PhD Candidate in Physical Geography

Trondheim, Norway
14 Mar 2019
End of advertisement period
22 Mar 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

The Department of Geography has a vacancy for a three-year PhD candidate within the Physical Geography Group.

The position reports to Associate Professors Chantel Nixon and Irina Rogozhina.

Job description

The PhD candidate will map microplastics along river-to-sea and sea ice-to-coastal pathways in Norway and Svalbard.  The aim of the project will be to develop a better understanding of natural transport processes and sinks for microplastics in these environments, specifically: why and how are microplastics removed from the water surface, where are they stored, and for how long? On the ocean surface, the concentration of microplastics is lower than expected given the ongoing replenishment from terrestrial sources and the ability of most plastics to float. It is therefore important to determine the fate of purportedly missing plastics and elucidate the processes controlling their removal from freshwater and marine environments, such as chemical degradation, sedimentation, storage in the deep-sea water column and/or seabed, or incorporation into benthic and other marine ecosystems.
The broad objectives of the project include:

  • Mapping transportation pathways and locating sinks for microplastics in Arctic and Norwegian coastal environments;
  • Investigating possible latitudinal gradients in the concentration of microplastics in coastal environments between Norway and Svalbard, given their contrasting demographics, climate, infrastructure, and surface processes;
  • Increasing our understanding of the key processes involved in the natural removal of microplastics from water surfaces.

Qualification requirements

PhD candidate:

The main objective of the PhD project 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 a strong academic background in Physical Geography or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. Academic backgrounds in environmental science, ocean science, or geology will also be considered. 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. Good written and oral English language skills are required for this position.

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, postdoctor and research assistant

Other qualifications that would be considered an asset for this position:

  • Documented research experience in either aquatic geo-/eco-system sciences, biogeochemistry, or plastic pollution;
  • Experience conducting fieldwork in Arctic and/or northern environments;
  • Experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), environmental modelling, and spatial statistics;
  • Good written and oral Norwegian skills (or another Scandinavian language);
  • Polished and creative communication skills with both expert and public audiences and a willingness to contribute to educational/outreach initiatives in the Department of Geography.

Personal characteristics

  • Meticulous, organized, and safety-conscious in the lab and in the field;
  • Ability to take initiative and work independently;
  • Positive and professional attitude;
  • Enthusiasm for fieldwork in cold and potentially isolated environments.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, 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 449 400 per annum before tax. 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 admission to the PhD programme in Physical Geography.

As a PhD candidate, you undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. A condition of appointment is that you are in fact qualified for admission to the PhD programme within three months.

Appointment takes place on the terms that apply to State employees at any time, and after the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

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. Under the Freedom of Information Act (offentleglova), information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have their name entered on the list of applicants.

Questions about the position can be directed to Associate Professor Chantel Nixon, e-mail: Questions about the application can be directed to HR-consultant Kirsten Sjolte, email:

About the application:

Along with the application enclosed:

  • Project description in the form of a summary of (max. 3 pages), with requirement for final approval within six months after admission
  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • Scientific work

Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application. Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify the individual applicant's contribution to joint works, the applicant must include a brief description of his or her contribution.

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applicants invited for interview must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters.
Please refer to the application number SU-307 when applying.

Application deadline: 22.03.2019

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.

Department of Geography

We conduct research and teach in subject areas related to the major societal challenges of our time: climate change, migration, urbanization, economic transition and environmental threats. We have a robust fieldwork tradition, and our teaching activities are closely linked to our research. The Department of Geography is one of seven departments at the Faculty of Social and Educational Sciences.

Deadline 22.03.2019
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Trondheim

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