PhD Research Fellow in Geosciences (Improved mapping and forecasting of slushflow hazards in Norway)

Deadline: 31.01.2022

University of South-Eastern Norway

The University of South-Eastern Norway, USN, is one of Norway’s largest higher education institutions, with around 18,000 students and 1,900 employees across eight different campuses.

We offer studies, research and knowledge dissemination, all targeting various professions and working life and with a high level of quality internationally. Our goal as a University is to create value both for the individual student and for business and commerce, the public sector and society in general. We achieve this by utilising the best tools we have: education and research.

USN is a University with a strong social commitment where studies and working life are integrated. At USN, we focus on practice-relevant, profession-oriented and applied research and education.

The students shall benefit from innovative educational methods and challenging studies closely associated with society's requirements and needs. They will learn how to adapt to a society and working life that is constantly changing. The University shall meet major social challenges with knowledge and expertise, helping to promote practical solutions, structural changes and new ways of thinking. USN’s academic activities shall be embodied by a clear dedication to the UN’s sustainable development goals. The University aims to realise this main profile in close cooperation with society and working life.

For more information on USN, please go to www.usn.no

The Faculty of Technology, Natural Sciences, and Maritime Sciences have a vacancy for a position as PhD Research Fellow in Geosciences - Improved mapping and forecasting of slushflow hazards in Norway

About the position

The Faculty of Technology, Natural Sciences, and Maritime Sciences has a vacancy for a 100% position as Ph.D. Research Fellow in Geosciences from 01.04.22, or as soon as possible after this date.

The position is located at the Department of Natural Sciences and Environmental Health and reports to the Head of Department. The place of employment is mainly in Bø, in the Municipality of Midt-Telemark, Vestfold and Telemark County, Norway.

The appointment is for a term of three years without a teaching requirement. A four-year duration of appointment with a 25 % teaching requirement can be considered, depending on the needs of the Department and the competence of the applicant. The period of employment is determined during the recruitment process. There is a premise for employment that the Ph.D. Research Fellow is enrolled in USN’s Ph.D. Program in Ecology within three months.

About the PhD-project

The aim of this project is to improve documentation and mapping of slushflows throughout the entire of Norway. Slushflows are fast and flood-like mass movements of water-saturated snow. They are observed globally in areas with seasonal snow cover. Unlike most other mass-movement hazards such as snow avalanches and landslides, slushflows initiate in depressions along with existing drainage patterns or on relatively gentle slopes, up to 30 degrees, where the water supply is larger than what is draining out from the area. This project will focus on developing a new methodology that combines sedimentological investigations, close-range remote sensing techniques (i.e., LiDAR and drone photogrammetry), and machine learning to improve the mapping and forecasting of slushflow hazards in Norway.

The following specific research question will be addressed in this project:

  • What are the geomorphological and sedimentological characteristics of slushflows? How well are we able to identify the deposition from known historic slushflows, and how fast do depositions degenerate?
  • Suggest a new/improved guide to distinguish the difference between debris flows and slushflow deposits.
  • How can close-range remote sensing data improve the knowledge of the initiation area parameters and spatial characteristics of slushflows? Can the spatial characteristics of slushflows learned from the close-range remote sensing data be recognized from long-range remote sensing data?
  • Improve the models of slushflow danger zones throughout entire Norway with machine learning/deep learning.

Publication of research results in international peer-reviewed journals is expected.

The primary supervisor will be Prof. Dieu Tien Bui at USN, and the secondary supervisors will be Assoc. Prof. Johanna Anjar from USN, Assoc. Prof. Endre Før Gjermundsen from USN, and Senior Geophysicist Monica Sund from Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). The applicant will be part of the Geoscience Network at USN.


Applicants to the Ph.D. position must have a Master’s degree or equivalent in geology, physical geography, or related subjects. The degree must be accomplished before the application deadline.

