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

PhD research fellowship - Include and Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM)

Deadline: 12.02.2023

Universitetet i Oslo

At the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM), we have research expertise in a number of fields, such as development policy, global health, global governance and international policy, rural change, energy justice and sustainable consumption. Our researchers work both nationally and internationally and have regional knowledge of Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.


SUM was established in 1990 as a response to the Brundtland Report, “Our common future”. Today, SUM is one of the few institutions in Scandinavia advancing interdisciplinary research on development and the environment, primarily by combining different social science and humanities disciplines.

Job description

Include – research centre for socially inclusive energy transition and Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM), University of Oslo (UiO), are inviting applications for a three-year PhD research fellowship, with a possible additional fourth year. Include is a research center for socially inclusive energy transitions, consisting of five research partners in Norway and Durham University in the UK. Include works closely with practitioners and has more than 20 user partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors in Norway as well as a few affiliated partners in the UK. Include is hosted by UiO and headed by SUM.

SUM is an international research institution with a well-established track record of undertaking critical, independent and high quality interdisciplinary and policy-related research on the challenges and dilemmas posed by sustainable development.

The PhD candidate will be part of the SUM’s research group on sustainable consumption and energy equity. We invite applications from candidates with a background in the social sciences or humanities, and interdisciplinary experience is an advantage. The candidate must have a keen interest in critically engaging with research on energy and sustainability transformations. The research will focus on Norway but engage with globally oriented questions and challenges.

More about the position

The fellowship period is 3 years with a possibility to extend the period with a fourth year. The research fellow must take part in the University’s approved PhD program and is expected to complete the project within the set fellowship period. The main purpose of the fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a PhD degree.

The PhD will take place within the Include subproject Research for Energy and Sustainability Transformations (RESULTS). RESULTS is a new Thematic Research Group (TRG) of UiO: Energy and Environment that focuses on research gaps on transformation, addressing the question of how to generate transformative changes that are equitable and sustainable. The research group aims to contribute to developing greater convergence and coherence regarding research and initiatives to promote transformations to sustainability, focusing on identifying the key insights from the social sciences and humanities that are critical to transformations, as well as how to align diverse understandings of transformative change to promote convergence and collaboration. The overall objective is to move beyond research-as-usual and contribute to closing the gap between knowledge and action for sustainability.

Specifically, RESULTS focuses on theories of change and this is also where the PhD will be situated academically. There are multiple and often contradictory theories of change underlying research on energy and sustainability transformations. Empirically, the study will focus on departments and representatives from single disciplines and interdisciplinary research environments across the University of Oslo, and the aim of RESULTS is to understand how different theories can speak together to contribute to change by identifying and analysing different forms of disciplinary and transdisciplinary perspectives. The PhD candidate will contribute to designing, conducting and analysing findings from the study.

We invite proposals addressing inclusive energy and sustainability transformations across geographical scales. Specifically, we invite proposals that develop an approach to analysing different theories of change within the broader field of sustainability transformations, how they can be aligned and how they can contribute to societal change. Beyond this, candidates are relatively free in suggesting their approach and focus, and we encourage candidates to come up with one or more specific theories of change they would like to take as a starting point.

Qualification requirements

Candidates must have an academically relevant background typically corresponding to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are obtained at master’s level. In exceptional cases we allow admission based on a one-year master’s degree. Relevant academic fields include – but are not limited to – human geography, development studies, social anthropology, sociology, environmental humanities, gender studies, and political science. Research experience and/or practical work experience with regards to sustainability will be seen as a positive asset.

Further requirements:

  • A or B in your master’s thesis
  • Insights into the broad field of sustainability transformations
  • Proficiency in both written and oral English
  • Knowledge of a Scandinavian language
  • Experience with qualitative research methods

It is an advantage, but not a requirement that candidates have:

  • Insights into the Norwegian empirical context

The candidates will be selected according to the following criteria:

  • The quality, relevance and originality of the project proposal
  • Academic merit (degrees and grades obtained)
  • Relevance of previous academic, professional and voluntary work
  • Experiences deemed specifically beneficial for the project
  • Personal motivation and suitability for the position

Personal skills

  • Ability and motivation to work in interdisciplinary teams
  • Collaboration and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Enthusiasm about contributing positively to the work environment at SUM the research centre Include and the research group sustainable consumption and energy equity

The candidates will be selected according to the following criteria:

  • The quality, relevance and originality of the project proposal
  • Academic merit (degrees and grades obtained)
  • Relevance of previous academic, professional and voluntary work
  • Experiences deemed specifically beneficial for the project
  • Personal motivation and suitability for the position

We offer

  • Salary according to “SKO 1017 PhD fellow”, NOK 501,200 – 544, 400 per year.
  • A stimulating and international research environment with multiple research groups and seminar series
  • A friendly and inclusive workplace allowing for a good work-life balance
  • Access to Norway’s excellent public services and welfare schemes, including generous parental leave provisions and affordable and accessible childcare (including the university’s kindergartens)

How to apply

The application must include:

  • Application letter (max 1,5 pages)
  • Research proposal (max 10 pages including references, see below)
  • CV (summarising previous education, positions and academic work as well as language skills)
  • Copies of educational certificates and two letters of recommendation
  • A list of academic work

The research proposal should specify clearly defined research questions, aims and objectives, a brief description of a relevant conceptual or theoretical framework to answer the research question, a methods section that demonstrates how methods relate to research questions and objectives, a budget, a progress plan, and a list of references/literature sources.

The position is estimated to start by 15th April 2023 at the latest and has a 3 year duration with a possibility to extend the period with a fourth year.

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).

When evaluating the application, emphasis will be given to the eventuelt “project description” and the applicant’s academic and personal prerequisites to carry out the project. 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 appointment may be shortened/given a more limited scope within the framework of the applicable guidelines on account of any previous employment in academic positions.

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

Gitte Egenberg ([email protected]), Head of office, SUM

Dr. Arve Hansen ([email protected]), Research group leader, Sustainable consumption and energy equity, SUM, and core team member, Include and RESULTS

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