PhD Position in Sustainable Aquaculture with Focus on Welfare and Fish Behaviour

Alesund, Norway
Apr 29, 2021
End of advertisement period
May 24, 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

We have a vacancy for a Phd position within the field of sustainable farming of Atlantic salmon. NTNU seeks a highly qualified, ambitious and motivated candidate to investigate fish welfare and fish behaviour as response to events in net pens.

This position is situated at the Department of Biological Sciences in Ålesund, Faculty of Natural Sciences. The appointment has a duration of three years with the possibility for one-year extension with 25% teaching duties in agreement with the department. For teaching duties, it is required that the candidate speaks Norwegian or another Scandinavian language. The PhD will be registered at Faculty of Natural Sciences. This position will lead to a doctoral degree (PhD). The workplace is at NTNU in Ålesund, Department of Biological Sciences Ålesund (IBA).

The Department of Biological Sciences Ålesund (IBA) is closely linked to the regional industry, both in the health and the marine sector. The department focuses on interdisciplinary research and research-based innovation related to sustainable salmon farming, the marine environment, marine ingredients and medical and laboratory technology. The department holds a full-scale farming license for salmonids located at farming sites in Møre og Romsdal. Further information is available at the department’s homepage:

The position reports to Head of department.

Main duties and responsibilities of the position

The PhD candidate will study fish behaviour and welfare in commercial sea based salmonid production and link behavioural changes to farm operations like sea transfer of smolt and splitting of net pens or regularly operations like net cleaning.

The PhD candidate will use biological sampling and welfare scoring of fish (SWIM model) together with non-invasive methodology like video and image analysis to describe and monitor fish behavior and welfare in commercial sea cages. Analysis of underwater videos and images can give insight into important behavioral traits indicating the state of the fish, such as spatial distribution and density of fish, swimming speed and direction, interaction between fish, and other welfare indicators like lesions or parasite infestations. Measurements using acoustic methods, like echosounder or sonar may give additional information on the distribution and movement of fish over time. The PhD candidate will have access to environmental and production data from a commercial salmon farm, and it will be possible to include additional physical, chemical and/or biological sampling to study welfare indicators.

  • Collection and analysis of video/image material and other field data
  • Experimental field or laboratory studies.
  • Biological sampling and welfare score of fish (SWIM model)
  • Analysis and statistical treatment of data
  • Publication of peer-review scientific papers and dissemination at scientific conferences.

The PhD candidate will ultimately analyze fish behavior after sea water transfer and other fish farm operations. This PhD project will involve field work to acquire suitable information for the analysis of salmon behaviour and welfare. Detailed information on our PhD programs is found at: The work will be conducted together with the research team on aquaculture (see and will be connected to other PhD candidates at the department. The candidate should have a strong interest for field work.

Detailed information on our PhD programs is found at:

Qualification requirements

 The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is completion of a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with an academic background in natural science, preferably within the major fields of aquaculture, marine biology, or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. Applicants may be considered with other backgrounds like biochemistry, image/video analysis or maritime studies, if the candidate’s competence can be transferred to work at the interface with aquaculture. Applicants with no letter grades from previous studies must have an equally good academic foundation. Applicants who are unable to meet these criteria may be considered only if they can document that they are particularly suitable candidates for education leading to a PhD degree.

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.

Other qualifications

  • knowledge about and interest in Atlantic salmon aquaculture.
  • keen interest in fish welfare
  • strong ability to work problem oriented
  • good analytical skills
  • documented experience within field and laboratory work, statistics and/or environmental data handling will be an advantage
  • Good written and oral English language skills

Applicants who do not master a Scandinavian language should provide evidence of good written and oral English language skills. The following tests can be used as documentation: TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE), or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test), 92 (Internet-based test)
  • IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted)
  • CAE/CPE: grade B or A.

Personal characteristics

  • self-motivated, enthusiastic and creative
  • strong collaborative skills
  • ability to work independent and goal-oriented
  • interest in multidisciplinary problem solving
  • ability and willingness to conduct field work at sea
  • good communications skills for working in cooperation with industry

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, as well as motivation, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 482 200 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 three years with the possibility of until one-year extension with 25% teaching duties in agreement with the department. Appointment to a PhD position requires admission 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 or a Scandinavian language.

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 (Departments to choose from the following):

  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • Academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment
  • Name and address of three referees

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 Ålesund, with its population of 50 000, will provide you with plenty of opportunities to explore a region of Norway that is famous for its beautiful scenery with high mountains and blue fjords. Ålesund itself, with its Art Nouveau architecture, is by many considered to be the most beautiful city in Norway! The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world.

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.

In accordance with The Public 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.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Associate professor Grete Hansen Aas, phone number +47 92 68 33 78, email

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-21/133 when applying.

Application deadline: 24.05.21

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 24th May 2021
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Ålesund
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service NTNU i Ålesund

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