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PhD Research Fellow in Evolutionary Biology

Deadline: 20.10.2023

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.

Natural History Museum

Job description

Applications are invited for a position as PhD Research Fellow in Evolutionary Biology available at the Natural History Museum in Oslo (NHM).

The fellowship period is 4 years including 25% duty work that may consist of collection work, teaching, supervision duties and/or research assistance depending on the needs of NHM and the applicant's qualification.

Starting date 15. January 2024, or as soon as possible thereafter.

More about the position

The PhD project is part of the project 'The predictability of population variation on phenotypic diversification in mammals.' The PhD candidate will join the Voje lab within the 'Evolution and Paleobiology' (EPA) research group at the Natural History Museum (NHM) in Oslo. The candidate will become a part of a dynamic research environment, collaborating with other Master's and PhD students, postdocs, and researchers.

The Voje lab's focus is to understand the processes that govern phenotypic evolution across different timescales. Our research encompasses a wide range of taxa, combining empirical work and methodological development to gain a deeper understanding of the link between microevolutionary processes and evolutionary changes over extended timescales (macroevolution).

The goal of the PhD project is to investigate whether intraspecific variation within mammalian lineages play a crucial role in predicting evolutionary differences between mammalian species. The project involves characterizing the phenome of mammalian skulls and post-cranial elements using techniques such as photogrammetry, automated landmark annotation, and geometric morphometrics. Data will be analyzed using evolutionary quantitative genetics and phylogenetic comparative methods. The project will involve species found in Norway/Svalbard (e.g., polar bears, brown bears, arctic foxes, red foxes, gray wolves), and the analyzed materials will be drawn from the Mammal Collection at the Natural History Museum in Oslo, as well as other Natural History Museums in Europe and the US.

The specific tasks for the PhD Research Fellow will include generating 3D models of crania and other skeletal elements from selected mammalian species, utilizing machine learning pipelines for automated landmark annotation and phenotypic data extraction, and conducting statistical analyses to investigate whether within-population variance and covariances predict realized phenotypic changes among species.

Kjetil Lysne Voje will serve as the main supervisor, supported by 2-3 co-supervisors.

Qualification requirements

We seek a highly motivated, enthusiastic, hard-working and competent candidate with good collaborative skills. 

The candidate needs the following formal qualifications:

  • Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Biology with a specialization or clear profile in evolutionary biology/paleobiology.
  • Good communication skills (including written and spoken English)
  • Foreign completed degrees (M.Sc.-level) must correspond to a minimum of four years in the Norwegian educational system

The candidate should have broad knowledge about evolutionary theory. 

It is preferable - but not a requirement – if the candidate has:

  • Experience in statistics and statistical data analysis (experience in using the R programming language is appreciated)
  • Knowledge of tools commonly used in studies of phenotypic evolution, such as quantitative genetics and phylogenetic comparative methods.
  • Knowledge and enthusiasm for research on mammals
  • Experience in photography and/or photogrammetry

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

We are looking for a highly motivated and creative candidate with excellent collaboration and communication skills and the ability to work independently as well as in a team.

We offer

  • Salary NOK 532 200 - 575 400 per annum depending on qualifications and seniority as PhD Research Fellow (position code 1017)
  • An inspiring, dynamic and friendly international working environment membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • Attractive welfare benefits in addition to Oslo’s rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities

How to apply

The application must include the following elements as separate documents:

  • Application letter, which includes an explanation for how the PhD project fit into the applicant’s career plan
  • CV (summarizing education, positions and academic work, scientific publications and other relevant experience)
  • Copies of educational certificates, e.g., copies of the original Bachelor and Master’s degree diploma and transcripts of records
  • List of publications and academic work that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluating committee
  • Names and contact details of 2-3 references (name, affiliation, relation to candidate, e-mail and telephone number). The references will be contacted if necessary. Letters of recommendation are therefore not required for the initial application.

Please note that the application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruitment system. Please note also that all documents should be provided in English.

In the assessment of the applications special emphasis will be placed on the candidate's motivation and personal suitability.

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.

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 appointment may be shortened/given a more limited scope within the framework of the applicable guidelines on account of any previous employment in academic positions.

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

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

General information about the institution:

  • Professor Hugo de Boer (h.de.boer@nhm.uio.no)

About the PhD project:

  • Associate Professor Kjetil Lysne Voje (k.l.voje@nhm.uio.no)

About the recruitment system:

  • HR-Adviser Thomas Brånå (thomas.brana@nhm.uio.no)

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