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

PhD Research Fellow in gut microbial community genomics

Deadline: 14.03.2021

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.


Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) is a research centre and a section at the Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo. CEES combines a broad spectrum of disciplines (population biology, genomics, statistics, mathematical modelling) to foster the concept of ecology as a driving force of evolution via selective processes, with a corresponding influence of evolutionary changes on ecology. CEES has over 180 members (Professors (20), postdocs/researchers (60), PhDs (35), Master’s students (40) and technical and administrative staff) and many guest researchers. The members represent 30 nationalities and constitute a vibrant and creative research environment. CEES coordinate several international networks. The budget = 170 million NOK (about 55 externally funded research projects). CEES successfully completed its 10 year status of Centre of Excellence (CoE) in 2017.

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

The fellowship will be for a period of 3 years with the possibility to apply for a period of 4 years, with 25 % compulsory work (e.g. teaching responsibilities at the department) contingent on the qualifications of the candidate and the teaching needs of the department.

Starting date no later than 01.06.2021.

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

The candidate will be working as part of the RCN funded project “Antimicrobial resistance gene dynamics in the infant gut microbial ecosystem”. The bacteria in the human gut outnumber the total number of cells in the human body, and these microbes play important roles in health and disease. Establishment of the gut microbiome begins during the birthing process and develops throughout infancy to eventually form a mature and stable ecosystem. The infant gut microbiome is known to act as a reservoir for genes that can confer resistance to antibiotic drugs, and the spread of such genes to pathogens is considered one of the main problems in global public health. However, we still lack basic knowledge of the gut microbiome’s maturation process during infancy. In this project, we will develop detailed models of how the total bacterial gene repertoire of the infant gut microbiome develops over time, with a special focus on how antibiotic resistance genes accumulate in, and spread among, members of the gut bacterial community.

To this aim we will be using a combination of shotgun metagenome sequencing and single-cell and emulsion-PCR-based DNA sequencing approaches. The work will necessarily entail a strong bioinformatics component. A major goal of the PhD position is to will be to explore techniques for associating antibiotic resistance genes located on mobile genetic elements, like plasmids, with specific microbial taxa. Furthermore, it is of great interest to learn more about how such elements may spread in the gut microbial community. The project is a collaboration with Ullevål University Hospital, the University of Birmingham, and the University of Warwick.

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.

We seek a highly motivated and competent candidate, with the following formal qualifications:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in molecular biology/genetics/genomics/bioinformatics (required).
  • Foreign completed degree (M.Sc.-level) corresponding to a minimum of four years in the Norwegian educational system

The candidate should be able to work effectively both in the laboratory and doing bioinformatics, and it is an advantage but not requirement to have experience in the following areas:

  • DNA laboratory methods, including sequencing
  • Microbial ecology
  • Statistical analysis
  • Experience with command line programs and bash
  • Programming and/or scripting languages (Python, C++, R, etc…)

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
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English and a Scandinavian language
  • 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:

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

Personal skills

  • Willingness to work in a team environment, sharing skills and ideas, and collaborating on projects
  • Highly structured and able to work independently
  • Ability to communicate the project to both professionals and the general public through popular media. For this reason, it would be a great advantage with a candidate who is proficient in Norwegian, or another Scandinavian language.

We offer

  • Salary NOK 482 200 – 526 000 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
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Documentation of English proficiency if required
  • 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 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. We also want to have employees with diverse expertise, combinations of subjects, life experience and perspectives. We will make adjustments for employees who require this.

If there are qualified applicants with special needs, gaps in their CVs or immigrant backgrounds, we will invite at least one applicant in each of these groups to an interview.

Contact information

For further information please contact:

For questions regarding the recruitment system please contact: HR adviser Nina Holtan, e-mail: [email protected].

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