PhD Fellow in applied microscopy / nanoscopy

Deadline: 15.08.2022

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

UiT the Arctic University of Norwaywith its main campus located in the quaint little city of Tromsø is the northernmost university in the world. It houses the optics group in the Department of Physics and Technology, Faculty of Science and Technology, at the main campus of UiT. The optics group has experienced a great surge in research, thanks to a constant flow of Horizon2020 funding through ERC and MSCA-IF projects and funding from the Research Council of Norway (RCN) through diverse projects. This has led to a thriving multi-national (currently representing 10 nations) and multi-disciplinary research group, currently comprising of 5 principal investigators, 11 post docs, 11 PhD candidates, several master students and a multi-million dollar research infrastructure. There is a constant flow of international visiting experts.

The group members represent various disciplines like optics, photonics, fabrication, biology, mathematics, sensing, microscopy, nanoscopy, chemistry, computer engineering, electronic instrumentation, etc. The group’s core research activity targets development of cutting-edge technologies in nano-photonics, optics-based climate sensing, microscopy, optical and computational nanoscopy, and bioapplications. There is an emphasis on gender equality, cultural integration, conducive work environment excellence through cooperation and co-enabling, and support of growth and ambition of everyone in the group.

We offer an interesting project funded for a project funded under the prestigious FRIPRO Young Grant of RCN, scientific independence, good remuneration, great potential of growth, and fantastic work environment within the stunning landscape of Tromsø.

Faculty of Science and Technology

The position

The Department of Physics and Technology is pleased to announce a vacant position of a PhD fellow in the optics group in connection with the FRIPRO Young project ‘Label-free nanoscopy of living cells through nanoscale refractive index profiler’.

The PhD fellow will be a part of 3d-nanoscopy team, led by Assoc. Prof. Krishna Agarwal, who works on super-resolution microscopy, also referred to as nanoscopy. She is also the principal investigator of the aforementioned FRIPRO Young project. The goal of the project is to develop microscopy and nanoscopy technology for applications in biological problems such as autophagy, cardiovascular biology, molecular cell biology etc.

The position is for a fixed term of four years. The nominal length of the PhD programme is three years. The fourth year is distributed as 25 % each year and will consist of teaching and other duties. The objective of the position is to complete research training to the level of a doctoral degree. Admission to the PhD programme is a prerequisite for employment, and the programme period starts on commencement of the position.

The workplace is at UiT in Tromsø. The tentative starting date is 1st October 2022. You must be able to start in the position in Tromsø within a reasonable time after receiving the offer.

The project

The fellow will work towards his/her PhD degree with the following goals:

  • Implementing and customizing microscopy/nanoscopy instruments towards making them compatible for bio-applications,
  • Develop suitable sample preparation, microscope calibration, imaging protocols and benchmarks for generating biologically meaningful data
  • Perform extensive imaging experiments in the lab to ensure quality, repeatability, and sufficiency of data
  • Identify and/or develop data post-processing pipelines to facilitate data analysis/interpretation
  • Collaborate with biology, microscopy, and artificial intelligence teams for prospecting, developing, trouble shooting, and results generation
  • Curate data and codes for publications, public release, dissemination, etc.
  • Write scientific manuscripts, make scientific presentations, and disseminate the results

This project lies at the intersection of applied physics, image processing, engineering, and biology. It requires a highly motivated, determined, enthusiastic, goal-oriented, perseverant and diversely talented candidate with people skills. In turn, it provides an opportunity for doing a very interesting cutting-edge and heavily multi-disciplinary research in early stage of research career.

The nature of the project and the job scope is that it allows an all rounded development of the fellow. The fellow will be encouraged and supported to build his/her resume towards their ambition in academic, technopreneurial, or main stream industrial career. There is an opportunity for the fellow to build his/her research network through inheriting the collaborations of the group. Major collaborators, beyond UiT and directly relevant to the project, include USoton (UK), NTNU (Norway), IIT (Italy), IFOM (Italy), University of Campagnia (Italy), University of Barcelona (UB), EMBL (Germany), NUS (Singapore), ASTAR (Singapore), BIT (China), Sun Yat Sen University (China), and IIT (India). The fellow will also be encouraged to become a member of Digital Life Norway (DLN), a national platform for multi-discplinary research with life sciences as a focus. DLN offers several PhD courses and career development programs, which the fellow can participate in.

Project idea: Applicants must submit a 1-2 page document proposing one project idea and discussing the research question/hypothesis, the motivation, the proposed methodology, the expected outcome, impact, and a timeline. The research hypothesis should be within the scope of the job description provided above.


