Ledig stilling ved UiT Norges arktiske universitet

ERC-Funded Postdoctoral Position in Optimization for Inverse Electromagnetic Scattering

Deadline: 25.06.2019

The position

The Department of Physics and Technology is pleased to announce a vacant position of a Postdoctoral Fellow in the optics group in connection with the recently announced ERC starting grant project ‘Label-free 3D morphological nanoscopy for studying sub-cellular dynamics in live cancer cells with high spatio-temporal resolution (3D-nanoMorph)’.

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

UiT – Developing the High North

is a multi-campus research univeristy in Norway and the northernmost university of the world. Our central location in the High North, our broad and diverse research and study portfolio, and our interdisciplinary qualities make us uniquely suited to meet the challenges of the future. At UiT you can explore global issues from a close-up perspective.

Credibility, academic freedom, closeness, creativity and commitment shall be hallmarks of the relationship between our employees, between our employees and our students and between UiT and our partners.

Revolutionizing Nanoscopy

The Department of Physics and Technology houses the optics group at the main campus of UiT. The optics group has experienced a great surge in research, thanks to a constant flow of Horizon2020 funding through ERC and MSCA-IF projects and funding from research council of Norway through diverse projects. This has lead to a thriving multi-national (currently representing 8 nations) and multi-disciplinary research group, currently comprising of 4 principal investigators, 7 post docs, 7 PhD candidates, several master students and a multi-million dollar research infrastructure. There is a constant flow of international visiting experts.

The group members represent various disciplines like optics, photonics, fabrication, biology, mathematics, sensing, microscopy, nanoscopy, chemistry, computer engineering, electronic instrumentation, etc. The group’s core research activity targets development of cutting-edge technologies in nano-photonics, optics-based climate sensing, microscopy, and optical and computational nanoscopy. There is an emphasis on gender equality, cultural integration, conducive work environment excellence through cooperation and co-enabling, and support of growth and ambition of everyone in the group.

The appointment is for a duration of 2 years. Expected starting date of the position is 1st January 2020.

The postdoctoral research fellow will be a part of 3d-nanoscopy team, led by Assoc. Prof. Krishna Agarwal, who works on super-resolution microscopy, also referred to as nanoscopy. Agarwal is also the principal investigator of the aforementioned ERC project.

We offer an interesting project funded from the prestigious ERC Starting Grant, scientific independence, great potential of growth, and fantastic work environment within the stunning landscape of Tromsø.

The project

The goal of the ERC project is to develop a new label-free nanoscope comprising of a novel innovative optical instrument that measures scattered light and a novel inverse scattering approach designed for biological cells and sub-cellular organelles, which together provide nanoscopic resolution.

The novel inverse scattering solver is a key component of the project and the postdoc will work on it with the following goals:

  • Develop and study the forward model corresponding to the novel optical microscope
  • Develop optimization strategies for the non-linear inverse solver for the phaseless scattering light measurements – these may include multi-scale optimization, multi-domain optimization, multi-objective and/or many-objective optimization, etc.
  • Develop mechanisms of including problem/sample specific priors
  • Design the objective functions and constraints for optimization
  • Design iterative optimization solvers – these may include gradient bases, stochastic, or hybrid optimization approaches
  • Involvement in supervising a PhD student on optimization for inverse problem
  • Disseminate the work through scientific journal publications and conference participation

The work is related to development of optimization approaches of multi-objective and many-objective variety for solving extremely NP-hard, severely ill-posed, and non-linear inverse electromagnetic problem, which might require innovation in multi-scale, multi-region, multi-objective, and multi-constraint optimization solvers. A patent is being applied for the instrument and it is likely that the inverse scattering solver, including the optimization approaches, may be considered for patent as well. The project is likely to lead to commercialization research grants or technopreneurial start-up in the future.


The fellow will be encouraged and supported to build his/her resume towards their ambition in academic, technopreneurial, or mainstream industrial career. The fellowship also offers opportunity of mentoring PhD students in the team and involvement in teaching, if it is of interest to the fellow. There is an opportunity for the fellow to build his/her research network through inheriting the collaborations of the group.

