PhD Fellow in legal science within the subject Sami children and the right to a future

Deadline: 29.03.2023

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.

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.

Faculty of Law

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.

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, the candidate will be employed at the Faculty of Law. The faculty has about 950 law students, 25 PhD students, 35 members of the academic staff and 16 members of the administrative staff. The faculty may award the degrees of Master and PhD in Law as well as the degrees of Master of Laws (LL.M.) in the Law of the Sea and Joint Nordic Master`s Programme in Environmental Law. The PhD position is affiliated with the Child Law research group. For more information on the Child Law research group, please see the website.

Children’s rights in general are stated in the Norwegian Constitution, article 104, in domestic legislation as well as in international law, as the Convention on the rights of the child (1989). Sami children as members of the Sami people has additional constitutional rights, which the state has a duty to respect, protect and fulfil (article 108). There is an urgent need for strengthened research on Sami children's rights in general.

Within the fields covered by the research school, the project can be developed through two different strands.

One strand could be how climate change may influence the resource base of the culture and hence the right to a future within the culture. The various UN (United Nations) human rights bodies are increasingly devoting attention to the effects of climate change on the realization of human rights in general and especially for indigenous people.

Another strand could be how Sami children's right to respect for their culture could influence their right to health and welfare. A new Child welfare act was adopted in June 2021 and will come into force in 2023. There is a new section on culture, sec. 1-8: “In its work, the child welfare service shall consider the child's ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious background in all phases of the case. The special rights of Sami children shall be safeguarded.”

For Sami children questions following both these strands could be important in respect to their right to a future. Violations of the right to respect for Sami children’s culture could have major welfare and health consequences, and thus consequences for their right to a future as Sami. As a project within legal science the PhD-student would have to analyze how different human rights treaties, international soft law instruments and national law meet these challenges. Sustainable Development Goal no.3 Good health and well-being for all would also be of relevance.

For both these strands one main objective is to contribute to operationalize and safeguarding Sami children’s rights by analysing the different human rights framework and the national legislation. An important task in this context is assessing how different legal instrument could ensure that Sami children’s rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

Another main objective for both strands is analysing how basic principles and rights turn out for Sami children. Most relevant is the right to participation and non-discrimination/equality. For both rights, there are well developed models that can be used in the analyses. Sami children may experience intersectional discrimination both as children and as indigenous people. On the right to participation, one question concerns how Sami children themselves may influence on their right to a future in the Arctic.


For further information about the position, please contact:

This project:

The Changing Arctic Research School


This position requires:

  • A master's degree in Law (see specifications below in “Admission to PhD programme”)
  • A master's thesis (see specifications below)
  • Fluency in English
  • That the applicant understands Norwegian or a Scandinavian language or commit himself/herself to participate in the Norwegian Language Courses held by the UiT at the outset of the employment

It is considered an advantage if you have:

  • Working experience in the field in question
  • Experience from working in a team
  • Experience with research administration / project management
  • A national and/or international research network that you can refer to
  • Publications and/or reports
  • Working knowledge of Norwegian or a Scandinavian language

In the assessment, the emphasis is on the applicant's potential to complete a research education based on the grades in the master program, 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 program may be given consideration, e.g. working experience.

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

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 program at the Faculty of Law and participate in organized doctoral studies within the employment period.

The applicants must have a five-year Master’s degree in Law or Cand. jur. with good grades. The Faculty may accept equivalent education in law from foreign universities. The successful applicants must fulfil the requirements for admission to the Faculty's PhD program. Information about requirements is available here (general requirements for UiT) and here (complementary requirements/guidelines for the Faculty of Law).

The applicants must present a description outlining the academic basis of the PhD project. The project description shall not exceed four pages, literature references included. It shall include a description of the theme, research question(s) and a reasoning of the choices. It shall also indicate the methodologies to be used. The applicant may be asked to supplement the description.

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.

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
  • Pension scheme through the state pension fund
  • A stunning Arctic landscape and diversity of outdoor activities


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
  • 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.

Remuneration of PhD positions are in salary code 1017. There is a 2% deduction for contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

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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