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Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Earth and Planetary Sciences

Deadline: 29.02.2024

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 Planetary Habitability (PHAB) is a Norwegian Centre of Excellence that provides a stimulating and well-funded research environment. PHAB’s main goal, based on detailed studies of Earth and our solar system, is to develop predictive models to identify habitable planets around other stars. PHAB research activities comprise three interrelated research themes: (1) Planets and Early Earth, (2) Modern Earth and (3) Exo-Earths. The centre was established in 2023 and will consist of approximately 70 full time and part time professors and researchers, PhD Research Fellows and Postdoctoral Research Fellows.

About the position

Position as Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Earth and Planetary Sciences available at Centre for Planetary Habitability at the Department of Geosciences in collaboration with the Natural History Museum at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Oslo (UiO).

Starting date as soon as possible but no later than August 1, 2024.

The appointment is a fulltime position and is for a period of three years.

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

Job description

At the Natural History Museum (NHM), University of Oslo (UiO), we are to establish a Mars Sample Return (MSR) Analogue Sample Library (ASL) of terrestrial sample materials relevant for the MSR Campaign directed jointly by ESA and NASA. Several sets of analogue rocks have been sampled already and more will be collected. 50% of the position will be dedicated to cataloguing, distribution, and curation of the samples to enable detailed analysis, and characterization of the physical properties, petrography, and mineralogy of samples for the purpose of MSR as well as to foster science using these analogues.

The remaining 50% is related to research utilizing the MSR ASL and in support of the MSR goals. Research could comprise either (1) improving the spectral interpretation of data of the sampled lithologies collected by Perseverance or (2) developing and testing new analytical methods relevant for the science goals of MSR to be performed in future on the returned samples. Projects utilizing multispectral characterization of analogues for the purposes of understanding aqueous and crustal processes recorded in sampled lithologies are welcome. The project could utilise results from PTAL (www.ptal.eu) for well characterised mineral mixtures. Testing of applicability of new techniques or improving understanding of challenges and limitations that laboratory techniques will face when working with MSR samples should address the geological objectives proposed for MSR (e.g., iMOST report, Beaty et al., 2019).

The candidate will work closely with Agata M. Krzesinska, Axel Müller, and Stephanie C. Werner.

The main purpose of a postdoctoral fellowship is to provide the candidates with enhanced skills to pursue a scientific top position within or beyond academia. To promote a strategic career path, all postdoctoral research fellows are required to submit a professional development plan no later than one month after commencement of the postdoctoral period.

It is expected that the successful candidate will be able to complete the project in the course of the period of employment.

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.

  • Applicants must hold a degree equivalent to a Norwegian doctoral degree in Planetary Sciences, Remote Sensing, Geosciences, Physics or other related quantitative disciplines.
  • Doctoral dissertation must be submitted for evaluation by the closing date. Only applicants with an approved doctoral thesis and public defence are eligible for appointment.
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English.

We seek a candidate who has a background in studying the mineralogy of planetary surfaces by means of remote sensing or laboratory techniques suitable for cutting-edge analysis of returned samples.

Desired qualifications:

  • Proficiency in mineralogy and/or petrology and/or physical rock properties.
  • Knowledge of standard planetary science and analytical data archives and formats, including those used by the ESA Planetary Science Archive (PSA).
  • Experience with the study of mineralogy of Mars by spectral analysis of surface mineralogy (e.g., NIR, LIBS, Raman) or mastering analytical technique applicable for development of novel approaches to address MSR questions (e.g., tomographic techniques).
  • Experience with terrestrial analogues for Mars materials.
  • Knowledge of the Mars and the sample collection by the Perseverance rover.
  • Experience with interdisciplinary research projects. 

Personal skills:

  • Independent thinking, creativity, leadership, and mentoring abilities
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills 
  • Ability to create and contribute to a well-functioning, inclusive and productive research environment
  • Strong quantitative and analytical skills

We offer:

  • Salary NOK 575 400 – 657 300 per annum depending on qualifications in position as Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (position code 1352)
  • Attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement
  • Professionally stimulating working environment
  • Vibrant international academic environment
  • Postdoctoral development programmes
  • Oslo’s family-friendly surroundings with their rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities

The application must include:

  • Cover letter (max 1 page statement of motivation, summarizing scientific work and research interest)
  • CV (summarizing education, positions, curatorial and databasing experience, administrative experience, other qualifying activity, and career breaks if relevant)
  • A research plan related to the above described research focus (up to 2 pages)
  • Copies of educational certificates, academic transcript of records
  • A complete list of publications and up to 5 academic works that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee
  • Copies of educational certificates, academic transcript of records, including a copy of the PhD diploma or an official statement on the certified date of the successful defence (not award) of the PhD
  • Names and contact details of 2-3professional 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).

In assessing the applications, special emphasis will be placed on the documented, academic qualifications, as well as the candidates motivation and personal suitability. Interviews with the best qualified candidates will be arranged.

Formal regulations:

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Oslo.

If an applicant has applied for and been granted funding for a fulltime research stay abroad while being employed as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, the employment will be prolonged with the equivalent time as the research stay, but for no longer than of twelve months ( thus extending the employment to a maximum of four years)

According to the Norwegian Freedom and 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 a.o.

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 persons:

For further information about the position please contact: Stephanie C. Werner, email: stephanie.werner@geo.uio.no

For questions regarding Jobbnorge, please contact HR Adviser Ole Rustad, email: ole.rustad@mn.uio.no

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