PhD Candidate in sedimentary ancient DNA

Deadline: 20.12.2020

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.

The Arctic University Museum of Norway and Academy for Fine Arts

The position

A PhD position is available at The Arctic University Museum, The Arctic University Museum of Norway and Academy for Fine Arts, with the research group IceAGenT and ECOGEN.

The Arctic University Museum seeks candidates who wish to obtain the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD).

The position is on reconstructing past terrestrial ecosystems using ancient DNA methods. The position is for a period of four years. The nominal length of the PhD program is three years. The fourth year is distrubuted as 25 % each year, and will consist of teaching and other duties for the Arctic University Museum of Norway.

The position is vacant from 01.01.2021.The workplace is at UiT in Tromsø. You must be able to start in the position within a reasonable time, within 6 months after receiving the offer.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 PhD Candidate will participate in The Faculty of biosciences, fisheries and economics’ organized research training or alternative training organized by (for example) the research school in biosystematics. Information about the application process for admission to the PhD programme, application form and regulations for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) are available here.

The project

Arctic ecosystems are highly affected by ongoing climate change with largely unknown consequences. The best analog for understanding how climate changes affect species persistence, lags, tipping points, and ecosystem resilience is by studying the effects of past climate changes.

This PhD position will build on ongoing studies on past vascular plant communities, from the projects IceAGenT and ECOGEN, by expanding towards full ecosystem reconstruction with focus on animals (mammals, insects), bryophytes, and/or fungi. The project will use and further develop ancient DNA methods for sediments, such as metabarcoding, shotgun metagenomics, and target enrichment, and will benefit from excellent representation of Arctic species in reference databases (through the national barcode initiative NorBol). We envisage the project to mainly focus on northern Fennoscandia, the Polar Urals, Svalbard, and Iceland where we have already taken samples and extracted DNA from many lake sediment cores. Additional samples may be obtained from Svalbard and/or other Arctic regions. The aim is to increase our understanding of the combined effect of human, climate, and biotic interactions on Arctic ecosystem dynamics in the past, present and future.

The position’s affiliation

The position is attached to the University Museum. The Arctic University Museum of Norway is responsible for research, dissemination and collection of both natural history and cultural-historical material from Northern Norway. The position is attached to the scientific community within Natural Sciences, including the Tromsø Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden, which have the responsibility for developing and maintaining scientific collections of objects as well as public outreach. Natural Sciences have a permanent staff of 16, of which nine are in academic positions. At the moment, four PhD students, two postdocs and two researchers are connected to the Natural Sciences, and we have laboratories for modern and ancient DNA analyses. The position is within the research group for Ecosystem Genomics, which currently hosts five large projects: Norwegian Barcode of Life, ECOGEN , ERC – TerrACE, Biodiversa FATE, and ERC- IceAGenT.


Further information about the position is available by contacting the:

Project leader Professor Inger Greve Alsos:

or Head of Department Geir Rudolfsen:

We offer

  • Involvement in an interesting research project
  • An excellent academic environment with dedicated colleagues
  • A large degree of independence in work
  • Flexible working hours and a state collective pay agreement
  • Pension scheme through the state pension fund

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


The successful applicant must fulfil the requirements for admission to the faculty’s PhD programme as described by Regulations for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

This position requires a Master’s degree in biology. Experience in northern terrestrial ecosystems and molecular biology are most relevant, and experience in ancient DNA, environmental DNA, palaeoecology, bioinformatics/biostatistics, and fieldwork are advantages. Personal fit to the team and teamwork skills are important. Average physical condition is sufficient for the fieldwork. It is advantageous to have a driver's license.

The applicant must present a one-page outline with suggestions for the PhD project, including brief descriptions of aims and methods.

Documented knowledge of English as stated here is required, and Scandinavian language skills are an advantage.

Emphasis will be put on the candidates potential for research, motivation and personal suitability for the position.


The application must be submitted electronically via www.jobbnorge.no and shall include:

  • Cover letter explaining your motivation and research interests
  • CV
  • Diplomas, diploma supplements and transcripts (all degrees)
  • Documentation on English proficiency. This website states how English profiency shall be documented.
  • Written references
  • Contact information to 1-3 references
  • Master thesis, and any other academic works
  • Project description (1 page)

The documentation has to be in English or a Scandinavian language.

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.

As many as possible should have the opportunity to undertake organized research training. If you already hold a PhD or have equivalent competence, we will not appoint you to this position.

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.

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.

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.

Apply for position

Powered by Labrador CMS