PhD fellowship to develop sedimentary ancient DNA methods

Deadline: 20.12.2020

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.

The Arctic University Museum of Norway and Academy for Fine Arts

The position

A PhD position is available at The Arctic University Museum, The Arctic University Museum of Norway and Academy for Fine Arts. The appointed PhD Fellow will be based in the Tromsø Ecosystem Genomics research group and have their daily workplace at The Arctic University Museum of Norway.

You must be able to start in the position within a reasonable time, within 6 months after receiving the offer.

The position is for a period of four years. The nominal length of the PhD program is three years. The fourth year is distributed as 25 % each year, and will consist of teaching and other duties for the Arctic University Museum.

The objective of the position is to complete research training to the level of a doctoral degree. Admission to a PhD programme is a prerequisite for employment, and the programme period starts on commencement of the position. The PhD candidate shall participate in the faculty’s organized research training, and the PhD project shall be completed during the period of employment. Information about the application process for admission to the PhD programme, application form and regulations for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor(PhD) are available here.

The position's field of research

Ancient DNA extracted from sediments and other environmental sources is an emerging and fast-moving field that has the potential to revolutionize our ability to reconstruct past communities at unprecedented temporal resolution.

However, computational methods for processing, identifying, and analyzing total ancient DNA from sediments are still rudimentary.

The goal of the position is to therefore develop novel bioinformatic methods for the optimal processing of metagenomic sequence data generated from complex and degraded biological remains.

The project will use a combination of published and recently generated data sets from lake, cave, permafrost, and archaeological sites across the Pleistocene and Holocene of Europe, Asia, and North America, as well as simulated data sets to test and verify the developed methods.

You will gain expertise in bioinformatics, metagenomics, ancient DNA/palaeogenomics, molecular biology, palaeoecology, and analysis of large genomic data sets.


For more information, please contact:

  • Associate Professor Peter Heintzman, Phone: +47 776 20 741, Email: [email protected], Twitter: @PalaeoPete

We offer

  • 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: Welcome to UiT!


The candidate should have:

  • Masters degree (or equivalent) in the biological or computational sciences, preferably in one of the following fields: Palaeogenomics; Molecular Biology; Bioinformatics.
  • Basic knowledge of a programming language (e.g. Python).

It will be candidate’s advantage to have:

  • Knowledge of advanced laboratory techniques, such as DNA library preparation, target enrichment, and Illumina sequencing.
  • Experience with processing Illumina sequencing data.
  • Intermediate to advanced knowledge of a programming language (e.g. Python).
  • An interest in, and basic systematic knowledge of, a taxonomic group, such as mammals, birds, or insects (but not restricted to these).

It is expected that the candidate demonstrates:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English.
  • Self-motivation, enthusiasm, independence, and a strong and creative problem-solving ability.
  • Ability to collaborate and work comfortably in international teams.
  • Strong work ethic and commitment to the job.

Documented knowledge of English as stated here is required.

Emphasis will be put on the candidates potential for research, motivation and personal suitability for the position.

The position requires admission to the Faculty's PhD programme. Information about requirements is available here.


The application must be submitted electronically via www.jobbnorge.no and shall include:

  • Cover letter explaining your motivation and research interests
  • CV
  • Diplomas, diploma supplements and transcripts (all degrees)
  • Documentation on English proficiency. This website states how English profiency shall be documented.
  • Contact information to 1-3 references
  • Master thesis, and any other academic works
  • Project description, this should be related to the project theme "Optimizing methods for the processing of sedimentary ancient DNA data" (1 page), written in English

The documentation has to be in English or a Scandinavian language.

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.

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.

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.

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. UiT will emphasize making the necessary adaptations to the working conditions for employees with reduced functional ability.

We process personal data given in an application or CV in accordance with the Personal Data Act (Offentleglova). According to Offentleglova 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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