Ledig stilling ved Universitetet i Agder

PhD Research Fellow in Mathematics Education

Deadline: 01.10.2019

About the position

A fixed-term 100 % position as a PhD Research Fellow in Mathematics Education is available at the University of Agder, Faculty of Engineering and Science. The fellowship is for a period of three years, for suitable candidates there is a possibility of extending the period to four years including 25 % teaching duties. The position is located at Campus Kristiansand. The starting date is January 1, 2020, or to be negotiated with the Faculty.

University of Agder

The University of Agder has more than 1400 employees and 13 000 students. This makes us one of the largest workplaces in Southern Norway. Our staff research, teach and disseminate knowledge from a variety of academic fields. Co-creation of knowledge is our common vision. We offer a broad range of study programmes in many fields. We are situated at two modern campuses in Kristiansand and Grimstad respectively.

We are an open and inclusive university marked by a culture of cooperation. The aim of the university is to further develop education and research at a high international level.

The fellowship is affiliated with the Department of Mathematical Sciences. The Department has a large and active research group in mathematics education, MERGA, with about 20 fellows on its PhD programme. The research group MERGA was rated very high in a national survey of educational research conducted by The Research Council of Norway in 2017, and has recently been recognised as one of five Top Research Centres at the University of Agder. The person appointed will join this research group. The group pursues a variety of research interests focusing especially on five main strands within mathematics education: Issues of Education; Teaching and Learning; Resources for Teaching and Learning; Mathematical Modelling and Applications; and History of Mathematics.

MatRIC, The Centre for Research, Innovation and Coordination of Mathematics Teaching, a national Centre for Excellence in Higher Education, established 1 January 2014, is led by the Department of Mathematical Sciences. The person appointed, with research in an appropriate area could contribute to the work and development of the Centre.

The Mathematics Education Research Group has substantial and on-going experience of leading and contributing to large research projects funded by The EU, The Research Council of Norway, Nordforsk, the Competence Development Fund of Southern Norway, and others. The Department has hosted the Nordic Graduate School in Mathematics Education and contributes actively to the Nordic mathematics education community. The University of Agder has excellent library support and collection of research literature in mathematics education (in English and Scandinavian languages) and on-line access to all leading journals in the field.


Proposals are sought that seek to explore and understand better mathematics education in any of the following areas.

1. Educational research into programming in school or university mathematics In Norway, use of programming in school mathematics courses is part of the new curriculum that will be launced for schools from 2020 onwards: https://www.udir.no/laring-og-trivsel/lareplanverket/fagfornyelsen/ Similiar proposals and developments on use of programming are in progress also in other countries. There is scope for many different types of projects in this area ranging from design projects developing innovative tools/material/courses, through more epistemological/cognitive projects investigating coordination of concept/skill development in programming and mathematics (with a view to informing didactical approaches), to policy/implementation studies examining formation of the policy and unfolding of its implementation (with a view to feeding back into later iterations).

2. Affordances and constraints of digital tools in mathematics education: The concept of affordance is a powerful way to address the value of technology in mathematics education generally and in technology in mathematics education in particular. The roots and use of the concept and its applications in mathematics education will be explored in order to clarify its meaning. Its potential usefulness for developing a framework for a new PhD research project that aims to enhance mathematics achievement and engagement at the secondary or undergraduate level by using technology to support mathematical problem solving and conceptual understanding.

3. Teachers’ use of digital resources in mathematics education: The resource approach to mathematics education is a new way to explore teachers’ use of digital resources in mathematics education. The approach has emerged due to the abundance of digital resources and new forms of collaborative work. The approach will help teachers better analyze theoretical, methodological, and and practical issues of digital tools designed to aid classroom teaching. This project uses the documentational approach to didactics (DAD), and aims at exploring teachers’ orchestrations of digital resources at the secondary or undergraduate level. The project will help to create a resource system in order to meet the developments of mathematics education in a digital educational setting.

4. Visual-Numeric Literacy for Big Data of Social Dynamics: In digital media we see a growing variety of visualizations, animations and simulations of Big Data. The research project should entail an intervention with users to study their interactions with such multimodalities, in particular with regard to visualizations of social dynamics (e.g. animated sociograms, sankey diagrams, Rösling diagrams, etc). Candidates applying with a proposal within this area, should have a masters in Mathematics, Mathematics education, Pedagogy, (Multi)Media Studies, E-Learning, or other affiliated discipline. An interdisciplinary background covering several disciplines will be an advantage.

5. Mathematics education research in kindergarten and the early years of school: There is an increasing emphasis on Early Years Mathematics both in pre school and primary school. Lately, in a PhD in Norway a playful approach to mathematical inquiry in kindergarten for 5-year-olds has been investigated. New studies taking a smiliar perspective either in pre school or primary school would be welcome.

