Ledig stilling ved UiT Norges arktiske universitet

2-3 PhD positions in complex systems modelling, climate science, and fusion plasma physics

Deadline: 07.10.2020

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

UiT Aurora Centre DYNAMO

UiT The Arctic University of Norway has established the UiT Aurora Centre for Nonlinear Dynamics and Complex Systems Modelling (DYNAMO). This is an interdisciplinary centre with thematic focus on the most profound challenges for our society – climate change, its impact on ecosystems, and its mitigation by development of fusion power as an unlimited source of sustainable energy.

The announced positions will strengthen the Aurora Centre by recruiting excellent researchers within relevant areas of climate science, fusion plasma physics and complex systems modelling. The successful candidates will perform research in close collaboration with other members of the DYNAMO centre and its extensive international network.

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

UiT is a multi-campus research university in Norway and the northernmost university of the world. Our central location in the High North, our broad and diverse research and study portfolio, and our interdisciplinary qualities make us uniquely suited to meet the challenges of the future. At UiT you can explore global issues from a close-up perspective.

Credibility, academic freedom, closeness, creativity and commitment shall be hallmarks of the relationship between our employees, between our employees and our students and between UiT and our partners.

Faculty of Science and Technology

The positions

The UiT Aurora Centre DYNAMO announces vacant PhD fellow positions in the areas of complex systems modelling, climate system and fusion plasma physics at UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

The positions are available for commencement from late 2020, and the appointment is for a period of four years. The nominal length of the PhD programme is three years; the fourth year is used for teaching or other duties for the department where the fellow is hired. The duties are normally distributed evenly over the four years. The objective of the position is to complete research training to the level of a doctoral degree. Admission to a PhD programme is a prerequisite for employment, and the programme period starts on commencement of the position.

The fellows will work in a large, international and interdisciplinary team and will have possibilities for research stays abroad. The positions will be supervised by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Department of Physics and Technology.

The position's field of research

The enormous success of natural sciences in the industrial age has been built on the paradigm of reductionism, which attempts to explain systems in terms of their constituent parts and the individual interactions between them. Empirical laws have been explained by fundamental principles that have been experimentally verified with remarkable precision. However, largely due to the revolution in scientific computing, we are now discovering new scientific laws that emerge from non-linear interactions in systems with many degrees of freedom which cannot be deduced from the first-principles-based equations that define the systems. Such complex systems have many components which may interact with each other resulting in a behaviour which is intrinsically difficult to model and predict due to the dependencies, competitions, and relationships between their parts or with their environment. Distinctive properties of complex systems are chaos, nonlinearity, emergence, spontaneous order, adaptation, and feedback loops, among others.

A major part of complex systems science is devoted to universality and commonalities between systems with strong non-linear interactions and collective behaviour. However, a general theory of such systems has not been developed. The most important advances in the field has come through a combination of domain-specific modelling as development and application of conceptual mathematical and statistical models, and general mathematical concepts such as symmetry, invariance and stability. Theories of turbulence, intermittency, fractal geometry, multifractal measures and self-organized criticality are all developed as tools to describe emergent phenomena in complex systems.

Research themes

The UiT Aurora Centre DYNAMO is organized in three research themes: the climate system, Arctic ecosystems, and fusion plasmas. These are areas of research where complex systems modelling is particularly fruitful. The implementation is structured into four work packages corresponding to the main methodological frameworks: long range dependence and temporal scale invariance, bifurcations and transients, instabilities and chaotic dynamics, and ensemble studies. Scientific computations and data analysis are essential tools in all research themes and work packages.

The main objective is to develop and combine dynamical, phenomenological and stochastic models in order to describe non-linear dynamics and emergent structures common to complex systems.

The following research questions will be addressed:

  • What is the likely range of global and Arctic climate sensitivity on different time scales?
  • Is the Earth system, and in particular the Arctic climate, at risk of abrupt transitions in response to anthropogenic warming? And if so, can we quantify the corresponding thresholds in temperature or radiative forcing?
  • Which are the non-linear dynamical mechanisms governing the Arctic climate response? Can cascades of instabilities in the Arctic climate be modelled and predicted?
  • Can fluctuation-induced transport in fusion plasmas be described by stochastic models and data-driven conceptual models constrained by experimental data and first-principles-based numerical simulations?
  • Can plasma-wall interactions and material erosion in fusion reactors be predicted by using complex system methodology?

