PhD Fellow in Genomics and archaeology of reindeer domestication

Deadline: 28.02.2023

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.

Find information about taking a PhD at UiT The Arctic University of Norway here and a PhD-guide from Tromsø Doctoral Students (TODOS) here, as well as information about travelling to and working in Norway here.

The Arctic University Museum of Norway and Academy of Fine Arts

PhD Fellow in Genomics and archaeology of reindeer domestication and its impact on the Northern human diets and ecosystems of the past

Changing Arctic Research School

UiT the Arctic University of Norway has started a transdisciplinary research school "Changing Arctic" in August 2022, with PhD candidates and supervisors from all seven university faculties. The research school has a focus on renewable energy, food security, health, and welfare. “Changing Arctic” will collaborate with actors in the private and public sector. The research outcomes will contribute to resilience and transformation in the Arctic and will thus operationalize Sustainable Development Goals.

The training will provide PhD candidates with knowledge, professional and transferable skills, and general competences that enables them to contribute to innovative and sustainable solutions for the Arctic. The research school will arrange courses, seminars, workshops, and excursions, and will organise secondments in private enterprises, NGOs, and public institutions. This is to ensure the relevance of project outcomes and enhance the employability of the PhD graduates. Read more about the research school Changing Arctic | UiT.

The position

The position is a fixed term position for a duration of four years. One year is distributed as 25 % each year and will consist of teaching (10 %) and other duties such as secondments and interactions with the industry or the public sector. 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 Campus Tromsø. You must be able to start in the position within a reasonable time after receiving the offer. The Research School starts on the 1st of September 2023.

The position’s affiliation and field of research

While being a member of the research school, you will be employed at the Arctic University Museum of Norway, UiT. You will conduct research as a part of the newly established Norwegian Centre for Arctic Ecosystem Genomics (ArcEcoGen) and will be part of the terrestrial working group.

Research at the ArcEcoGen focuses on the combined effect of humans, climate, and biota on northern ecosystem dynamics in the past, present, and future using environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques. A key goal of ArcEcoGen is to build up a diverse, rigorous, and internationally leading research group in ecosystem genomics. Norway has among the world best cover of local flora and fauna in DNA reference libraries, with near 20 000 species barcoded. In addition, the large natural history collections at The Museum will be available for creating complementary reference libraries. Our collections also include sediment samples from arctic and alpine lakes as well as important archeological finds linked to pre-historic times of Northern Norway. We also have fully equipped laboratories and infrastructure for recovery and analyses of modern, ancient, and eDNA, as well as field equipment for sediment coring. We are currently recruiting PhDs, Post Docs, and associate professors as a part of a recent Aurora Centre funding award.

The shift from hunting to the domestication of reindeer in Arctic Europe is a multifaceted human and socio-ecological story that has yet to be fully unravelled. However, there are opportunities to tackle both cultural and environmental aspects from well-preserved archaeological materials in Northern Norway using new techniques. This project will be connected to an existing PhD studying the genomic basis of eco-evolutionary responses to changing environments in arctic plant-herbivore systems but expand more into human interactions using sedaDNA and archaeological data. It will address the relative importance of reindeer, sheep, and other domesticates (including food crops and wild plants) as well as fishing and hunting in the Arctic diets of the past in different cultural contexts.

The approach will be multi-tiered using several genomic techniques including metabarcoding, shotgun sequencing and possibly target-capture. This may be supplemented by using genome-wide SNP genotyping of suitable reindeer samples. Both the full domesticated and wild assemblages as well as reindeer provenance/lineage relate strongly to the cultural history of reindeer exploitation and lifeways. An overarching question of great ecological and cultural importance is the representation of reindeer as a keystone species over time during which it was semi-domesticated.


For further information about the position, please contact:

This project

The Changing Arctic Research School


This position requires:

  • A master's degree in biological sciences or subject relevant to the research description (see specifications below)
  • Basic knowledge and experience of genetic applications in ecology (such as, but not limited to, DNA barcoding, metabarcoding, Nanopore sequencing or shotgun metagenomics)
  • Basic knowledge and experience in population genetics and applications of molecular technics to study temporal and spatial differentiation of populations
  • Excellent English language skills (written and spoken)

It is considered an advantage if you have:

  • Experience in genetic wet lab methods (such as DNA extraction, PCR, library preparation, Nanopore sequencing)
  • Basic experience in bioinformatic and statistical analysis of high-throughput sequence data
  • Knowledge of ecology/palaeoecology
  • A relevant publication record
  • Command of a Scandinavian language

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. The project description will also be considered. 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.

Personal qualities:

  • Ability to contribute to a well-functioning, inclusive and productive research environment
  • Networking skills
  • Ability to collaborate
  • Ability to cooperate and communicate well with other members of staff
  • Desire to disseminate research through a variety of media to scientific and public audiences

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 in a transdisciplinary research school
  • A good and interdisciplinary academic environment with dedicated colleagues
  • Good career opportunities, and high employability after successful graduation
  • Flexible working hours and a state collective pay agreement
  • Remuneration normally starts at 501 200 NOK/year
  • 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
  • 2-3 references with contact information
  • Master’s thesis, and any other academic works
  • Project description (max 4 pages)

The applicants must present a description outlining the academic basis of the PhD project. The project description shall not exceed 4 pages, literature references included. It must include a description of the theme, research question(s), and a reasoning of the choices. It should also indicate the methodologies to be used, and what actors outside the academia to involve. The final project description will be developed in cooperation with the supervision team after employment.

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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