PhD Fellow in Arctic Chronobiology and Physiology

Deadline: 15.08.2022

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

UiT The Arctic University of Norway is a multi-campus research university 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 Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics (BFE) consists of Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, Norwegian College of Fishery Science (NFH) and School of Business and Economics. The main task of BFE is to conduct teaching and research dissemination at a high national and international level within all relevant fields.

Prioritized research areas are aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, climate, life in the arctic, marine bioprospecting, fish health, seafood products, business and macroeconomics, resources and environment, markets and management of marine resources. The interdisciplinary profile of the faculty provides good opportunity to develop research projects involving several research groups at the faculty according to its strategy.

Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics

The position

A PhD position is available at the Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics. The position will be affiliated to the Arctic chronobiology and physiology research group (ACP) and will be part of the Arctic seasonal timekeeping initiative (ASTI).

The Department of Arctic and Marine Biology (AMB) includes 5 research groups distributed across several buildings. Research and teaching at AMB has a broad span, from molecular mechanisms at cellular/subcellular levels via studies of adaptations at the organismal level, to ecological interactions in aquatic and terrestrial environments. The institute is an exciting and cutting-edge academic and research unit in biology that addresses professional challenges in basic research, industrial and administrative-oriented research with a strong focus on North. The Institute has extensive national and international research collaboration including regional institutions like Framsenteret, IMR and NIBIO. The staff counts 56 permanent scientists, 25 technicians, 12 administrative positions and 50 temporary employees (researchers, postdocs, PhD research fellows, technicians).

The position is for a period 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. You must be able to start in the position in animal physiology and chronobiology within a reasonable time, within 6 months after receiving the offer.

The project

This project falls within the relatively recent research field called “wild clocks”, which studies biological clocks in wild animals. Circadian clocks are present in all organisms and are essential to survival. The properties of the clocks vary between individuals of the same species and are known to be heritable. However, almost nothing is known about how natural selection operates on daily timing mechanisms.

You will investigate the microevolution of biological clocks aiming to fill some of those gaps in our current knowledge. The project has the great tit (Parus Major) as its model species because this songbird is one of the most well-studied wild species and allows a range of experiments in the field and in captivity. Also, given the wide geographical distribution of the great tit, we can study local adaptation by comparing populations from various latitudes. The highly contrasting light/dark environments between Arctic and southern populations is expected to select different clock properties.

The goals of this study are:

  • (1) to characterize populational differences in clock properties, focusing on latitudinal differences;
  • (2) to investigate the genetic basis of such differences through a “common garden” approach; and
  • (3) to develop methods that allow linking circadian clock properties and fitness in wild animals and apply them to the studied populations.

The study will be developed in collaboration with Prof Dr Marcel Visser and Prof Dr Kees van Oers at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), and it is expected that the PhD fellow will run field and laboratory experiments in both Norway and the Netherlands.

The Arctic Chronobiology and Physiology research group

In Tromsø, Norway, the PhD fellow will integrate into, and draw on the resources and competence of, the Arctic Chronobiology and Physiology research group (ACP), with which the position will be affiliated and within which the 25% teaching/duty work will be carried out. The Research Group Arctic Chronobiology & Physiology studies physiological adaptations to life at high latitudes in Arctic / subarctic fish, birds and mammals, and their tolerance to climatic and other changes to their environment, with particular focus on chronobiology. The PI Barbara Tomotani is starting a researcher position within the Arctic Seasonal Timekeeping Initiative (ASTI). The PhD fellow will take a key part in building this new research group together with her by bridging collaborative work in the Netherlands and Norway.


For further information about the position, please contact



  • Qualification with a Master’s degree with an average of Norwegian equivalent grade of C or higher is required before commencement in the position
  • Background in a relevant branch of biological sciences (ecology/ physiology/ evolution / chronobiology)
  • Willing to spend extended periods of time carrying out laboratory and fieldwork in the Netherlands


  • Previous experience with designing and carrying out experiments in the field and/or laboratory
  • Experience with working with birds in the field (ringing, nest monitoring, tracking)
  • Data analysis skills (R or Python)
  • Documented training in either evolutionary ecology, physiology or chronobiology is advantageous

Applicants must document fluency of in English and be able to work in an international environment. Nordic applicants can document their English capabilities by attaching their high school diploma. Knowledge of Norwegian or a Scandinavian language is desirable.

In the assessment, the emphasis is on the applicant's potential to complete a research education based on the master's thesis or equivalent, and any other scientific work. In addition, other experience of significance for the completion of the doctoral programme may be given consideration.

We will also emphasize motivation and personal suitability for the position.

We are looking for candidates who:

  • Have good collaboration skills
  • Have good communication and interaction with colleagues and students
  • Wants to contribute to a good working environment

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 Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics 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.

Grade requirements applies both to the master thesis as well as courses part of the master’s degree. The minimum requirements are grade C or better on the master’s degree, and grade C or better on courses that are part of the master’s degree. A grade lower than C in one course may be compensated by a higher grade than C in another course. If the applicant has two subjects with the grade D or lower, the applicant is not qualified for admission. 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. Depending on which country the education is from, one or two additional years of university education may be required to fulfil admission requirements, e.g. a 4-year bachelor's degree and a 2-year master's degree.

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 six weeks 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

  • Involvement in an interesting research project
  • Good career opportunities
  • A good academic environment with dedicated colleagues 
  • 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.


Your application must include:

  • Cover letter explaining your motivation and research interests
  • CV
  • 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
  • References with contact information
  • Master’s thesis, and any other academic works

Qualification with a master’s degree is required before commencement in the position. If you are within 6 months from examination/award of your master’s degree, you may still apply. In this circumstance we require: a draft version of the thesis and a statement from your supervisor or institution indicating when the degree will be obtained. You must still submit your 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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