6. Researching teaching and learning mathematics in a MOOC environment: Nationally in Norway, Universities run in service ECTS award bearing-courses in mathematics for primary and secondary mathematics teachers supported by the Minstry of Education in Norway. Some of these courses are 100 % online based and thus the term MOOC is used. Research that investigates the content of these courses, students’ experience of these courses and their outcome would be welcome.

7. Teaching and learning calculus at first year undergraduate level: Two possible focuses are either 1) on investigation of students’ understanding of the Riemann-integral, and consequences of limited understanding, or 2) on investigations of effects of teaching interventions in the compulsory Calculus course.

Required qualifications

Provisions relating to the positions as PhD Research Fellows can be found in the Regulations Concerning Terms and Conditions of Employment for the post of Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Research Fellow, Research Assistant and Resident.

  • Cand. scient. or master’s degree in Mathematics or Mathematics Education or other field with corresponding mathematics content. This year’s master’s candidates/candidates who are in the closing stages of their master’s degree can also apply. For applicants with a proposal within research area 4, other qualifications can be considered.
  • Teaching experience
  • Written and spoken English proficiency. Applicants from some countries must document their English proficiency through one of the following tests or certificates:
    • TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language with a minimum score of 600 on the Paper-based Test (PBT), or a minimum of 92 on the Internet based Test (iBT);
    • IELTS – International English Language Testing System, with a result of at least 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5. (only Academic IELTS test accepted).
    • CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) certificate of at least Level B2.

Possible categories of applicants from particular countries may be exempted, see here.

Please note that the English test requirement applies to applicants from most countries according to the list mentioned above. No other tests will be approved, and certifications/statements cannot replace a test.

Knowledge of Norwegian or another Scandinavian language is essential for proposals in areas 1, 5, 6 and 7 in the above list, and will be an advantage for proposals in all areas.

At the University of Agder, PhD dissertations may be written in Norwegian, another Scandinavian Language or English.

A prerequisite for employment is that the candidate is to be admitted to UiA’s PhD programme at the Faculty of Engineering and Science, specialisation in Mathematics Education. The applicant must submit an approved project description within three months of appointment.

Personal qualities

Personal suitability and good teamwork skills will be emphasized in the evaluation as well as relevant practical experience. Research Fellows are expected to contribute to the active research community at the University. The position places demands on the applicant’s capacity for independent goal-oriented work, ability to concentrate and attention to detail. Applicants will be assessed on the basis of academic background and results, attainment, and any previous research activity, in addition to a (preliminary) research proposal submitted with the application (see below).

We offer

  • Professional development in a large, exciting and socially influential organisation
  • A positive, inclusive and diverse working environment
  • Modern facilities and a comprehensive set of welfare offers
  • Membership of the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund

More about working at UiA.

The position is remunerated according to the State Salary Scale, salary plan 17.515, code 1017 PhD Research Fellow, NOK 479 600 gross salary per year. A compulsory pension contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund is deducted from the pay according to current statutory provisions.

General information

Research visits to an external institution or with a national or international partner for part of the period of employment may be anticipated.

A good working environment is characterised by its diversity. We therefore encourage all qualified candidates to apply for the position, irrespective of gender, age, disability or cultural background. The University of Agder is an Inclusive Workplace.

The successful applicant will have rights and obligations in accordance with the current regulations for the position, and organisational changes and changes in the duties and responsibilities of the position must be expected. Appointment is made by the University of Agder’s Appointments Committee for Teaching and Research Positions.

Short-listed applicants will be invited for interview. With the applicant’s permission, UiA will also conduct a reference check before appointment. More about the employment process.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act § 25 (2), applicants may request that they are not identified in the open list of applicants. The University, however, reserves the right to publish the names of applicants. Applicants will be advised of the University’s intention to exercise this right.


The application and any necessary information about education and experience (including diplomas and certificates) are to be uploaded electronically. Use the link "Apply for this job".

The following documentation must be uploaded electronically:

  • A letter of application which includes a rationale for applying for the position together with an outline of the applicant’s research interests and background for the proposed project
  • Certificates with grades
  • Applicants with a foreign higher education must attach an official description of the grading system used at the issuing institution;Applicants who are required to document their English proficiency must submit their TOEFL or IELTS test results (these may be forwarded after the closing date); An additional assessment of English may be undertaken at the time of interview
  • Master’s thesis must be uploaded
  • References with contact information
  • A list, summary and links to the applicant's scientific publications if produced must be included if the be considered
  • A short research proposal (preliminary) that sets out background, rationale, recent work and research design for the intended study.This should not extend beyond about 5 pages, but it will form an important part of the evaluation of candidates. It must be made clear to which of the seven listed topic areas above the proposal relates.
  • Any other relevant documentation

The applicant is fully responsible for submitting complete digital documentation before the closing date. We draw your attention to the fact that candidates who do not include all required documentation listed above will not be included in the evaluation process if attachments are missing. All documentation must be available in a Scandinavian language or English.

Application deadline: 01.10.19


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