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PhD Research Fellow in Experimental Heavy-Ion Physics

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. 

The research at the Department of Physics covers a broad range of subfields within physics and technology: From space research to medical physics.

A good proportion of the research is interdisciplinary, and conducted in close cooperation with collaborators in Norway and abroad. Education and teaching are other essential activities. We offer a broad range of courses, and the Department is involved in several study programmes at bachelor’s and master’s level. Some of the best lecturers in Norway are amongst our employees, and we are proud of our prizewinning teaching and learning environment. The Department has 200 employees, of which 50 are permanent scientific positions. On a yearly basis 20 students complete their Ph.D. and 50 finish their M.Sc. degree.

About the position

Position as PhD Research Fellow in Experimental Heavy-Ion Physics is available at the Department of Physics.

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

The position is associated with the Norwegian ALICE project at CERN, funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

The high-energy heavy-ion collisions group from the Department of Physics, University of Oslo, participates in the ALICE experiment, one of the four big experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. In 2022 the LHC started the third round of data taking with ultra-relativistic proton-proton (pp), proton-lead (p-Pb) and lead-lead (Pb-Pb) collisions (LHC Run 3). The ALICE experiment had its main upgrades installed for the Run 3 and 4 data taking, which includes greatly improved tracking precision, readout speed and software. These upgrades enable ALICE to record about 100 times more Pb-Pb and about 1000 times more pp collision events compared to the previous data taking campaigns. These will allow precision measurements of rare probes such as heavy quarkonia, charm and beauty hadrons down to very low momentum, heavy-flavour tagged jets, photo-nuclear and photon-photon interactions in ultra-peripheral collisions, etc.

The physics aims of our group are the application of these probes for the characterization of the quark-gluon plasma (QGP) created in nuclear collisions at relativistic energies, and the search for gluon saturation at low Bjorken-x, a fundamental phenomenon predicted by Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of the strong nuclear force.

The ALICE group at the University of Oslo, together with the other Norwegian heavy-ion physics groups are involved in high impact physics data analysis, interpretation and phenomenology, analysis software development and ALICE detector upgrades. The physics analyses focus mainly on the heavy quarkonia and beauty meson production in Pb-Pb and pp collisions plus the photoproduction of vector mesons in ultra-peripheral and peripheral collisions.

The group has a leading role in the development of analysis software and in simulations for the ALICE Forward Calorimeter (FoCal) detector upgrade to be installed in ALICE before the LHC Run 4. The group also foresees joining the ALICE3 project which aims at building a completely new detector to replace the current ALICE detector for the LHC Run 5 and 6.

The main PhD topic for the successful candidate is to carry out physics analysis within the above mentioned areas of research using the Run 3 data. It is highly desirable that the candidate also will be involved in the FoCal or ALICE3 projects by contributing to the simulation or reconstruction software development efforts.

Due to the multidisciplinary aspects of heavy-ion physics research, during the completion of the PhD programme, the candidate is expected to acquire skills on experimental methods in high energy physics as well as on the phenomenology of high energy nuclear physics, which includes diverse fields such as nuclear structure at partonic level, thermodynamics and hydrodynamics. In addition, due to the challenges posed by analyzing very large data samples, the PhD candidate will gain experience in high performance computing, statistical analysis, numerical methods, and machine learning techniques. By participating in the ALICE upgrade projects, the candidate will also develop expertise in particle detection physics and Monte-Carlo simulations.

The candidate will be based in Oslo, but is expected to spend some time participating in data taking and other ALICE activities at CERN and present physics results at international conferences.

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 experimental high-energy physics
  • Foreign completed degree (M.Sc.-level) corresponding to a minimum of four years in the Norwegian educational system
  • A scientific profile of relevance to the Norwegian ALICE physics research programme as outlined above
  • Solid programming skills including competence in C++ and the ROOT software framework employed by the LHC experiments
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English


  • Experience with data analysis and optionally Monte Carlo simulations
  • Experience from working in large experimental high-energy physics collaborations (LHC/RHIC), preferably with ALICE physics analysis projects
  • Experience with machine learning techniques

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

Grade and language 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
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English
  • For candidates who would like to apply for a fourth year including teaching, good knowledge of Norwegian or another Scandinavian language is strongly preferred.
  • 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, creative, and structured 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)
  • 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, previous positions and academic work)
  • Copies of the original Bachelor and Master’s degree diploma and transcripts of records 
  • Documentation of English proficiency
  • List of any 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)
  • Applicants who are interested in teaching need to add to this application a description of their motivation for and (if any) experience with teaching.

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 will be part of the hiring process.

The research area for the position may include technologies referred to in the Ministry's export control regulations and all candidates will be evaluated in accordance with these regulations.

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 please contact:

For questions regarding Jobbnorge, please contact HR Adviser Elin Thoresen, email: elin.thoresen@mn.uio.no

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