All applicants must submit a statement of their vision for how they will strengthen these research activities within the center.


Further information about the positions, UiT, and project details is available by contacting:

  • DYNAMO centre leader and fusion plasma research theme leader professor Odd Erik Garcia by e-mail [email protected] or telephone +47 77 64 51 91
  • Head of Department of Mathematics and Statistics and climate system research theme leader professor Martin Rypdal by e-mail [email protected] or telephone +47 77 62 07 54

Qualification requirements

This position requires a Norwegian Master’s degree within applied mathematics, statistics or physics, or a corresponding foreign Master’s degree recognized as equivalent to a Norwegian Master’s degree within the same areas.

The suitable candidate must have a background in physics or applied mathematics and should have excellent skills in computer programming. Knowledge of stochastic processes and/or time series analysis is considered an advantage.

Other required qualification skills include:

  • Excellence in master thesis work and from grade transcripts
  • Independence and self-motivation
  • Creativity and ability to think outside the box
  • Excellent work ethic and commitment to the job

Documented proficiency in English as stated here is required: Proficiency in English - PhD level studies

International experience is an advantage. The assessment will emphasize motivation and personal suitability for the position.

Admission to PhD programme

The position requires admission to the PhD programme. Admission requires that the applicant has at least 5 years of higher education, equivalent to 300 ECTS. The applicant must have a Master’s thesis evaluated equivalent to 30 ECTS or more, or 20 ECTS for an integrated Master’s degree. The applicant must have grade C or better on the Master’s degree, and an average of C or better.

Applicants with a foreign education will be evaluated on whether the educational background is equivalent to Norwegian higher education. We use national guidelines according to NOKUTs country database. Applicants from some countries will have to document additional higher education in order to be admitted.

Further information about requirements and the PhD programme in Science is available here: PhD education - Faculty of Science and Technology


Your application must include:

  • Application and motivation letter (max 1 page)
  • Vision statement for at least one of the centre’s research themes (max 1 page)
  • CV (max 2 pages)
  • Documentation of English language proficiency
  • Three references, preferably including the Master’s thesis supervisor
  • Master’s thesis, and, if applicable, other academic works, up to ten
  • Diplomas and transcripts (diploma supplement) for both bachelor and master level education

Qualification with a Master’s degree is required before commencement in the position. If you are near completion of your Master’s degree, you may still apply and submit a draft version of the thesis and a statement from your supervisor or institution indicating when the degree will be obtained. You must document completion of your degree before commencement in the position.

All documents and letters must be in English or a Scandinavian language. Thesis and other academic works should preferably be in English or a Scandinavian language. The application must be submitted electronically through Jobbnorge.

We offer

  • Involvement in an interesting research project
  • A fantastic work environment with friendly and dedicated colleagues
  • Excellent career opportunities
  • A large degree of independence in work
  • Opportunities to travel and meet other leading scientists within the field
  • Pension scheme through the state pension fund

UiT also has good welfare arrangements for employees including beneficial arrangements for pension and insurances.

The UiT campus is located near the centre of Tromsø, a vibrant city located in Northern Norway with approximately 75 000 inhabitants. The city is surrounded by the stunning landscape of Northern Scandinavia. The location also offers ample opportunities for e.g., sighting aurora, hiking and skiing.

More practical information for working and living in Norway can be found here: Welcome to UiT!

Terms of employment

Remuneration for the position of PhD Fellow is in accordance with the State salary scale code 1017. A compulsory contribution of 2 % to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted.

The appointment is for a period of four years. A shorter period of appointment may be decided when the PhD Fellow has already completed parts of their research training programme or when the appointment is based on a previous qualifying position PhD Fellow, research assistant, or the like in such a way that the total time used for research training amounts to three years.

You have to be qualified for and participate in a PhD study programme. As many as possible should have the opportunity to undertake organized research training; thus if you already hold a PhD degree, or have equivalent competence, we will not appoint you to this position.

General information

The appointment is made in accordance with State regulations and guidelines at UiT. At our website, you will find more information for applicants.

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. UiT will emphasize making the necessary adaptations to the working conditions for employees with reduced functional ability.

We process personal data given in an application or CV in accordance with the Personal Data Act (Offentleglova). According to Offentleglova information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure. You will receive advance notification in the event of such publication, if you have requested non-disclosure.

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