PhD project will expand a recently developed stage-structured epidemiological model for tick-borne disease dynamics developed by the group to address two major gaps in our understanding of Lyme disease ecology:

1) the role of host heterogeneity (for instance individual differences in age, sex and body size) affecting transmission, and

2) the role of temporal variation in host abundance and synchrony among hosts for long-term persistence and prevalence of the pathogen.

Current models of Lyme disease dynamics largely ignore these important aspects of the hosts, and a better understanding of their role in disease dynamics is urgently needed. The candidate will develop the epidemiological models and define specific research questions in collaboration with the team. Main outcomes of interest include whether the pathogen will be established and persist over time, and the predicted number of infected ticks through the seasons. The project will provide new state-of-the-art general modelling tools for understanding and predicting the dynamics and spread of tick-borne diseases and their responses to land use and climate change. The candidate will be included in a dynamical research environment on disease ecology at the Department of Biosciences and involved in collaborations with researchers at other institutions.

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 candidate will be supervised by Yngvild Vindenes, and co-supervised by Atle MysterudHildegunn Viljugrein and Torbjørn Ergon.

Qualification requirements

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences has a strategic ambition to be among Europe’s leading communities for research, education and innovation. Candidates for these fellowships will be selected in accordance with this, and expected to be in the upper segment of their class with respect to academic credentials.

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in Biology, Mathematics, or related field
  • Foreign completed degree (M.Sc.-level) corresponding to a minimum of four years in the Norwegian educational system
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English

Desired qualifications:

  • A background in disease ecology or a related field relevant to the topic of this PhD project, for instance a Msc in quantitative biology, mathematics, epidemiology, or statistics with application to ecological and evolutionary questions.
  • Background and/or strong interest in modeling of ecological processes and disease dynamics. Experience with models of host-parasite dynamics and/or structured population models is an advantage, but not a strict requirement.
  • Experience with programming, e.g. using R.

Candidates without a master’s degree have until 30 June 2024 to complete the final exam.

Grade requirements:

The norm is as follows:

  • The average grade point for courses included in the Bachelor’s degree must be C or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • The average grade point for courses included in the Master’s degree must be B or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • The Master’s thesis must have the grade B or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • English requirements for applicants from outside of EU/ EEA countries and exemptions from the requirements

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

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 here.

Personal skills

  • Good communication skills
  • Good team-working skills and a desire to contribute to a dynamic working environment of the research group and at CEES

We offer

  • Salary NOK 532 200 – 575 400 per annum depending on qualifications and seniority as PhD Research Fellow (position code 1017)
  • Attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement 
  • Vibrant international academic environment
  • Career development programmes
  • Oslo’s family-friendly surroundings with their rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities

How to apply

The application must include:

  • Cover letter - statement of motivation and research interests
  • CV (summarizing education, positions and academic work - scientific publications)
  • Copies of the original Bachelor and Master’s degree diploma and transcripts of records
  • Documentation of English proficiency if applicable
  • 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.

Interviews with the best qualified candidates will be arranged.

Formal regulations

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

According to the Norwegian Freedom and 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.

UiO has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results a.o.

Inclusion and diversity are a strength. The University of Oslo has a personnel policy objective of achieving a balanced gender composition. Furthermore, we want employees with diverse professional expertise, life experience and perspectives.

If there are qualified applicants with disabilities, employment gaps or immigrant background, we will invite at least one applicant from each of these categories to an interview.

Contact information

For further information about the position please contact: Associate professor Yngvild Vindenes, e-mail: yngvild.vindenes@ibv.uio.no 

For questions regarding Jobbnorge, please contact: HR Adviser Nina Holtan, e-mail: nina.holtan@mn.uio.no

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