Postdoctoral research fellow: environmental microbiology

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

About KBM

The KBM faculty has about 160 employees, 50 PhD students and 500 BSc and MSc students. The faculty has 11 research groups within chemistry and biochemistry, microbiology and microbial gene technology, bioinformatics and data analysis, food science and nutrition.

KBM aims at a strong research position, and collaborates in networks and research projects both nationally and internationally.

The NMBU Nitrogen group is a mid-sized (20-25 people), dynamic research group spanning two NMBU faculties. We have ongoing collaborations with several strong research groups at universities across the world (Europe, USA, China, New Zealand) and with national and international industries.

Our core interest is the nitrogen cycle with particular emphasis on the microbial processes driving the emission of the climate gas N2O. Our research spans studies of microorganisms in pure cultures, complex systems and field trials and our approach combines molecular biology techniques, (meta)-genomics/proteomics, robotics/gas measurements and mathematical modelling.

About the position

The Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science (KBM) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant 4 year Post Doctoral position within environmental microbiology.

The candidate will be anchored in the Microbial Ecology and Physiology group at KBM which is part of the NMBU Nitrogen group.

The post doc fellow will be involved in two research projects, financed by the Research Council of Norway and by the EU ERA-Net program, aiming at developing novel biotechnologies for reducing emissions of the greenhouse gas N2O. We also announce a vacant PhD position, for working together with the postdoc.

A common goal for the two projects is to identify bacteria that have a strong capacity to reduce N2O, to reveal the mechanisms behind this, and to explore their survival and competitiveness in soil.

In collaboration with the international project partners, the postdoctoral fellow will work with two options for industrial-scale introduction of N2O-reducing bacteria to soil:

  • Rhizobia as N2O sinks: To find strains that are both effective N2O-reducers and effective N2 fixing symbionts, suitable as inoculants for various leguminous crops.
  • Digestate bacteria: To enrich bacteria with strong potential for N2O reduction, suitable for addition to digestates used for fertilization.

This research is at the core of NMBU Nitrogen Group, and draws heavily on the group’s unique infrastructure and ongoing research on the regulatory biology of denitrification. The digestate-project involves close collaboration with waste- and biogas industries in Norway and abroad. The rhizobium project involves small-scale inoculant producers in Europe and Africa. More information about the projects is found on our group webpage.

Main tasks

  • Enrichment culturing of N2O reducing bacteria in digestates
  • Metagenomic and proteomic analyses of enrichment cultures
  • Isolation of N2O reducers, and characterization of their regulation of anoxic respiration and capacity to reduce N2O
  • Determination of genotypes and denitrification regulatory phenotypes of Rhizobia
  • Co-supervision of PhD students

Qualifications and skills

Academic qualifications:

The successful applicant must hold (or expect to complete within March/April 2019) a PhD within the triangle biochemistry-microbiology-bioinformatics.

Candidates with additional knowledge from one or more of the following areas will be preferred:

  • Microbial physiology
  • Genomics/metagenomics
  • Proteomics
  • Enzyme kinetics
  • Experience working with the R statistical package

Personal skills:

Desired traits and skills:

  • Curiosity and high motivation for research
  • Interest in and patience with experimental work
  • Strong communication skills, both written and oral
  • Experience in writing scientific articles
  • Analytical skills
  • Interest in and ability to collaborate
  • Ability to work independently
  • Flexibility, robustness and staying power

Remuneration and information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1352 Postdoctoral Fellow, wage framework 24 (salary grade 59-77) (NOK 515 200-731 400), depending on qualifications.

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

For further information, please contact:

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: 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). The relevant NMBU Department may require further documentation, e.g. proof of English proficiency.

Up to ten publications selected by the applicant as most relevant must be attached to the application. If it is difficult to identify the contribution of the applicant in multiple-author publications, a short explanation about the applicant’s part of the work is suggested. These publications should reflect the academic qualifications asked for.

Printed material which cannot be sent electronically should be sent by surface mail to Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, within 28.02.2019. Please quote reference number 19/00319.

Applicants invited for an interview will be asked to present verified copies of diplomas and certificates.

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