Ledig stilling ved UiT Norges arktiske universitet

PhD Candidate in stochastic modelling and statistical analysis

Deadline: 19.01.2020

The position

The Department of Physics and Technology announces a vacant PhD candidate position in the area of stochastic modelling and analysis of fluctuations in fusion plasmas, space dust and the climate system at UiT the Arctic University of Norway, Faculty of Science and Technology.

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 position is available for commencement from early 2020, and the appointment is for a period of four years and the nominal length of the PhD program is three years. The fourth year is used for teaching or other duties for the department. The duties are normally distributed evenly over the four years.

The position is a part of the project “Intermittent fluctuations in physical systems” which is a project funded by the Tromsø Research Foundation. The candidate will work in a large, international and interdisciplinary team and will have possibilities for research stays abroad. The position will be supervised by the Department of Physics and Technology as well as the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and/or international project collaborators.

The position’s field of research and the role of the PhD Candidate

Many physical and natural systems such as atmospheric winds, astrophysical plasmas and near-wall turbulence in magnetically confined fusion plasmas are characterized by large-amplitude, intermittent fluctuations. These can be recognized by skewed and flattened probability densities far from the normal distribution. As a result, descriptions and methods assuming normal statistics may fail or have very poor predictive powers. Simply estimating mean values and standard deviations does not capture the nature of these fluctuations and using such methods may lead to fatal underestimation of the likelihood of extreme events.

A promising way to model such fluctuations is to use the filtered Poisson process (FPP). This is a model for describing measurement time series as a superposition of uncorrelated pulses with fixed shape but randomly distributed amplitudes, arrival and duration times, or equivalently, the result of a characteristic response to pulse-like forcing. As such, it is a linear model for investigating and describing the statistical properties of non-linear systems. The model takes large-amplitude fluctuations directly into account. The UiT fusion energy research group has used the FPP for pioneering analysis of intermittent near-wall turbulent fluctuations in magnetically confined fusion plasmas, explaining several well-established experimental observations.

This PhD project is dedicated to stochastic modelling with the FPP as the basic model and time series analysis of experimental data from one or two of the following application areas:

  • Turbulence in the boundary of nuclear fusion energy devices.
  • Cosmic dust particles in the heliosphere.
  • Climate response to volcanic activity.
  • Turbulent transport of atmospheric aerosols.

The position’s affiliation

The Department of Physics and Technology consists of six research groups: (1) Complex Systems Modelling, (2) Earth Observation, (3) Machine Learning, (4) Sustainable Energy, (5) Space Physics, and (6) Ultrasound, Microwaves and Optics. The department provides education on the Bachelor, Master, and PhD level, and comprises 23 permanent scientific positions and a technical/administrative staff of 12 persons.

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics has 17 permanent scientific positions and five research groups: (1) Complex Systems Modelling, (2) Algebra, (3) Differential Geometry and Mathematical Physics, and (4) Machine Learning.

This position will be associated with the Complex Systems Modelling 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 the Space Physics group at the Department of Physics and Technology and the Complex Systems Modelling group at Department of Mathematics and Statistics.


Further information about the position, UiT, and project details is available by contacting associate professor and project manager Audun Theodorsen:


This position requires a Norwegian Master’s degree within space or plasma physics, fluid dynamics, climate dynamics or similar, or a corresponding foreign Master’s degree recognized as equivalent to a Norwegian Master’s degree within the same areas.

The suitable candidate must have a background in physics or applied mathematics and should have excellent skills in programming and English. Knowledge of stochastic processes and/or time series analysis is considered an advantage. Other required qualification skills include:

  • Excellence in master thesis work and from grade transcripts
  • Independence and self-motivation
  • Creativity and ability to think outside the box
  • Excellent work ethic and commitment to the job

The position requires admission to the PhD programme. Admission requires that the candidate has at least 5 years of higher education, comparable to 300 ECTS. The applicant must have a Master’s thesis evaluated equivalent to 30 ECTS or more. The applicant must have grade C or better on the Masters’s degree, and an average of C or better. More information about requirements and the PhD programme is available here: https://uit.no/nt/phd

Candidates with a foreign education will be evaluated on whether the educational background is equivalent to Norwegian higher education. We use national guidelines according to NOKUTs country database. Applicants from some countries will have to document additional higher education in order to be admitted.

International experience is an advantage. The assessment will emphasize motivation and personal suitability for the position.


Your application must include:

  • Application and motivation letter (max 1 page)
  • CV (max 2 pages)
  • Documentation of English language proficiency
  • Three references, preferably including the Master’s thesis supervisor
  • Master’s thesis, and, if applicable, other academic works, up to ten
  • Diplomas and transcripts (diploma supplement) for both bachelor and master level education

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.

All documents and letters must be in English or a Scandinavian language. Thesis and other academic works should preferably be in English or a Scandinavian language. The application must be submitted electronically through Jobbnorge.

We offer

  • Involvement in an interesting research project
  • A fantastic work environment with nice and dedicated colleagues
  • Good 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

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. More practical information for working and living in Norway can be found here: http://uit.no/mobility

Terms of employment

Remuneration of PhD Candidate positions are in salary code 1017, and normally starts at salary grade 54 on the pay scale for Norwegian state employees. There is a 2 % deduction for contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund. In addition, UiT pays approx. 12 % directly to the Pension Fund on top of the salary.

UiT has good welfare arrangements for employees, including beneficial arrangements for pension, insurances and loans in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

You have to be qualified for and participate in our PhD study program. As many as possible should have the opportunity to undertake organized research training; thus if you already hold a PhD degree, or have equivalent competence, we will not appoint you to this position.

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 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 abilit

According to the Norwegian Freedom and Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

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