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PhD research fellowship within functional and comparative fish genomics

Deadline: 31.01.2020

Are you interested in functional genomic research aimed at increasing the sustainability of European aquaculture?

About the position

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.


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). 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 Genome Science, 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.

The Faculty of Biosciences is inviting applications for a 3-year PhD research fellowship within functional and comparative fish genomics.

The position is financed with strategic funding from NMBU and will be linked to the EU funded project “AQUA-FAANG: Advancing European Aquaculture by Genome Functional Annotation” (https://www.aqua-faang.eu/), which seeks to generate genome-wide maps of functional elements for six commercially important fish species within European aquaculture and exploit their contribution to variation in traits of commercial relevance.

The PhD project will focus on comparative functional annotation of fish genomes with the goal of improving our understanding of gene regulatory mechanisms. A wealth of annotation data will be generated within the AQUA-FAANG project (RNA-Seq, ATAC-Seq and CHiP-Seq data), which this PhD will have an opportunity to expand upon by surveying other functional assays and long-read based sequencing approaches. Gene editing by CRISPR-Cas9 may be utilized to functionally test hypothetical regulatory mechanisms.

The successful candidate will join CIGENE (https://cigene.no/), a multidisciplinary genome biology research group possessing broad expertise in genetics, evolutionary and comparative genomics, bioinformatics and systems biology, and operating comprehensive molecular lab facilities. In addition, the PhD project will be developed and performed in collaboration with Dan Macqueen (https://www.macqueenresearchgroup.com/) at The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, involving mobility between the two research groups.

Main tasks

The main tasks will be to perform large scale comparative analyses of existing transcriptomics and epigenomics data across multiple fish species relevant for European aquaculture and develop new datasets (describing splice variants and structural variations, other functional assays, functional validation etc.) in salmon to support the investigation. The candidate will work in close collaboration with other PhD-students and postdoctoral researchers at CIGENE, NMBU and Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh.

Qualification requirements, desired experiences, knowledge and personal qualities

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 program, 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.

Required Academic qualifications

  • Master’s degree in genomics, molecular biology, bioinformatics, or similar
  • Experience with analyses of genomics/transcriptomics/epigenomics data (i.e. functional omics data)
  • Familiarity with at least one programming language (R, python, perl, etc)

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Strong molecular biology skills, and relevant experience with the technologies and lab techniques mentioned in this advertisement
  • Experience with comparative analyses of omics data across species
  • Experience with using computer code version control tools such as git/github
  • Strong statistical skill-set
  • Ability for independent work displaying initiative and creative views
  • Analytical and academic approach to research questions

You need to:

  • have good collaborative skills
  • be proficient in English, both written and spoken.

Remuneration and 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:

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: 31st of January 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 31st of January 2020. Please quote reference number 20/00051

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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