PhD Position in Diatom Genome Editing

Trondheim, Norway
Monday, 25 May 2020
End of advertisement period
Friday, 19 June 2020
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

A PhD position, funded for 3 years through the NTNU Enabling Technologies initiative, is available in the Department of Biology. The candidate is expected to start by October 1st, 2020.

Diatoms are a group of microalgae which are widespread in most aquatic habitats and are responsible for up to 20% of oxygen production worldwide. Furthermore, they are of interest for biofuel/biofeed production. Thus, a detailed understanding of how these algae respond to abiotic factors like light or nutrient conditions is required to adapt them for different biotechnological purposes.

You will report to Dr. Manuel Serif.

Duties of the position

The aim of the PhD research project will be initially to establish a method for targeted mutagenesis of candidate genes using a CRISPR/Cas-based system in diatoms. The PhD student will use this technique then to manipulate the activity of genes regulating responses to different light conditions in diatoms. Diatom strains expressing the modified genes will be studied in detail to determine their specific biological activities and used to identify potential interaction partners. Other relevant methods / tasks for this PhD project include: growth and maintenance of algal cultures, transformation of algae by bacterial conjugation, cloning and production of CRISPR/Cas plasmid vectors and protein interaction studies. The candidate will work in close collaboration with post-doctoral scientists / researchers involved in algal research at Department of Biology, NTNU. 

Detailed information on our PhD programs is found at:

Required selection criteria

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is that you have completed a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in molecular biology, biochemistry or biotechnology and have practical experience in general molecular biology techniques or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic foundation. If you are unable to meet these criteria you may be considered only if you can document that you are particularly suitable for education leading to a PhD degree.

Candidates from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a Diploma Supplement or a similar document, which describes in detail the study and grade system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree:

The position requires spoken and written fluency in the English language. Applicants from non-English-speaking countries outside Europe must document English skills by an approved test. Approved tests are TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant.

Preferred selection criteria

  • Experience with cloning techniques, protein interaction studies or knowledge of bioinformatics tools will be considered an advantage.

Personal characteristics

The successful candidate should be creative, with a strong ability to work problem oriented. He/she should also enjoy interdisciplinary research and take keen interest in learning and working in teams.

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 479 600 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Biology ( within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

The application must include:

  • CV, certificates and diplomas from both Bachelor and Master
  • Possible publications and other scientific works
  • Copies of transcripts
  • Up to three reference letters
  • (Copies of documentation on English language proficiency test)

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability.

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

General information

 Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. 

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

Further information can be obtained from Dr. Manuel Serif, Department of Biology, NTNU, E-mail: Further information about the group can be found at:

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number NV-68/20 when applying.

Application deadline: 19.06.20

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

The Faculty of Natural Sciences

The Faculty of Natural Sciences is a key player in national and international research and education programmes in natural sciences and technology. Our research focuses on global challenges in the areas of energy, climate, the environment, food, water, health and welfare. The Faculty consists of eight departments as well as the Faculty Administration.

Deadline 19th June 2020
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Jobbnorge ID 187771