PhD fellowship in statistical methods for integration of high-dimensional data

Deadline: February 24, 2019

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

The Faculty of Health Sciences at UiT The Arctic University of Norway brings together a wide range of health-related education pathways and interdisciplinary health research. Read more about us at

The Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Community Medicine announces a vacant PhD position in the research group System epidemiology in the field of statistics and pattern recognition/machine learning.

The position is available from June-August 2019 and for a period of four years.

The PhD fellowship is a training position, which comprises complete research training working towards a doctorate degree. Acceptance onto the doctorate degree programme is a prerequisite for appointment to this position, and the study period will begin upon commencement of the employment. The PhD candidate will participate in the faculty’s research training, and the doctorate degree project will be carried out over the course of the period of employment.

The System epidemiology research group focuses on population-based research for associations between lifestyles and cancer risk. Data is gathered from questionnaires, blood samples, and population and health registries. The group is interdisciplinary with researchers from the field of medicine, biology, statistics, and more. For further information, see System Epidemiology.

An important aspect of the research is gene expression processes measured from blood and tumour samples, how they interact, and how they are associated with cancer risk. The gene expression process includes a multiple of regulators (mRNA, micro RNA, DNA methylation, etc.), referred to as omic data. The biological mechanisms of the interaction between different types of omic data are unknown, and a current research challenge is developing suitable statistical methods.

For any questions regarding the position and the project, please contact:


The PhD candidate will conduct research in the field of statistics and pattern recognition/machine learning, applied to integration of high-dimensional omic data. The Norwegian Women and Cancer Study (NOWAC) and Id-Lung have several omic data sets suited for development of new statistical methods. Relevant methods include unsupervised learning, dimension reduction, clustering, and integrated analysis.

The PhD fellowship is a training position with the objective of obtaining a doctorate degree through courses, independent research, and publication in peer-reviewed journals. The candidate is expected to teach statistics or do other relevant duties at the department.

Required qualifications

The applicant must have a Master’s degree (or other equivalent education) in statistics, or mathematics/computer science/bioinformatics/pattern recognition/machine learning with an emphasis on statistics, with the grade A or B.

Master students in the final stages are also qualified to apply, but have to document completed degree before employment.

Applicants must have documented English language skills. Norwegian or another Scandinavian language is an advantage.

We are looking for a motivated and structured candidate with ability to work independently, but also contribute to the research group through collaborations.

We offer

  • Supervision from experienced researchers
  • An interdisciplinary group of PhD candidates
  • A large degree of independence
  • Opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations
  • State collective pay agreement

Working and payment conditions

The normal period of employment is four years. The PhD studies normally equate to three years. The fourth year, apportioned as 25% of each year, shall be put towards teaching or other work tasks undertaken for the university.

Shorter periods of employment may be offered if the PhD candidate has already completed parts of the research training programme, or in the event that the employment builds upon a previous appointment in an educational position (Research Fellow, Research Assistant or similar), so that the total time of research training comes to three years.

The salary is in accordance with the State salary scale code 1017. A compulsory contribution of 2% to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted.

Applications must include:

  • Cover letter, stating which part of your education is most relevant for the position, and motivation for the project.
  • CV, including two references (main supervisor for students)
  • Diplomas:
    • diploma and transcript of Bachelor’s degree or equivalent (in original language and translated)
    • diploma and transcript of Master’s degree or equivalent (in original language and translated)
  • Documentation of proficiency in English
  • Master's thesis (one-page project summary for students)
  • Any additional academic works

Proficiency in the English language can be documented in the following ways:

  • Diploma from a Norwegian upper secondary school with both spoken and written English (140 hours)
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
  • IELTS (International English Testing Service)
  • Completed university degree in the field of English language or literature
  • One year’s completed university studies in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK or USA, for which English was the language of instruction.


The applicants will be assessed by an expert committee. The committee’s mandate is to undertake an assessment of the applicants’ qualifications based on the application documents and the text of the announcement.

The Assessment Committee will give emphasis to the potential for research, as presented in the Master’s thesis or equivalent, or in any other academic works.

In the assessment, consideration may also be given to professional experience and any other activity which may be significant for the completion of the doctoral degree, as well as to any pedagogical qualifications. This includes pedagogical training, teaching experience, experience of public education and experience/training of other kinds.

The applicants who are assessed as best qualified will be called to an interview. The interview shall, among other things, aim to clarify the applicant’s personal suitability for the position and motivations.


Questions concerning the organisation of the working environment, including that of the physical state of the workplace, health services, possibilities for flexible working hours, part-time work, etc. may be addressed to the contact person.

At UiT The Arctic University of Norway diversity is valued, and we therefore encourage all qualified applicants to apply regardless of their age, gender, functional ability or national or ethnic background. The university is an IW employer and places importance on making the necessary adaptations to working conditions for employees with disabilities.

Personal information given in the application will be treated in accordance with the Personal Data Act. You may request not to be registered on the public list of applicants, but the University may decide that your name will be made public. You will receive advance notification in the event of such publication.

You can find more information on the website for arriving staff.

We look forward to receiving your application!

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