The successful candidate should:

  • Hold a Master’s degree or equivalent in geology, physical geography, GIS, or related fields.
  • Have experience combining geoscience and GIS
  • Have excellent presentation and writing skills in English
  • Have fieldwork experience.

The successful candidate is desired to have:

  • Experience from one or more of the following fields: natural hazard studies, surveying, including collection and use of LiDAR data and drone photogrammetry, programming, natural hazards modelling, ground-penetrating radar, sedimentology, Quaternary geology.
  • Knowledge on processes in snow and/or gravity flows.
  • Be familiar with fieldwork off the beaten track.

The successful candidate should be creative, analytical, and highly self-motivated, and possess good collaborative skills. You work independently, but also enjoy working in a team and benefit from collaborations with other Ph.D. students and researchers in an international environment. You appreciate a combination of analytical work in the office and data collection in the field. Experience in scientific publishing is beneficial but not crucial.

It is a requirement that the successful candidate is granted admission to the USN’s Ph.D. Program in Ecology within three months of accession in the position. For admission to the Program, the candidate must have a grade B (weighted average) or higher in his/her Master’s degree or equivalent higher education.

Co-operation between staff members is an integrated part of the working atmosphere at the University of South-Eastern Norway. Therefore, the candidate must be motivated and demonstrate a proven ability to work effectively within a team and collegiate to formulate and realize common objectives.

We offer

  • A stimulating and growing research environment, with good opportunities to develop your career and your academic skills
  • An opportunity to contribute with new knowledge to important areas of society.
  • A good social environment
  • Cross faculty opportunities
  • International collaboration and networking
  • Attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement
  • Opportunity for physical activities within working hours


PhD Research Fellow (code 1017): NOK 491 200 a year. Further promotion will be based on time served in the position. In special cases, employment in code 1378 (NOK 491 200 – 626100 a year) may be considered.

A statutory contribution to the state pension plan will be deducted from the employee’s salary.

Other information

The Academic Appointments Board for PhD Research Fellowships is responsible for the appointment. An expert assessment of applicants will be carried out. The candidates deemed best qualified will be invited to an interview.

The person appointed must comply with the laws, regulations and agreements that apply at any given time to the post. Please note that approved work permit is a prerequisite for the employment.

According to its human resources policy, the University of South-Eastern Norway targets a balanced gender composition and aims to recruit persons with a background as an immigrant.

The University contributes to the Inkluderingsdugnaden (a voluntary scheme to promote inclusion), and it is our aim that our employees, to the fullest extent possible, shall reflect the diversity of the general population. We therefore encourage qualified applicants with disabilities to apply for the post. The University will facilitate the workplace for employees with disabilities.

Pursuant to section 25, 2nd paragraph of the Freedom of Information Act, information on the applicant may be disclosed even if the applicant has requested not be included on the list of applicants. Applicants will be notified if such requests are not allowed.

Contact information

For more information about the position, please contact:

For questions regarding the recruitment process, please contact: Head of Department Live Semb Vestgarden, [email protected] / +4735952797 or HR Advisor Cathrine Haugen Fagerli, [email protected]

How to apply

The University of South-Eastern Norway makes use of online application management. Applicants to the post must register their application and CV with enclosures online via the Jobbnorge recruitment portal by clicking on the link on the right-hand side – “Søk stillingen” (Apply for the post).

The following documents shall be attached to the online application:

  • Transcripts and diplomas of Bachelor’s (180 ECTS) and Master's Degrees (120 ECTS)
  • A letter of motivation
  • Any scientific publications and a list of these
  • Three references (contact information)

Please note that all documents must be in a Scandinavian language or in English. Any translations must be certified.

The application will be assessed on the basis of the attached documentation as requested above. Each applicant is responsible for ensuring that the required documentation has been uploaded with the application deadline.

The University has been awarded a Charter & Code certificate by the European Commission, and is entitled to use the HR Excellence in Research (HRS4R) logo. The University is also a member of the EURAXESS network, which contributes to good working conditions for mobile researchers.

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