Ledig stilling på Universitetet i Oslo

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

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Marine biodiversity and Machine Learning

Deadline: 15.08.2022

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 350 bachelor, 250 master, and 120 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

We offer a postdoc position at the University of Oslo, Department of Biosciences (IBV), Section for Aquatic Biology and Toxicology, within the research project "Coastal ecosystem dynamics under anthropogenic pressures" funded by The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The position is one of 4 positions to be employed within this highly collaborative and interdisciplinary project.

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

The appointment can be for a period of 3 or 4 years. For a 3-year fulltime appointment, 10% of the time is devoted to required duties, usually in the form of teaching activities. For a 4-year fulltime appointment, 25 % of the time is devoted to compulsory work (e.g. teaching responsibilities at the department). A 4-year appointment will be contingent on the qualifications of the candidate and the teaching needs of the department.

Postdoctoral fellows who are appointed for a period of four years are expected to acquire basic pedagogical competency in the course of their fellowship period within the duty component of 25 %.

Project description

This position is part of a collaborative marine research and training program with a focus on the Skagerrak, Kattegat and Oslofjord (SKO) region to improve marine sustainability and our understanding of the pelagic ecosystem and food-web dynamics in the coastal zone where land and open sea meet. This program aligns with UN sustainability goals considering that the declining fish stocks in SKO will be under scrutiny, as well as the multiple anthropogenic stressors affecting water quality, human recreation and marine life. The project is interdisciplinary, joining a range of key institutions (University of Oslo, Norwegian University for Life Sciences, Norwegian Institute for Water Research, University of Agder, Institute of Marine Research, Norwegian Meteorological Institute) and is embedded in the ongoing strategic institutional SKO initiative. The SKO program at UiO comprises the Departments of Biosciences, Geology, Mathematics and Informatics, and three more people are being recruited in this project.

For this specific position, we will use extensive marine biodiversity data produced by high-throughput sequencing, such as metabarcoding and metagenomics data with corresponding environmental metadata from thousands of samples. These massive datasets, available through public databases and our own collections, comprise sequence information covering the three domains of life and multiple trophic levels from marine coastal systems. This training data will be used to develop classifiers for environmental health assessment, and models to predict tipping points and alternative trajectories of marine biodiversity responses to multiple stressors, as well as model invasive species distributions. Such model predictions are needed to design conservation efforts to dampen marine biodiversity loss, and thus stabilize marine destruction in coastal marine systems.

Job description

Complex interactions among species and species with their environment require novel modelling approaches that allow predictions of marine biodiversity under anthropogenic impacts. In this highly collaborative project, the successful candidate will perform classification and regression tasks over complex and noisy systems using decision tree-based machine-learning (regression trees, boosted regression trees, and random forests) and neural networks. The candidate will use existing research and monitoring data and citizen science based sample acquisition for sequencing based exploration of marine biodiversity (including all domains of life and trophic levels from primary producers to top predators). The candidate is also expected to develop machine learning methods for best practice predictions of marine biodiversity, i.e. species dynamics of invasive species, alpha and beta-diversity responses, to be used for ecosystem health assessment and policy making. Additional tasks include to train models using high-dimensional biodiversity and associated metadata with the aim to predict biodiversity scenarios under different anthropogenic stressors, and identify transitions and alternative trajectories in biodiversity. The candidate will also contribute in the production of new data.

We seek a highly motivated candidate that will work interdisciplinary in close collaborations with the project consortium including the Departments of Biosciences, Geology, Mathematics and Informatics as well as with the Centre of Biogeochemistry in the Anthropocene and researchers from other research institutes (e.g. NIVA).

Development plan:

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.

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 Biology or a scientific field relevant for Marine biodiversity. Doctoral dissertation must be submitted for evaluation by the closing date. Only applicants with an approved doctoral thesis and public defense are eligible for appointment.
  • The candidate should be highly competent in statistics (i.e. machine learning methods) and handling of big data.
  • Expertise in bioinformatics is a requirement.
  • A strong background in marine ecology and biodiversity is desired.
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English
  • Documented ability to write scientific manuscripts (one or more first author papers from Ph.D. and postdoctoral studies will be highly valued).
  • Ability to operate as a team player in a multi-disciplinary environment.
  • Interest and experience from teaching will also be considered advantageous.

Personal skills

We are seeking a highly motivated, enthusiastic and hard-working candidate with the ambition to gain new insights and publish papers in leading, international journals. Applicants must show good interpersonal skills and be willing to work in close collaboration with the project PIs and other members of the project team, as well as have the ability to work independently.

We offer

  • Salary NOK 544 400 – 626 300 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

How to apply

The application must include

  • Cover letter (statement of motivation, summarizing scientific work and research interest)
  • CV (summarizing education, positions, pedagogical experience, administrative experience and other qualifying activity)
  • Copies of educational certificates, academic transcript of records and letters of recommendation
  • A complete list of publications and up to 5 academic works 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. 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.

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

Formal regulations

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

No one can be appointed for more than one Postdoctoral Fellow period 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 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.

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 please contact:

For technical questions regarding the recruitment system please contact: HR adviser Nina Holtan, phone: +47 22854424, e-mail: [email protected].

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