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PhD Research Fellow in Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Production

Deadline: 28.02.2023

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.

The University of Oslo (UiO) is expanding the activity at Campus Kjeller to strengthen our education, research, and innovation in technology for a sustainable future. UiO is a well-ranked research university where the Department of Technology Systems at Kjeller (ITS) is focused on applied research in sustainable energy, autonomous systems, space, and security.

At Kjeller, ITS is co-located with the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (FFI) and the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE), which both offer rich opportunities for collaboration. ITS also has a range of interdisciplinary research collaborations that include the UiO Blindern Campus and Oslo Science City, as well as many other national and international institutions and industries.

ITS offers several master level programmes, alone and jointly with other departments: Renewable energy systems, Cybernetics and autonomous systems, Robotics and intelligent systems, and Information security. ITS also hosts the Centre for Space Sensors and Systems (CENSSS), which incorporates operation of an instrument on the NASA Perseverance rover on Mars. A new master program in Space systems is in the planning stage.

The department currently has 9 permanent scientific staff, approximately 35 adjunct staff from the research institutes at Kjeller and from industry, as well as about 20 PhD candidates.

This position is part of an ongoing expansion of the UiO activity at Campus Kjeller. Campus Kjeller is located 20 km northeast of Oslo, between the city center and Oslo Airport. It is a 20 minutes commute with public transportation from Oslo city center to the campus.

Position as PhD Research Fellow in in photoelectrochemical hydrogen production is availble at the Department of Technology Systems (ITS).

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

The starting date is no later than October 1, 2023.

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.

More about the position

The available PhD Research fellow position is part of the project FAIR, which is a collaboration between leading research groups in Norway, and international partners in Africa and Italy. The project is set up to address the hot topic challenge related to the deployment of PV technologies adapted to enable direct hydrogen production.

In the frame of the low-carbon economy, green hydrogen produced by water splitting using solar power is one of the most promising energy carriers. The PhD candidate will further develop a novel solid state photoelectrochemical (PEC) cell able to directly produce hydrogen from the atmosphere, addressing the shortage of freshwater supplies for water electrolysis and H2 production in certain geographical regions.

Specific objectives of the PhD project will be:

1. to design and develop the solid-state PEC devices by integrating features such as temperature and gas flow controls, light concentration, external power supplies (e.g. solar cells) etc.

2. to perform PEC measurements in order to study reaction kinetics, ionic transport phenomena, faradaic efficiencies, solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiencies, etc. under laboratory conditions

3. to perform PEC measurements under realistic conditions and through field testing in Ethiopia and Italy

The candidate will be part of a vibrant research group at the Energy Systems section of the Department of Technology Systems (ITS), University of Oslo, interacting with a team of researchers, PhD and master students, and a network of international colleagues.

The PhD candidate will have access to research infrastructures at UiO, and to facilities of the research partners of FAIR, in Ethiopia and in Italy.

Furthermore, the fellow candidate will be part of a national network of PhD candidates through a parallel project HySchool (Norwegian research school on hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels) where ITS is member of the leading team.

Through interactions with the on-going EU project AtLAST, the FME HYDROGENi, and other projects, the research environment of FAIR will offer a unique opportunity to gain competences in a growing field of global relevance.

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 chemistry, physics, materials science, energy, engineering, or related topic
  • Foreign completed degree (M.Sc.-level) corresponding to a minimum of four years in the Norwegian educational system
  • Documented knowledge or research background on hydrogen-based technologies, water electrolysis, electrochemistry

Candidates without a Master’s degree have until 30 June, 2023 to complete the final exam.

Desired qualifications:

  • Competences in synthesis and characterization of inorganic materials for (photo)electrocatalytic energy conversion and green hydrogen production
  • Familiarity with XRD-diffraction, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and electrochemical techniques, such as cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), chronoamperometry/chronopotentiometry etc.
  • Experience with semiconductor physics
  • Ability to write in a structured, clear and concise manner

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 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:

Personal skills

  • The candidate should possess good interpersonal and communication skills and show high level of motivation to work as part of an international team
  • High interest in the topic
  • Critical thinking, attitude for team work and knowledge sharing
  • Willingness to travel abroad for short periods of research to collaborative partners
  • Positive and inclusive attitude to colleagues and students with various backgrounds and skills
  • Ability to work in a structured manner

We offer

  • Salary NOK 501 200 – 544 400 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, transcripts of records
  • Documentation of English proficiency (applies for non-EU citizens)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • 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 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. 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 regarding this position and recruitment process, please contact:

  • Professor Sabrina Sartori, phone: +47 98676975, e-mail: sabrina.sartori@its.uio.no

For technical questions regarding Jobbnorge, please contact:

  • HR Adviser Olga Holmlund, e-mail: olga.holmlund@mn.uio.no

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