For more information about the position and UiT, please contact:


The position requires a Norwegian master degree or equivalent foreign degree in physics (or subsets and specializations in it), optics, photonics, biology, biotechnology, biophysics biomedical engineering, medical imaging, life sciences, electrical or computer engineering, bioimaging and related overlapping fields.

The main qualifications and mandatory requirements include:

  • Postgraduate coursework or master thesis strongly related to at least 2 of the following topics:
    • Microscopy
    • Bioimaging
    • Cell biology
    • Machine learning
    • Optics related courses (such as Fourier, Statistical)
    • Computational imaging
  • Experience in multi-disciplinary research
  • Basic programming skills in Matlab, Python or Java

It is expected that the candidate demonstrates:

  • Good written and verbal communication skills in English.
  • Self-motivation, independence, enthusiasm
  • Excellent work ethic and commitment to the job

Experience of the following is desirable:

  • Collaboration on scientific projects across disciplines
  • Working in multi-national multi-cultural environment or international mobility for research/education
  • Using microscopy/biological image processing toolkits such as imageJ, Fiji, Cell Explorer, etc. and/or automation and synchronization software such as Micromanager, LabView
  • Publication record (academic or non-academic scientific), if any, including journal articles, patents, conference articles, software or source code releases, news articles, video or text blogs are welcome (order of examples indicates roughly the order of preference).
  • Creativity, ability to think outside the box, problem solving and go-getter characteristics

The assessment will also emphasize motivation and personal suitability for the position. The candidate must be willing to engage in the ongoing development of label-free nanoscopy and the university as a whole.

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.

Admission to the PhD programme

For employment in the PhD position, you must be qualified for admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Science and Technology and participate in organized doctoral studies within the employment period.

Admission normally requires:

  • A bachelor's degree of 180 ECTS and a master's degree of 120 ECTS, or an integrated master's degree of 300 ECTS.
  • A master's thesis with a scope corresponding to at least 30 ECTS for a master's degree of 120 ECTS.
  • A master's thesis with a scope corresponding to at least 20 ECTS for an integrated master's degree of 300 ECTS.

In order to gain admission to the programme, the applicant must have a grade point average of C or better for the master’s degree and for relevant subjects of the bachelor’s degree. A more detailed description of admission requirements can be found here.

Applicants with a foreign education will be subjected to an evaluation of whether the educational background is equal to Norwegian higher education, following national guidelines from NOKUT.

If you are employed in the position, you will be provisionally admitted to the PhD programme. Application for final admission must be submitted no later than two months after taking up the position.

Inclusion and diversity

UiT The Arctic University of Norway is working actively to promote equality, gender balance and diversity among employees and students, and to create an inclusive and safe working environment. We believe that inclusion and diversity are a strength and we want employees with different competencies, professional experience, life experience and perspectives.

If you have a disability, a gap in your CV or immigrant background, we encourage you to tick the box for this in your application. If there are qualified applicants, we invite at least one in each group for an interview. If you get the job, we will adapt the working conditions if you need it. Apart from selecting the right candidates, we will only use the information for anonymous statistics.

We offer

  • Exciting research possibilities, international exposure, opportunity to shape and pursue career ambition, opportunity to build extensive research network, and great potential of growth
  • Exposure of working in highly prestigious RCN funded project and cutting edge research
  • Fantastic work environment and good renumeration within the stunning landscape of Tromsø
  • Good welfare arrangements for employees
  • Good arrangements for pension, insurance and loans in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • More practical information for working and living in Norway can be found here.


Your application must include:

  • Application letter describing
    • why the candidate considers oneself suitable for the position
    • what motivates the candidate to apply for the position and what the candidate expects from this position
  • CV, including list of publications, if any
  • Diploma for bachelor's and master's degree
  • Transcript of grades/academic record for bachelor's and master's degree
  • Explanation of the grading system for foreign education (Diploma Supplement if available)
  • Documentation of English proficiency
  • List of at least 2 academic references
  • Master’s thesis (English or English translation)
  • Project idea – 1-2 page document proposing one project idea and discussing the research question/hypothesis, the motivation, the proposed methodology, the expected outcome, impact, and a timeline. The research hypothesis should be within the scope of the job description provided above.

Having a master degree is required before commencement in the position. If you are in the process of completing your master, you must document that you have submitted your master thesis or submit an official document indicating the planned date of thesis submission. You should have dissertated before the preferred start-up date of the position. You should also attach a statement from your supervisor. You must still submit your current transcripts for the master’s degree with your application.

All documentation to be considered must be in a Scandinavian language or English. Diplomas and transcripts must also be submitted in the original language, if not in English or Scandinavian. We only accept applications and documentation sent via Jobbnorge within the application deadline.

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 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.

We process personal data given in an application or CV in accordance with the Personal Data Act (Offentleglova). According to the Personal Data Act 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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