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PhD-position in Agroecology

Deadline: 04.10.2020

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

NMBU has a special responsibility for research and education that ensures the basis of life for future generations.

Sustainability is rooted in everything we do and we provide knowledge for life.

NMBU has 1700 employees and 5200 students and is organized in seven faculties. NMBU has a campus in Ås and in Oslo. In 2021 we are co-located on Ås. Further information on NMBU is available at www.nmbu.no.

About The Faculty of Biosciences

The Faculty of Biosciences is organized into two departments: Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences and Department of Plant Sciences. The main objective of the Faculty of Biosciences is to contribute to the development of sustainable agriculture and food production systems through basic and applied research on plants and animals including fish (aquaculture).

Research is organized in the following groups: Breeding and quantitative genetics, Ethology and Animal Environment, Nutrition and Physiology in Monogastric Animals, Ruminant Nutrition and Physiology, Genome Biology, Agroecology, Genetics and Plant Breeding, Plant Biology and Plant Biotechnology, Plant Protection and Food Crops.

The Faculty houses Centre for Integrative Genetics (CIGENE), the research center for Research-based Innovation (SFI) – Foods of Norway, the Imaging Centre and the National Centre for Urban Agriculture (NCUA).

The Faculty is responsible for bachelor- and master programmes in Biology, Animal Science and Plant Science, and international master programmes in Agroecology, Plant Science, Aquaculture, Animal Breeding Genetics and Feed Manufacturing Technology. PhD programmes include Animal Science and Aquaculture, and Plant Sciences. The faculty employs approximately 240 scientists, technicians, and administrative personnel. Around 480 bachelor and master students and 90 PhD students are enrolled in educational programmes within the faculty, offering a stimulating and supportive learning environment.

The Department of Plant Sciences (IPV) has the national responsibility for education and research on sustainable production and utilisation of plants for food, feed, ornamental and recreational purposes. The Department is conducting research on crop plants and plants in natural ecosystems, addressing major societal challenges related to sustainable plant production. The research and teaching focus on fundamental plant biology, sustainable agriculture, agroecology, safe and sufficient food and feed, innovation in plant production systems, and plant breeding.

About the position

The Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Biosciences at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant 4-year PhD-position in agroecology.

The position is divided into 75% PhD-work and 25% administrative tasks and teaching in the agroecology group.

The overarching food system, which is the study area of agroecology, is currently facing a number of systemic and complex challenges regarding environmental, health and socio-economic impacts of production, processing, distribution and consumption. Research has shown that urban agriculture can function as a remedy to several of these challenges and improve the quality of urban life. Still, experiences from current research projects in Norway like “Cultivating Public Spaces (CPS) and Sustainable Adaptation - Resilience in Urban Regeneration (ADAPT)” show that there are great challenges with establishing and maintaining urban agriculture projects, for both private and public actors.

Therefore, there is a need for a better understanding of how we make the transition to urban agriculture as an integrated and permanent part of urban areas. What characterises the stages of development of this transition? What are the supporting and hindering forces of these stages? What characterises the internal and external transition?

Project and supervisor group

  • Senior researcher Anna Marie Nicolaysen,
  • Prof. Geir Lieblein and
  • Prof. Edvin Østergaard

Main tasks

The PhD project will, by investigating initiatives of urban agriculture in the Oslofjord region, have as primary goals:

  • Development of a model that can be used actively in the transition process. This includes (a) identifying stages of the transition from temporary initiatives to urban agriculture as an integrated part of urban areas and (b) using knowledge about these stages to optimize the transition process.
  • Explore specific opportunities and challenges for integrating urban agriculture within public spaces in case study areas in the Oslofjord region (with focus on social and environmental sustainability, and urban resilience).
  • Develop a vision for urban agriculture in the Oslofjord region, identify supporting and hindering forces for a transition toward the vision, and propose an action plan for change.
  • Develop knowledge about how stakeholders in urban agriculture learn in the transition process.
  • Include investigations of practical “know-how” related to maintenance, plant production, and types of produce necessary for public space urban agriculture.

The candidate is expected to enter a plan for the progress of the work towards a PhD degree during the first months of the appointment, with a view to completing a doctorate within the PhD scholarship period.


The applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD programme at NMBU. The applicant must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, with 120 credits from a MSc in Agroecology. The applicant must have a documented strong academic background from previous studies and be able to document proficiency in both written and oral Norwegian and English. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD Regulations and the relevant PhD programme description. The applicant must document expertise and interest in the research subject.

Required Academic qualifications:

  • MSc in Agroecology

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Experience as researcher in the field of urban agriculture in Norway from an agroecology perspective
  • Good organisational skills, and ability to work independently and in an interdisciplinary education and research team
  • Experience with and knowledge of the urban agriculture scene in Norway
  • Experience with qualitative methods such as interviews, participant observation and workshop as well as coding and analysis of qualitative data
  • Experience of working with action-oriented research and systems thinking

Remuneration and further information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD Fellow. PhD Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 479.600,-) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

Employment is conducted according to national guidelines for University and Technical College PhD scholars.

For further information, please contact:

  • Dr. Anna Marie Nicolaysen, Agroecology Researcher, E-mail: [email protected]; phone +47 67232787

Information for PhD applicants and general information to applicants


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 4th October 2020

Applications should include (electronically) a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, full publication list, copies of degree certificates and transcripts of academic records (all certified), and a list of two persons who may act as references (with phone numbers and e-mail addresses).

Publications should be included electronically within the application deadline. The relevant NMBU Department may require further documentation, e.g. proof of English proficiency.

Printed material which cannot be sent electronically should be sent by surface mail to the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Biosciences, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, within 4th October 2020 Please quote reference number 20/03578.

If it is difficult to judge the applicant’s contribution for publications with multiple authors, a short description of the applicant’s contribution must be included.

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