PhD Fellow on the Marine Biodegradation of Polymers used for Aquaculture and Fisheries

Deadline: 01.09.2024

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 Norwegian College of Fishery Science (NCFS), Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics (BFE) in close collaboration with SINTEF Industry (Oslo) and SINTEF Ocean (Trondheim). The position is affiliated with the research group Harvest.

The PhD position is within marine biodegradation of polymers used for materials used aquaculture and fisheries.

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, although the candidate is expected to spend a proportion of their time at SINTEF Industry in Oslo and partly in Trondheim at SINTEF Ocean. The position also provides for part of the work to be done abroad to study biodegradation.

You must be able to start in the position within a reasonable time after receiving the offer.

The position’s field of research

The Norwegian College of Fishery Science (NCFS) undertakes research and research-based teaching of high national and international quality in an interdisciplinary environment. Research activities are provisionally organized into the groups of Living Marine Resources, Food science, Fish Health, Marine Drug Discovery, Marine Resource Management and Development, Environmental and Resource Economics.

The position is a part of our participation in the center for research-based innovation: SFI Dsolve - Biodegradable plastics for marine applications which includes SINTEF Industry and SINTEF Ocean as well as several other research and industry partners. The candidate shall collaborate with industrial partners in the SFI.

The main supervisors for the candidate will be from the research group Harvest at the UiT as well as with a co-supervisor from SINTEF Industry and other research partners. SINTEF Industry and SINTEF Ocean are in possession of facilities for polymers and composites research covering polymer characterization, weathering experiments and mechanical tests, including labs for the investigation of biodegradation in natural sea water and marine sediments.

The project

The PhD project is within the SFI Dsolve financed by the Research Council of Norway. This is a multi-disciplinary project concentrated around the development and introduction of biodegradable plastics in fisheries and aquaculture. The PhD project associated with the PhD position aims to understand the degradation processes (e. g. via photodegradation, microbial degradation, temperature) of polymers (e. g., PBS, PBAT, PBSAT, PBSA, Bio-PES) which are used for biodegradable fibres, twines, nets and ropes. The research work of the candidate shall contribute to develop new models and knowledge on degradation mechanisms of biodegradable polymers under ambient environmental conditions in comparison to standard non degradable polymers which are used for conventional fibres and various types of ropes.

Furthermore, it is intended to assess the extent to which the degradation of polymers has an influence on the mechanical properties (e. g. tensile strength and abrasion) of the polymers used. The characterisation of material composition, molecular structure and their relationship to material properties will be central to the work.

The candidate will work interdisciplinary with chemists, physicist, marine biologists, specialists on economy, management and life cycle analyses (LCA), and with several stakeholders in the project. The position shall focus on challenges within aquaculture (fish farming equipment) or fisheries.

The applicants must present a description outlining the academic basis of the PhD project. The project description shall not exceed 5 pages, literature references included. It must include a description of the topic, research question(s) and a reasoning of the choices. It should also indicate the methodologies to be used. The final project description will be developed in cooperation with the supervisor. 


For further information about the position, please contact:

Professor Roger Larsen: 

or Dr. Christian Karl:


Required qualifications: 

  • Master's degree or foreign equivalent in polymer chemistry, polymer physics, physical chemistry. 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 still submit your transcripts for the master’s degree with your application.
  • Applicants must document fluency of in English. Nordic applicants can document their English capabilities by attaching their high school diploma.
  • Knowledge and experience in material and surface characterization (SEC, FT-IR, NMR SEM, XPS), mechanical testing and wear analysis, polymers and/or degradation of polymers in the sea and/or biofouling.

Desired qualifications: 

  • Industrial experience from fisheries and/or aquaculture
  • Ability to speak Norwegian or another Scandinavian language will be considered as strong merit, and will be highly weighted in the selection process

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, for example teaching qualifications. This includes teaching education, teaching experience, popularization and experience/education from other types of dissemination.

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

We are looking for candidates who:

  • Have excellent analytical and collaboration skills as well as an ability to work both independently and in teams
  • Have a positive, balanced personality who can think creatively and critically
  • Have good communication and interaction with colleagues and students

As many people 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. 

UiT normally accepts higher education from countries that are part of the Lisbon Recognition Convention.

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

  • A friendly workplace with research-oriented, dedicated academics
  • 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 
  • PhD Fellows are normally given a salary of 532 200 NOK/year with a 3% yearly increase

Norwegian health policy aims to ensure that everyone, irrespective of their personal finances and where they live, has access to good health and care services of equal standard. As an employee you will become member of the National Insurance Scheme which also include health care services.

More practical information about working and living in Norway can be found here.


Your application must include: 

  • Cover letter explaining your motivation and research interests
  • CV (education, training, working experience and professional work)
  • 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. Nordic applicants can document their English capabilities by attaching their high school diploma
  • Three reference letters and contact information (request upon interview)
  • Master’s thesis, and any other academic works
  • Project description (3-5 pages)
  • A list of papers, publications and conference contributions (with author(s), the title, journal, year, pages, or publishers/printer, etc.)

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 still submit your transcript of grades 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. If English proficiency is not documented in the application, it must be documented before starting in the position. 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 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. You will become a member of the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund, which gives you many benefits in addition to a lifelong pension: You may be entitled to financial support if you become ill or disabled, your family may be entitled to financial support when you die, you become insured against occupational injury or occupational disease, and you can get good terms on a mortgage. Read more about your employee benefits at: spk.no.

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. 

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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