Ledig stilling på Universitetet i Oslo

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

PhD Research Fellow in modeling permafrost-ecosystem interactions

Deadline: 23.03.2021

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 geosciences are the studies of the planet Earth and its comparative planetology; the atmosphere, the hydrosphere and cryosphere, the Earth's surface and its interior. The Department of Geosciences conducts research and teaching in most of the domains of geoscience; geology, geophysics, physical geography, geomatics, hydrology, meteorology and oceanography. The Department is the broadest geoscience research and education environment in Norway.

The Department encompasses five sections; Meteorology and Oceanography, Geography and Hydrology, Geology and Geophysics, Physics of Geological Processes (Njord centre) and one Centre of Excellence CEED - Centre of Earth Evolution and Dynamics.

The Department aims to contribute to the new and important UN Sustainability Development Goals.The staff consists of 40 professors and associate professors, in addition to postdoctoral fellows, PhD students, researchers, technical- and administrative staff. Approximately number of employees are 240 at the Department.

About the position

A position as PhD Research Fellow in permafrost modeling is available in the Permafrost4Life project at the Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo.

The preferred start date for the position is 1 May 2021.The fellowship period is 3 or 4 years, with 3 years devoted to pursue research towards a PhD degree. Depending on qualifications, the evaluation committee for the position will decide if the candidate can be offered a 4th year. In that case, the position entails a compulsory work load of 25% that may consist of teaching and supervision duties.No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo.

Permafrost4Life is a research project on permafrost in Mongolia, funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN). Together with Mongolian researchers, Permafrost4Life aims for a better understanding of the role of permafrost for ecosystems in Mongolia. In particular, we want to find out how climate and land-use change impact permafrost, and how permafrost thaw affects ecosystem functionality and the water cycle.

The candidate will become part of a research group with currently four PostDocs and PhD students led by Sebastian Westermann.

Job Description

The candidate will apply the CryoGrid permafrost model to investigate the role of vegetation (e.g. forest) on the permafrost thermal regime and the water cycle in Mongolia.

The PhD candidate is hereby expected to extend the capacity of the CryoGrid permafrost model, working closely with the international team of developers. The candidate will test different vegetation schemes in CryoGrid (e.g. a multi-layer canopy scheme already implemented, for Permafrost4Life research sites in Mongolia.Furthermore, the candidate will set up simple hydrological simulations for permafrost-underlain slope-valley systems, using the concept of laterally coupled tiles in CryoGrid. In order to achieve realistic simulations, a variety of field measurements will be used to validate and improve the simulations. The candidate will also take part in longer field campaigns in Mongolia and conduct own observations. Furthermore, the candidate will interact with developers of the Norwegian Earth System Model (NorESM) to contribute to improvements of permafrost-ecosystem interactions in the model. Excellence and independent scientific thinking will be the main selection criteria. Scientific publications in international journals are expected as part of the PhD thesis.

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 Geosciences, Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Computer Sciences, or similar master programs, with a strong background in numerical modeling.
  • Foreign completed degree (M.Sc.-level) corresponding to a minimum of four years in the Norwegian educational system
  • Previous experience with permafrost or Earth System modeling will be regarded positive in the selection process. In particular, previous experience with one or several of the following topics is beneficial:
  • the CryoGrid permafrost models
  • hydrological simulations
  • vegetation and surface energy balance modelling
  • snow process modelling
  • Finally, experience on scientific publishing and field work in permafrost environments is regarded as beneficial.

The successful candidate must further demonstrate:

  • Excellent understanding of numerical models and proven programming skills in MATLAB, Python, C, julia and/or FORTRAN.
  • Evidence of creativity and capability of independent research.
  • Ability and willingness to participate in field work in Mongolia for periods of several weeks, in parts under primitive conditions (e.g. accommodation in tents).
  • Ability and willingness to conduct a research stay in Mongolia.

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
  • English requirements for applicants from outside of EU/ EEA countries

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:



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 experience, scientific publications etc)
  • Copies of the original Bachelor and Master’s degree diploma, transcripts of records
  • Documentation of English proficiency
  • 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 Department of Geosciences offers the opportunity for financing an additional year used for teaching duties (distributed over a 4 years period). If you are interested, the candidate should also provide documentation of teaching experience and a statement of motivation to perform teaching duties.

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.

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 further information please contact:

For questions regarding the recruitment system, please contact HR Adviser Torunn Standal Guttormsen, phone:+47 22854272,e-mail: [email protected]

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