PhD Research Fellow in Technology

Deadline: 28.02.2023

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

About the position

We are recruiting for an exciting PhD position in the CoTecH Project The BioMEMS group at the Department of Microsystems at the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) are recruiting for a temporary position as a PhD Research Fellow.

The position is part of a collaborative project, “Co-Created Health Technology” (CoTecH, which is funded by the Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Industry). You will become a part of an internationally recognized research environment that combines MEMS devices with molecular biology.

The CoTecH project is intended as a capacity boost for a research and innovation partnership that embraces the health industry, health services, users, and researchers in Viken, Vestfold and Telemark counties, led by the University of South-Eastern Norway, for more information see: USN - CoTecH.

You will be part of a cross-disciplinary environment at the Department of Microsystems, the BioMEMS group, and the USN innovation centre. We offer supervision in various scientific disciplines like physics, electronics, mechanics, chemistry, biology, nanotechnology, microbiology and molecular biology. The candidate will report to the Head of Department

About the PhD-project

Today's handling of complex biological fluids can make it difficult to access specific cells or particles. A better pre-treatment process can create a direct access to these biological elements, and this can open scientific doors to better investigate the content, functionality and bioactivity of molecules, as well as nano and micro particles related to various health conditions such as sepsis, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, brain problems, viral pandemics and chronic respiratory diseases.

This research project will focus on the development of new innovative sample pre-treatment technologies, including separation, concentration and sorting, adapted to microfluidics, based on mechanical filtration, centrifugation, acoustic separation or dielectrophoresis. The candidate can also work on the development of new diagnostic platforms.

The main purpose of sample pre-treatment is to concentrate all targets, bacterial particles, abnormal cells or nanovesicles down to a sample volume of 10 microliters. This should make it possible to identify protein and nucleic acid biomarkers that exist in low concentrations, and which are important to detect and analyze. The detection of these molecular biomarkers can contribute to an early intervention that will prevent the development of a more serious disease with late-stage complications. Using new sample pre-processing methods, combined with new sensor technologies and integrated Lab-on-a-Chip systems, it may be possible to detect the very root cause of the disease with extremely high analytical sensitivity.

In the CoTecH project, the work carried out by the doctoral student will come under the theme of infection control. The work will support technological development in biomedicine, advanced materials, sensors and lab-on-a-chip platforms for better control of chronic and infectious diseases. The work will include characterization of biomaterials, molecular biology experiments, design and testing of integrated lab-on-chip platforms with sample pre-treatment functions.

The main supervisor will be Professor Frank Karlsen, but the candidate will work closely with the other scientific staff in the BioMEMS group. The appointment is for a term of 3 years without teaching obligations.


Applicants must have a master's degree (120 credits) or equivalent education with grade B or better. The master's degree should be in biotechnology, molecular biology, biomedicine, bioelectronics or applied micro- and nanosystems or related sciences. We are particularly looking for a candidate with expertise in medical health, primary care, biomedical engineering or health technology.

Furthermore, it is required that all applicants for positions in the CoTecH project communicate well in Norwegian and English, both orally and in writing.

The candidate should be a team player who is:

  • motivated and able to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration
  • have good communication and networking skills
  • proactive and accommodating
  • able to work independently and at the same time has motivation to share knowledge and take part in team work.

Personal suitability for the position will be emphasized.

It is a requirement that the successful applicant is granted admission to the university’s doctoral programme in Technology within three months of accession in the position. For admission to the Programme the weighted average grade is B or higher is usually required.

Co-operation between staff members is an integrated part of the working atmosphere at the University of South-Eastern Norway. The candidate must be motivated and demonstrate a proven ability to work effectively within a team and in a collegiate manner 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
  • A good social environment
  • Attractive welfare benefits in the State Pension Plan
  • Opportunity for physical activities within working hours


PhD Research Fellow (code 1017): NOK 501 200 a year. Further promotion will be based on time served in the position.

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:

  • Professor Frank Karlsen, Frank.karlsen@usn.no, phone: +47 40403480
  • For questions regarding the recruitment process, please contact:
  • Head of Section for recruitment, Britt Granseth Wien, britt.g.wien@usn.no

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:

  • Motivation letter (1 page)
  • Transcripts and diplomas of the Master's Degrees (120 ECTS)
  • Documentation of English proficiency •
  • 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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