PhD scholarship within molecular plant pathology

Application deadline: 28.02.2019

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 the autumn of 2020 we are co-located on Ås. Further information on NMBU is available at

The Faculty of Biosciences (BIOVIT)

BIOVIT is organized in 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). The faculty houses Centre for Integrative Genetics (CIGENE) and the research center for Research-based Innovation (SFI) – Foods of Norway.

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. There are currently 480 bachelor and master students, and 90 PhD students, enrolled in these programmes. The faculty has approximately 220 permanent and temporary scientific employees, including technicians, and 18 administrative positions.

About the position

The Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Biosciences, at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant 3 year PhD–position related to plant pathology.

The project PROTECTA (“Pathogen-Informed Resistance to Oomycete Diseases in Ecosystems, Agriculture and Aquaculture”) is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network with 19 academic and industry partners located across Europe that will employ in total 15 PhD candidates.

The project is associated with The Department of Plant Sciences, the Plant Protection and Food Crops group. The candidate will mainly be located at NIBIO Biotechnology and Plant health, the main hub for plant pathology research in Norway. The research group has ample experience and several ongoing projects on the pathosystem strawberry-P. cactorum.

The PhD project at NMBU concerns fundamental and applied aspects of the interactions between strawberry and an important eukaryotic plant pathogen, Phytophthora cactorum that cause crown rot. The focus of this project will be to identify genes and proteins involved in the disease development as well as host plant recognition and defence activation in strawberry.

PROTECTA aims to develop new and innovative ways to control oomycete diseases across the agriculture, environment, forestry and aquaculture sectors. We will study oomycete pathogens and their hosts in multidisciplinary cross-sectoral projects.

We will work closely with plant breeding, plant protection and aquaculture companies to translate our results into new crop varieties with durable resistance, new ways to protect fish in aquaculture and new biological control methods to protect agricultural systems and reduce European dependence on chemical pesticides, thuscontributing to the implementation of the mandatory EU directive on integrated pest management in Europe.

Students will be well-connected to relevant industry mentors and undertake secondments at different locations in the consortium.

Main tasks

  • Identify effectors involved in disease establishment and plant defence
  • Identify candidate crown rot defence and resistance genes through genome targeted transcriptome sequencing of plant lines diverging for disease susceptibility
  • Establish a functional validation system for candidate effectors/receptors

The selected 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.

Academic qualifications

Required academic qualifications

  • An MSc degree in plant pathology, molecular biology, microbiology, or similar
  • Experience with molecular biology lab work

Desired academic qualifications

  • Experience with plant pathogens
  • Experience with plants

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, where 120 credits are at master's degree level. The applicant must have a documented strong academic background from previous studies, and be able to document proficiency in both written and oral 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.

Personal skills

  • Good abilities to work independently and take the initiative
  • Good collaborative skills
  • Result oriented
  • Interest for research
  • Good communicative skills, orally and written, in English, are essential

Remuneration and information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 (PhD Fellow), wage framework 20 (salary grade 51). PhD Fellows are normally assigned pay grade 51 (NOK449 400) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

For further information, please contact:

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

Information to applicants


Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for a position the candidate must not have worked, or resided, in NORWAY for more than 12 months in the last 36 months.

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: 28.02.2019

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.

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