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Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Postdoctoral Fellow in Modelling of Deformation in the Lower Crust

Deadline: 30.06.2023

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.

Njord is a cross-disciplinary Geology-Physics center hosted by the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Oslo. We focus on the fundamental physics of geological processes related to: transport and reactions in deformable porous media, fracturing and fragmentation processes, interface dynamics during geophysical flows, and intermittency and pattern formation in geological systems far from equilibrium.

We conduct research on earth systems that range in scale from atoms to continents and apply methods where fieldwork, numerical modelling, experiments and theory act in concert.

The center includes the Oslo-branch of PoreLab, which is a Center of Excellence (CoE), the former CoE, Physics of Geological Processes (PGP) and several externally financed projects. There are 10 professors and associate professors at the center, in addition to doctoral research fellows, postdoctoral fellows, researchers and technical and administrative staff - in total about 55 persons.

Job description

Position as Postdoctoral Research Fellow available at Njord Centre, Department of Geosciences.

Starting date December 1st , 2023.

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

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

More about the position

The postdoc will develop numerical models of stress amplifications in lower-crustal shear zone networks that reproduce a possible structural setting of earthquake sources. Field[1]based studies establish that lower crustal seismicity is generally linked to brittle failure of dry, strong rocks under fluid-absent conditions. This implies build-up of differential stresses to gigapascal (GPa) levels. The end goal of this project is to determine, via numerical modelling, if the stress within networks of shear zones can be locally amplified to the GPa levels required to nucleate earthquakes in the lower crust.

The models will build on detailed field observations and mapping of exhumed lower[1]crustal earthquake sources from Lofoten and western Norway. In particular, the initial goal of the project is to design new models benchmarked to the geometry, kinematics andrheology of the shear zone networks in Nusfjord (Lofoten) to estimate the magnitude of localized stress amplifications in a shear zone network that was demonstrably capable of generating earthquakes in the lower crust. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to visit the exhumed earthquake sources and to collect additional data to further constrain the models. The simulations will be based on visco-elasto-plastic codes, as well as on the numerical platform ELLE.

The postdoc position is part of the project “CONTINENT – Conditions for earthquake nucleation in the lower crust” funded by the Research Council of Norway, which will run as a collaboration between the Njord Centre at the University of Oslo, the University of Cambridge, the University of Leeds and the University of Bayreuth. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to be trained by and to collaborate with leading scientists in the field of numerical modelling of deformation (Dr. Marcel Thielmann, Bayreuth; Prof. Sandra Piazolo, Leeds; Dr. Dani Schmid, Oslo) and to spend research visits in Leeds and Bayreuth during the project.

The postholder will be encouraged to develop a leadership role within the project, present internal progress reports, present and discuss results at national and international conferences, write up findings for publication in peer-reviewed journals, and suggest planning for further work. In addition, the postholder will have the opportunity to engage with outreach activities aimed at creating high-quality educational content (e.g., videos, websites) about earthquakes and rock deformation.

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 Earth Sciences. Doctoral dissertation must be submitted for evaluation by the closing date. Appointment is dependent on the public defence of the doctoral thesis being approved.
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English.

The following qualifications will count in the assessment of the applicants:


  • Strong background in structural geology and in deformation processes in the lower crust.
  • Basic experience with numerical modelling of geological processes.
  • Programming skills with Matlab and/or Python.
  • Basic knowledge of the geology of lower-crustal terranes in Norway, such as Lofoten and Bergen Arcs.
  • Proven ability to present and discuss results at national and international conferences, and to write up findings for publication in peer-reviewed journals.


  • Experience with petrology and thermodynamic modelling of phase equilibria.

We offer

  • Salary NOK 575 400 – 635 400 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 transcripts only)
  • 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, the project description (whenever this is required in the call for applicants), and the quality of the project 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.

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 questions regarding Jobbnorge, please contact HR Adviser Elin Thoresen, elin.thoresen@mn.uio.no

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