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PhD scholarship within Radioecology / Environmental Radioactivity

Deadline: 01.09.2019

About the position

The Section of Environmental Chemistry/CERAD Centre of Excellence, Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant 3-year PhD position within radioecology/­environ­mental radioactivity, focusing on speciation and dynamic terrestrial ecosystem transfer.

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 www.nmbu.no.

About MINA

The Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA) works with nature and the environment, sustainable use of natural resources, biological and geological processes.

MINA’s employees undertake teaching, research and dissemination within the fields of geology, hydrology and limnology, soil science, environmental chemistry, forestry, ecology, natural resource management, renewable energy, and nature-based tourism.

Our vision is to be a key actor in knowledge production and dissemination, and our goal is to deliver research of high, international quality, and varied and excellent teaching. The faculty’s employees are significant participants within their respective fields of expertise, both nationally and internationally. The faculty is dominated by a vital research culture and high levels of scientific production.

The faculty has about 200 employees, 90 PhD students and 650 students.

Read more about MINA here

The overarching goal of the research project is to investigate the dynamics of radionuclide (both anthropogenic and natural occurring) transfer from soil to plants and other selected organisms , and to link the transfer to speciation and mobility in soils. The work should focus on parameterization of transfer models and identify key factors contributing the overall uncertainties in environmental impact assessments.

To achieve this goal, two tasks are identified:

1) Laboratory experiments and/or field experiments using radioactive tracers to follow dynamic transfer of radionuclides from soils to vegetation and to selected organisms, forming a basis for model input variables.

2) Field work/experiments at selected sites to identify the most important soil parameters influencing the mobility in soils (Kd) and to identify the driving forces controlling uptake of radionuclides and metals into vegetation and to relevant organisms.

CERAD has a large national and international network, including several EU projects on Radioecology. The PhD student will be part of the CERAD consortium, and thereby work together with internationally renowned scientists within this area. This PhD work will also be part of both national and international project consortia providing access to experimental sites and samples as well collaboration with experts with a wide range of competencies.

The CERAD Centre of Excellence for Environmental Radioactivity was established in 2013 at NMBU in collaboration with the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, the Meteorological Institute, the National Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Institute of Water Research, and is funded until 2022 by the Research Council of Norway. CERAD has initiated long-term basic research to improve the ability to accurately assess the radiological impact and risks from environmental radioactivity, also combined with other stressors. By focusing on key factors contributing to the overall uncertainties, state-of-the-art tools and methods are developed to better manage those risks.

Read more about CERAD here.

Main tasks

The work will include both field studies and laboratory experiments using radioactive tracers.

The following tasks could be foreseen:

  • State of the art analysis to identify the speciation and mobility of selected radionuclides and associated trace elements in soil and transfer to plants
  • Characterization of selected contaminated soils
  • Determination of in situ soil Kd and link Kd with soil properties
  • Determination of the dynamic soil-to-plant transfer and link with soil properties
  • Linking the speciation of selected radionuclides and trace metals to mobility and biological uptake (plants/organisms)
  • Improve the parametrization for model development, model testing and model validation using field and experimental data.

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

Work will be part of a team of researchers, doctoral fellows and graduate students in the Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management.

Visits to institutions abroad should be expected.


The successful 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.

Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • The grades on MSc degree works
  • Analytical competence with respect to radionuclide and trace element (alpha-, beta- and gamma-spectroscopy, ICP-MS) measurements
  • Knowledge of radiochemical separation
  • Experience with laboratory and/or field experiments
  • Experiences in programming, modelling, or statistics would be an advantage

Personal characteristics important for the position are:

  • Ability to work independently as well as the ability to cooperate.
  • Good knowledge of the English language – both written and oral
  • Ability to work results-oriented, accurate and structured in a fast paced environment
  • Good communication skills, both related to teaching and research
  • Future-oriented, innovative and a team-player

Remuneration and information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD. Fellow, wage framework 20, alt. 10. 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:

NMBU offers:

  • An optimistic academic institution with focus on professional development, dissemination and competence.
  • An interdisciplinary and inclusive environment that provides exciting research- and development opportunities.
  • Daily contact with inspiring students and skilled colleagues

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: September 1st 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.

Printed material which cannot be sent electronically should be sent by surface mail to Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Department of Environmental Science, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, within September 1st 2019. Please quote reference number 19/03426.

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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