PhD Research Fellow in Physics related to Meteorology and Icing on Helicopters

Deadline: 27.06.2023

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

UiT The Arctic University of Norway is a multi-campus comprehensive university at the international forefront. Our vision is to be a driving force for developing the High North. The Northern Sami notion eallju, which means eagerness to work, sets the tone for this motive power at UiT. Along with students, staff and the wider community, we aim to utilise our location in Northern Norway and Sápmi, our broad and diverse research and study portfolio and interdisciplinary advantage to shape the future.

Our social mission is to provide research-based education of high quality, perform artistic development and carry out research of the highest international quality standards in the entire range from basic to applied. We will convey knowledge about disciplines and contribute to innovation. Our social mission unites UiT across various studies, research fields and large geographical distances. This demands good cooperation with trade and industry and civil society as well as with international partners. We will strengthen knowledge-based and sustainable development at a regional, national and international level.

Academic freedom and scientific and ethical principles form the basis for all UiT’s activities. Participation, co-determination, transparency and good processes will provide the decision-making basis we need to make wise and far-sighted priorities. Our students and staff will have the opportunity to develop their abilities and potential. Founded on academic integrity, we will be courageous, committed and generous in close contact with disciplines, people and contemporary developments.

We will demonstrate adaptability and seek good and purposeful utilisation of resources, so we are ready to meet the expectations and opportunities of the future. We will strengthen the quality and impact of our disciplines and core tasks through the following three strategic priority areas.

Faculty of Sciences and Technology

The position

The Department of Physics and Technology announces a vacant PhD fellow position in the area of Meteorology at UiT - The Arctic University of Norway.

The position is available for commencement from autumn 2023, and the appointment is for a period of three years which corresponds to the nominal length of the PhD programme. 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 position is funded by the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation (Stiftelsen Norsk Luftambulanse), and is established in cooperation with UiT. There will also be a strong collaboration with the Norwegian Meteorological Insitute (MET Norway) in Tromsø and Oslo. This will strengthen the activity of both UiT and MET Norway, and hereby joining competences to solve future challenges in the Arctic. The position will be supervised by the Department of Physics and Technology with strong involvement from MET Norway and the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation.

The workplace is at UiT in Tromsø. This position will be associated with the Complex Systems Modelling (CSM) group at the Department of Physics and Technology. This group consists of three permanent academic staffs and several postdoctoral and PhD fellows. The position is also associated with ongoing research of the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation (NAAF). Currently there are around 30 PhD Candidates associated to NAAF. In addition, the successful candidate will be cooperating with the Development Centre for Weather Forecasting at MET Norway. This group consists of about 60 researchers and research meteorologists in Oslo, Tromsø, and Bergen.

The position’s field of research

The Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation (NAAF) aims to ensure that everyone who is acutely ill or seriously injured receives fast and correct medical help, no matter the location in Norway. In subfreezing temperatures, cloud water and liquid precipitation may freeze onto the rotors and the hull of the helicopters operated by NAAF. In a worst-case scenario, the air flow is disturbed in such a manner that the lifting force is hampered leading to failure of the aircraft. Thus, atmospheric icing may pose a serious threat to operations, both due to the danger imposed by the ice build-up during icing conditions, and to the cancellation of life-saving operations in the case of forecast warnings of hazardous icing conditions.

Today general warnings of moderate or severe icing are issued by aviation forecasters at MET Norway whenever hazardous icing conditions are expected. Such warnings are issued based on an atmospheric icing model in which some of the settings are adapted for fixed-wing aircrafts. This icing model is integrated into the HARMONIE-AROME operational atmospheric weather models of MET Norway with spatial resolutions of 2.5 km. The direct model output of these calculations is available to the helicopter pilots through the NAAFs web-portal However, these warnings and forecasts are not sufficiently suitable for the helicopters of the NAAF, and more detailed and accurate forecasts of icing for the helicopters of the NAAF are strongly desired. The NAAF has therefore initiated a project with the goal of increasing the accuracy of the forecasts of icing for their helicopters. In February and March 2023, a flight campaign together with AIRBUS in Brønnøysund was conducted. During this campaign, ice build-up, liquid water content, and droplet sizes were measured on an AIRBUS H145, one of the helicopter types operated by the NAAF. The campaign was strongly supported by MET Norway and UiT.

This PhD project is dedicated to increase the accuracy and quality of the icing information provided to the helicopter pilots of NAAF. The focus will be on improvement and refinement of the current icing model in HARMONIE-AROME, in particular based on the campaign data achieved during the winter 2023. Refinement and improvement may e.g. consist of: adaptation of the current icing model towards helicopter application, testing and refinement of the microphysics of the HARMONIE-AROME, uncertainty analysis of the current icing output, and adjusting the droplet spectra distributions currently applied. It may be necessary to conduct more observational campaigns during the PhD period, in which the PhD candidate will be a natural participant. Hence, some participation in actual helicopter flights should be expected.

The successful candidate will take part in a unique research project linking operational challenges of the NAAF with scientific challenges of Academia. The project will contribute to important knowledge which may save lives. Furthermore, the candidate will obtain a solid scientist education, advanced knowledge within physics and meteorology, and strong skills in programming, and experience with written and oral communication and international cooperation.


Further information about the position and project details please contact:

Researcher and Senior Meteorologist at MET Norway and Associate Professor II at UiT Eirik Mikal Samuelsen

Alternatively, information may also be achieved by contacting Professor in polar meteorology and climate dynamics Rune Grand Graversen:


This position requires a Norwegian Master’s degree within Meteorology, Oceanography or Physics, or a corresponding foreign Master’s degree recognized as equivalent to a Norwegian Master’s degree within the same areas. If you are near completion of your master’s degree, you may still apply

Other required qualification skills include:

  • Excellent skills in computer programming
  • Documented sufficiency in English
  • Excellence in master thesis work and from grade transcripts
  • Independence and self-motivation ability
  • Creativity and ability to think outside the box
  • Collaboration skills
  • Excellent work ethic and commitment to the job

It will be considered an advantage if you have working knowledge of Norwegian or any other Scandinavian language.

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 Science and Technology 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.

In order to gain admission to the programme, the applicant must have a grade point average of C or better for the master’s degree and for relevant subjects of the bachelor’s degree. 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 two months 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

The UiT campus is located near the centre of Tromsø, a vibrant city located in Northern Norway with approximately 75 000 inhabitants. The city is surrounded by the stunning landscape of Northern Scandinavia. The location also offers ample opportunities for e.g., sighting aurora, hiking and skiing.

We can also offer:

  • Involvement in an interesting and a unique research project
  • A fantastic work environment with friendly and dedicated colleagues
  • Excellent career opportunities
  • A large degree of independence in work
  • Opportunities to travel and meet other leading scientists within the field
  • 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
  • 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
  • Documentation of proficiency in Norwegian or a Scandinavian language (if applicable)
  • References 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 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. 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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