Major collaborators, beyond UiT and directly relevant to the project, include USoton (UK), NTNU (Norway), UiO (Norway), IIT (Italy), IFOM (Italy), University of Campagnia (Italy), EMBL (Germany), NUS (Singapore), ASTAR (Singapore), BU (China), Sun Yat Sen University (China), and IIT (India). The fellow will also be encouraged to become a member of Digital Life Norway (DLN), a national platform for multi-disciplinary research with life sciences as a focus. DLN offers several courses and career development programs, which the fellow can participate in.


For further information about the position and UiT contact Assoc. Prof. Krishna Agarwal:


The position requires a Norwegian doctoral degree in mathematics, physics, or engineering, or a corresponding foreign doctoral degree recognised as equivalent to a Norwegian doctoral degree. We are looking for a candidate in the beginning of his or her career, and someone with suitable post-doctoral research experience is desirable.

Other requirements include:

  • Prior experience in optimization theory and practical optimization problems
  • Mathematical and foundational background, through post-graduate courses on at least two of the following:
    • optimization theory, linear algebra, matrix theory, functional analysis, operator theory, inverse problems, evolutionary optimization, or gradient based optimization
  • Experience with non-linear and NP-hard optimization problems
  • Excellent programming skills and expertise in Matlab, Python, Java or another popular scientific programming platforms
  • Prior experience of mentoring postgraduate students from dissimilar academic background, for example from pure physics or pure mathematics or electrical engineering
  • Publication record illustrating first author publications on the topics of optimization.

It is expected that the candidate demonstrates:

  • Self-motivation and independence
  • Good written and verbal communication skills in English. Interest in Norwegian language and culture is welcome.
  • Excellent work ethic and commitment to the job

It is desirable that the candidate demonstrates:

  • Creativity, ability to think outside the box, problem solving orientation are extremely desirable
  • Prior experience in inverse problems
  • Exposure to data science, machine learning, parallel programming
  • Experience in leadership, multi-disciplinary research, and international collaborations are desirable

The assessment will emphasize motivation and personal suitability for the position. The candidate must be willing to engage in the ongoing development of label-free nanoscopy, and development of the university as a whole.


Your application must include:

  • Application letter describing
  • why the candidate considers oneself suitable for the position
  • what motivates the candidate to apply for the position
  • what the candidate expects from this position
  • CV, including list of previous projects
  • Full list of publications. Also indicate which two publications the candidate considers the best output and why.
  • Academic works, up to ten. The doctoral thesis is regarded as one work.
  • Diplomas and transcripts
  • List of at least 2 academic references

Having a PhD degree is required before commencement in the position. If you are in the process of completing your PhD, you must document that you have submitted your PhD thesis by the application deadline. You should also attach a statement from your supervisor.

Documentation has to be in English or a Scandinavian language. We only accept applications through Jobbnorge.

We offer

  • Exciting research possibilities, international exposure, opportunity to shape and pursue career ambition, opportunity to build extensive research network, and great potential of growth
  • Exposure of working in highly prestigious EU funded project
  • Fantastic work environment within the stunning landscape of Tromsø
  • Good welfare arrangements for employees
  • Good arrangements for pension, insurance and loans in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund

Terms of employment

Remuneration of Postdoctoral positions are in State salary code 1352. In addition to taxes, a further 2% is deducted for the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The working hours will be utilised for research, research-related activities and research administration.

More information about moving to Norway: http://uit.no/mobility


We make the appointment in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and guidelines at UiT. At our website, you will find more information for applicants.

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. UiT and will emphasize making the necessary adaptations to the working conditions for employees with reduced functional ability.

The objective of the appointment as a Postdoctoral Fellow is to qualify for work in senior academic positions, and no one may be appointed to more than one fixed term period at the same institution.

According to the Norwegian Freedom and Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

Apply for position