PhD Fellow in Plant Molecular Biology or Plant Biochemistry

Deadline: 23.06.2021

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

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 / Department of Arctic and Marine Biology

The position

A PhD position in Plant Molecular Biology or Plant Biochemistry is is available at the Department of Arctic and Marine Biology (AMB), the Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics (BFE). The position is part of the UiT- project «Arctic Carbon Storage from Biomes» (ABSORB) and will be affiliated to the “Microbes and Plants” Research Group. ABSORB aims to elucidate of how plant and microbial communities in the (Sub)Arctic convert climate gasses into recalcitrant bioproducts and to harness biology unique to Arctic biomes for carbon draw-down.

The workplace is at UiT in Tromsø. You must be able to start in the position within a reasonable time after receiving the offer.

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 position can be filled at the earliest convenient time point, ideally before 01.01.2022. 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 position’s field of research

We invite applications from candidates motivated to obtain a PhD in a contemporary field within the plant sciences, studying the potential of roots for producing recalcitrant carbon compounds in subarctic and arctic ecosystems. The PhD candidate will study morphological, biochemical, and physiochemical parameters of (sub)arctic plants in situ and in the greenhouse. Relationships between root/shoot ratio, biomass, rhizosheath formation and rhizosphere microbiota in response to temperature, atmospheric carbon content and other physical parameters will be investigated using advanced plant phenotyping and molecular techniques. The candidate hired for the project will be part of an international team with collaborators from SALK institute (San Diego, USA) and the University of Eastern Finland, in addition to the local interdisciplinary project team.

The hired applicant will design, conduct and analyze the field sampling as well as controlled growth experiments in a phytotron and study selected biochemical compounds (suberin, mulicaginous polysaccharides). The work will require close collaboration with other team members dedicated towards the physiological characterization of plant biomass by non-invasive (hyper)spectral imaging, invasive biochemical analyses, and genomic studies of root microbiota. The work is conducted in newly built facilities with well-equipped laboratories and modern scientific infrastructure. The position includes annual funding to be used for participation in scientific conferences or workshops abroad, lab consumables or publication costs.


For further information about the position, please contact:


A strong candidate will have a background in molecular plant sciences, plant biochemistry and/or plant phenotyping and will be motivated for a scientific career. To be eligible for the position, a candidate must have a MSc degree in Plant (Molecular) Biology, Plant Biochemistry, Plant Biotechnology, Plant Ecophysiology or related field. Suitable applicants must have practical experience in molecular lab work (as documented by their scientific works), and high motivation to develop these skills further.

Skills that are further expected from the successful candidate include:

- general good knowledge of plant biology, including biochemistry / molecular biology

-practical experience with plant growth under controlled environmental conditions

- excellent oral and written communication skills in English

In addition, documentation of the following qualifications will be advantageous but not mandatory:

- experience with plant phenotyping and/or experience with hyperspectral imaging

- experience with plant root analysis

- experience with ELISA or other immunological analysis techniques

- basic knowledge of Northern plant species and plant biodiversity

The applicant is expected to work independently as well as interact with a team of scientists and technical staff from different fields. The project will involve spending several months at the SALK institute in San Diego, USA, or at the University of Eastern Finland, and thus the successful candidate should be open-minded and positive towards mobility requirements. English is the principal language in our work environment and applicants are asked to submit their application in English. Applicants must document fluency in English. Knowledge of a Scandinavian language is a beneficial asset.

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 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 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 if 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 is 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: https://uit.no/staffmobility


Your application must include:

  • Cover letter explaining the applicant’s specific motivation for the project, past achievements and career goals
  • 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 (minimum 2) 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 near completion of your master’s degree, you may still apply and submit a draft version of the thesis and a statement from your supervisor or institution indicating when the degree will be obtained. You must document completion of your degree before commencement in the position. 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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