Ledig stilling på Universitetet i Oslo

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

PhD Research Fellow in the concept of “Tipping points”

Deadline: 09.10.2020

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.

Department of Biosciences (IBV) is one of nine departments at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Research in the department is organised in five sections covering topics within biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology, cell biology, genetics, aquatic biology, toxicology, ecology, and evolutionary biology.

Education across these topics is offered for around 380 bachelor, 170 master, and 75 PhD students. With 52 permanent professors/associate professors, post-docs, researchers, technical, and administrative personnel, the Department has a total staff of 340 from more than 30 different countries. The Department aims to maintain high international standards within both research and teaching. The new bachelor program in bioscience is the first of its kind to include programming and computational modelling as core elements.

Job description

A position as PhD Research Fellow in the perception and role of tipping points in climate, nature and society is available at the Department of Biosciences and affiliated with the Centre for Biogeochemistry of the Anthropocene (CBA) and UiO:Nordic. The working place will be the Department of Biosciences.

The fellowship will be for a period of 3 years, with no compulsory work or if relevant for a period of 4 years, with 25% compulsory work (teaching responsibilities) contingent on the qualifications of the candidate and the teaching needs of the department. Starting date is no later than January 2021.

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

The fellowship is part of the project “The Ambivalence of Nordic Nature” under UiO:Nordic and co-financed by this program and the faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

The background for the position is that current climate change has critical implications for Earth system processes, many of which remain poorly understood. Avoiding dangerous feedbacks and climatic tipping points requires that humans take deliberate, integral, and adaptive steps to reduce dangerous impacts on the Earth System, effectively monitoring and changing behavior to form feedback loops that stabilize this intermediate state. The question is how we can deliberately work with multiple, interacting feedback loops to help stabilize the climate and avoid further ecosystem degradation. Where are the critical points of convergence? To address this undoubtedly require a convergence of understandings of the relationships between natural and social tipping points.

The PhD candidate will work in a cross-disciplinary team including psychology and philosophy, yet should have the feedbacks and tipping point in natural systems as a point of departure. While Nordic societies are highly educated and have access to knowledge on climate change and climate risks, recent polls indicate a strikingly low public concern and interest in these matters, yet other studies indicate otherwise. This Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences based PhD will thus take feedbacks and potential tipping points in climate systems as a point of departure, use existing polls and discuss societal impacts of this to address linkages between climate feedbacks and societal perception and feedbacks. E.g. does knowledge of the climate risks motivate societal, political and corporate responses? How are these risks perceived? Which type of messages are motivating, and which are demotivating? Will shame in this context motivate or just arise psychological barriers and rationalizing own behaviour? A poll, aided by a professional company, will likely be part of the PhD, but also existing data will be available. The emphasis on the natural or societal aspects of tipping points will depend on the candidates background and qualifications.

The PhD fellow will thus be part of an interdisciplinary team with 2-3 other PhDs and postdocs working on adjacent topics.

Qualification requirements

  • A Master’s degree or equivalent in natural sciences (bioscience, geoscience or climatology) or social sciences related to climate and/or human behavior.
  • Foreign completed degree (M.Sc.-level) must correspond to a minimum of four years in the Norwegian educational system
  • Some knowledge of data handling and statistics analysis
  • Ability and willingness to participate in interdisciplinary research
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English

Requirements for admission to the PhD programme:

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 Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences has a strategic ambition is 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.

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

Creativity and innovation are valued, as is a demonstrated high working capacity, passion for research, and self-motivation. The candidate should expect to work in a highly collaborative team-oriented environment and participate in a wide array of activities related to environmental issues.

We offer

  • Salary NOK 479 600 – 523 200 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
  • CV (summarizing education, positions and academic work - scientific publications)
  • A brief account (one page, as a separate file) of the applicant’s interests and motivation for applying for the position
  • Copies of the original Master’s degree diploma, transcripts of records and letters of recommendation
  • Documentation of English proficiency
  • List of up to 3 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.

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:

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