Research Fellow in Arctic Geophysics

Deadline 23.11.2018


UNIS is a stateowned limited company with five of Norway’s universities represented on the board. UNIS is located in a modern working environment in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, and is well equipped with both technical and scientific equipment and laboratories.

The institution has an infrastructure for both marine and terrestrial field, lab and experimental research. The studies at UNIS are marketed internationally and all classes are offered in English. Approximately half of the staff and students are from abroad.


The department of Geophysics at UNIS is seeking candidates for a full time, 4 year position as a PhD fellow in Physical Oceanography. Currently the department constitutes 3 professors, 6 associate professors, 3 post-doctoral research fellows, 6 PhD students, and 11 Adjunct Professors (20% position).

The research within the department is currently focused into two groups, one in Air-Cryosphere-Sea Interactions (ACSI), and the other in Space Physics. The announced position is within the ACSI group.

Description of the vacant position

The position is affiliated with the research project The Nansen Legacy ( The Nansen Legacy is the Norwegian Arctic research community’s joint effort to establish a holistic understanding of a changing marine Arctic climate and ecosystem. The project will provide a scientific knowledgebase needed for future sustainable resource management in the transitional Barents Sea and the adjacent Arctic Basin. It is a collaborative project between ten Norwegian research institutions, and will run from 2018-2023. Activities in the project will include international cooperation, and several cruises with the new, ice-going research vessel Kronprins Haakon.

The PhD study aims to use moored instruments (hydrography and ocean currents), advanced technology and autonomous platforms (underwater gliders, autonomous underwater vehicles - AUV, and remotely piloted aircraft systems - RPAS) to sample environmental parameters to address the lateral and vertical mixing processes at high latitudes, in the marginal ice zone, and in ocean front systems. The study will concentrate on two sites: north of Svalbard, with particular focus on the warm Atlantic boundary current, and the central Barents Sea, with particular focus on intruding Atlantic Water and the thermohaline polar front between Atlantic Water and Arctic Water.

The successful candidate will investigate vorticity dynamics along continental slopes (continental shelf waves) and in troughs leading into the Barents Sea from the northern and southern rim. Water mass exchange processes and lateral mixing across shelf breaks and towards the interior of the deep ocean will be studied. Moreover, the candidate will quantify water mass modifications along the Atlantic boundary current north of Svalbard and heat fluxes into the Nansen basin and northern Barents Sea. The research will be based on time series analysis from moored instruments in combination with snapshots of high-spatial coverage from underwater gliders and AUVs in addition to modern shipboard oceanographic instrumentation. The candidate will participate in research cruises on board the research vessel Kronprins Haakon. This work will be conducted in close collaboration with research groups from the University in Bergen (UiB), the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI), and the University of Natural Science and Technology (NTNU), as well as a strong international network. The vacant position will be part of the Air-Cryosphere-Sea Interaction Group within the Arctic Geophysics (AGF) Department at UNIS.

Qualifications and personal qualities:

  • Applicants must hold a master's degree or the equivalent in oceanography, meteorology, physics, applied mathematics or related fields, or must have submitted his/her master's thesis for assessment prior to the application deadline. It is a condition of employment that the master's degree has been awarded.
  • Good knowledge of physical processes in the ocean and good skills in mathematics and programming are required.
  • Experience from oceanographic field work, particularly from instrumentation used on moorings, underwater gliders and AUVs is an advantage.
  • Experience in data analysis is an advantage.
  • Authorship or co-authorship in scientific publications is an advantage.
  • Applicants must be able to work independently and in a structured manner, and demonstrate good collaborative skills.
  • Applicants must be proficient in both written and oral English.

Personal and relational qualities will be emphasized.

Employment conditions

The duration of the PhD position is 4 years, of which 25 per cent of the time each year comprises required duties associated with teaching, research, fieldwork operations and dissemination of results. The employment potentially includes some supervision duties of Master students.

All salaries are set in accordance with the Norwegian government's University salary scale. PhD fellow research fellows start at a gross salary of NOK 449 000.- annually.

As a resident in Svalbard an annual allowance of NOK 34 560 (Svalbardtillegg) will be added to the salary. A Social Security contribution of 2 per cent, to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund, will be deducted from the salary. Income tax on Svalbard is 8 per cent, plus 8,2 per cent toward National Insurance coverage. UNIS offers a membership in the Norwegian Public Pension Fund.

About the research training

As a PhD candidate, you must participate in an approved educational programme for a PhD degree within a period of 3 years. A final plan for the implementation of the research training must be approved by the faculty within three months after you have commenced in the position.

It is a condition that you satisfy the enrolment requirements for the PhD programme at the University of Bergen.

Selection and application

A committee appointed by the Managing director of UNIS will evaluate the qualifications of the applicants, and invite the highest ranked person(s) for an interview. The appointment will be made by the Director of UNIS based on the recommendation from the committee.

Inquiries about this position may be directed to:

Please include the following documents to the online application form (

  • a brief account of the applicant's research interests and motivation for applying for the position
  • the names and contact information for two referees. One of these should be the main advisor for the master's thesis or equivalent thesis
  • CV
  • transcripts and diplomas showing completion of the bachelor's and master's degrees, or official confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted
  • relevant certificates/references
  • a list of any works of a scientific nature (publication list)
  • any peer review publications in your name

The application and appendices with certified translations into English or a Scandinavian language must be uploaded at Jobbnorge.

You can request to have your application kept from public access cf. the open files act § 25. The request must be explained. UNIS will determine if the application will be kept from public access or not, based on the explanation and the regulations from the open files act. If the application will not be accepted, the candidate will be contacted.

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