Postdoctoral Fellow in modeling using ancient sedimentary DNA data

Deadline: 09.01.2023

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 of Fine Arts

The position

A Postdoctoral Research Fellow position is available at the Arctic University Museum of Norway.

The position is a fixed term position for a duration of two years preferable by 1 st of April 2023. Appointment to the position of Postdoctoral Research Fellow is mainly intended to provide qualification for work in top academic positions. It is a prerequisite that the applicant can carry out the project over the full course of the employment period. No person may hold more than one fixed term position as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the same institution.

The applicant will join an international team of researchers on the project “IceAGenT - Ice Age Genomic Tracking of Refugia and Postglacial Dispersal” financed by ERC. The main goal is to forecast the effect of environmental change on future species distribution and genetic diversity. The applicant will be given access to a unique large-scale ancient DNA dataset that can be combined with advances in machine learning technics. Sedimentary ancient DNA provides high-resolution time series from the past. The post doc will use a sedaDNA dataset covering the regions of Iceland, Svalbard, Fennoscandia, Polar Ural and south to the Alps. Both plant and mammals’ data are available from around 50 sediment cores, as well as climate reconstructions.

The position's field of research

The postdoctoral researcher will leverage the data time series of species and genetic diversity to model past ecosystem dynamics in order to forecast possible future responses to climate changes. They will first use species distribution models together with data on past and future climatic conditions to predict species and genetic accumulation over time as a function of distance to refugia and biological traits. Second, the candidate will use a recently developed machine learning approach to calibrate a process-based model of arctic ecosystem dynamic. Processmodels are required to describe ecosystem dynamics and anticipate their response to climate change, but previous efforts lacked both ecosystem time series and a numerical parameterisation approach. By combining sedimentary ancient DNA time series with a neural network approach, the postdoctoral research will calibrate the parameters of a model of ecosystem dynamics including processes of abiotic niche filtering, colonisation, competition and herbivory. The model will be used to explain species and genetic diversity build-up during the Holocene and predict future trajectories under climate change.

The position’s affiliation

Arctic University Museum of Norway (UM) is North Norway's oldest scientific institution, established in 1872. In 1976, the museum became part of UiT The Arctic University of Norway. The museum's main tasks are research and research communication, development and preservation of scientific collections, dissemination, management and teaching. Both natural and cultural science materials are collected from all over Northern Norway and polar regions. The cultural field includes Sami culture and history, polar history, human-animal relationships, museology and archeology. The natural sciences include botany, zoology and palaeontology, and focus research on the biodiversity of northern regions both in the past and the present using environmental DNA (eDNA), and traditional methods. UM also consists of Tromsø Arctic Alpine Botanical Garden, the Polar Museum, and MS Polstjerna.

The position is attached to the newly established Norwegian Centre for Arctic Ecosystem Genomics (ArcEcoGen). ArcEcoGen focuses on the combined effect of humans, climate, and biota on northern ecosystem dynamics in the past, present, and future using genetic approaches. A key goal of our group is to build up a diverse, rigorous and internationally leading research group in ecosystem genomics. We have large collections of northern organisms and archaeological material that we use for research and generating DNA reference libraries. Our collections also include sediment samples from arctic and alpine lakes as well as DNA extracts form sediments, organisms, and archaeological sites. We also have fully equipped laboratories and infrastructure for recovery and analyses of modern, ancient and DNA, as well as field equipment for sediment coring and site investigations.

The successful applicant is expected to spend most of their time in Tromsø, but a research stay with our project collaborator Loic Pellissier at ETH in Zürich, Switzerland is planned.


For further information about the position, please contact:

Professor Inger Greve Alsos:

or Museum Director Dr Geir Rudolfsen,


We are looking for a candidate with a strong interest in developing and applying statistical tools to analyse long-term time series. A PhD degree in ecological modelling or another relevant field is required. Also, knowledge of artic and/or alpine plant ecology is required. In addition to skills in modelling, skills in statistics, machine learning, northern ecology, DNA metabarcoding, and next generation sequencing are advantageous. Excellent English language skills are required. Other advantages include fluency in Norwegian/Scandinavian, and experience in teaching and outreach. Personal suitability to the team and the ability to work in a team are important.

Qualification with a PhD is required before commencement in the position. If you’re at the final stages of your PhD, you may still apply if you have submitted your PhD thesis for doctoral degree evaluation within the application deadline. You must submit the thesis with your application. You must have dissertated before the start date of the position.

The successful applicant must have:

  • A PhD or an equivalent doctoral degree in subjects relevant to the research description
  • A research profile with relevant experience in modelling and analysis of large datasets
  • Good knowledge of ecology and statistics
  • An upward academic trajectory and strong potential to execute competitive research projects at a high international level
  • A relevant and strong publication record
  • Excellent English language skills (written and spoken)

Desirable qualifications:

  • Knowledge about northern ecosystems
  • Knowledge of artic or alpine plant ecology
  • Skills in statistics and machine learning
  • Knowledge of DNA metabarcoding and/or next generation sequencing
  • Teaching and supervision skills of master’s and PhD students
  • Track record of disseminating research through a variety of media to scientific and public audiences
  • Command of a Scandinavian language. Nordic applicants can document their capabilities by attaching their high school diploma

In the assessment, the main emphasis will be placed on the submitted works and the project proposal for the qualifying work. Emphasis shall also be placed on experience with popularisation/dissemination of research, academic policy and administrative activity.

The committee will also consider the candidate’s motivation, potential for research, and personal suitability for the position.

We are looking for candidates who:

  • Have the ability to create and contribute to a well-functioning, inclusive and productive research environment
  • Have good networking skills
  • Have the ability to collaborate
  • Have the ability to cooperate and communicate well with other members of staff

At UiT we put emphasis on the quality, relevance and significance of the research work and not on where the work is published, in accordance with the principles of The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

Inclusion and diversity

UiT The Arctic University i 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 is 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 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

  • A highly competent research environment
  • 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.


Your application must include:

  • Cover letter including a short description of interests and reasons for applying for the position
  • CV containing a complete overview of experience, professional work and references
  • Diplomas, diploma supplements and transcripts (all degrees, in original language and translated)
  • Contact information to 2-3 references
  • A list of your academic production
  • Description of your most relevant academic works, up to ten. The doctoral thesis is regarded as one work
  • An outline of research plan and how your skills align with the aim of the IceAGenT project (1-4 pages).

All documentation to be considered must be in a Scandinavian language or English. We only accept applications and documentation sent via Jobbnorge within the application deadline.


The applicants will be assessed by an expert committee. The committee's mandate is to undertake an assessment of the applicants' qualifications based on the written material presented by the applicants, and the detailed description draw up for the position.

The applicants who are assessed as best qualified will be called to an interview. The interview should among other things, aim to clarify the applicant’s motivation and personal suitability for the 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.

The remuneration for Postdoctoral research fellow is in accordance with the State salary scale code 1352. A compulsory contribution of 2 % to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted.

The successful candidate must be willing to get involved in the ongoing development of their department and the university as a whole.

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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