PhD Research Fellowship in ancient DNA and marine biology - Fully Funded EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie

Oslo, Norway
24 Apr 2019
End of advertisement period
21 May 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

Job description

We invite applications for a fully funded PhD position starting in October 2019 as part of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network "SEACHANGES: Thresholds in Human Exploitation of Marine Vertebrates" available at the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Oslo.

SEACHANGES provides state-of-the-art training to forge a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers able to operate at the interface of archaeology and marine biology by joining experts from 7 leading institutions in archaeology, zoology, marine ecology & conservation biology. We will pool our disparate skills and experience in an integrated training programme for PhDs candidates to gain the interdisciplinary understanding & skills required fully to realise the potential of archaeological remains to understand past marine resource use, assess past impacts, and use these to inform the present.

Candidates with backgrounds in biology, genomics or archaeology are all encouraged to apply; each studentship will be developed with the successful applicant.

SEACHANGES ESR 1: Using ancient DNA to discover the legacy of historic Atlantic cod exploitation

Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is of profound economic and cultural value for communities around the North Atlantic Ocean. The history of exploitation for this species dates back millennia, which has made it difficult to quantify the extent of human impact since prehistory. For example, intensive harvest over the last century has been associated with phenotypic changes consistent with fisheries induced evolution (FIE), but it is unclear if analogous changes occurred in preceding periods. To address such questions, the long-term perspective that can be obtained through the comparative analysis of ancient and modern material is essential. ESR 1 will study demographic and evolutionary patterns through the analysis of DNA preserved in Atlantic cod bones from archaeological sites of up to 9000 years BP to now using state-of-the-art genomic tools and zooarchaeology. The candidate will be trained to obtain and analyze genome-wide data from archaeological cod samples, selected from dozens of locations, across northern and western Europe with an aim to: (a) reconstruct long-term patterns of demography and selection in Atlantic cod populations; (b) resolve historic trade routes and (c) investigate associations between expanding fisheries, cod population declines or collapse, and anthropogenic selection. The candidate will also obtain experience in zooarchaeology through a secondment at Cambridge University with Dr. JH Barrett.

More about the position

The fellowship will be for a period of 3 years. Starting date no later than 01.10.2019.


The Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), provides a stimulating research environment with many young international and Norwegian scientists working on a variety of theoretical and empirical topics within bio-economics, ecology, evolution, population genetics, genomics, phylogenetics, molecular biology, and statistical methodology.

The CEES is chaired by Professor Kjetill S. Jakobsen and currently employs 14 faculty members, 45 postdocs/researchers, 25 PhD students and 32 MSc students.

The CEES is located within the Department of Biosciences, the largest unit of biological research in Norway, covering research on a broad range of theoretical and empirical topics within ecology and evolution at all scales from genomes to ecosystems.

Qualification requirements

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences has a strategic ambition of being a leading research faculty. Candidates for these fellowships will be selected in accordance with this, and expected to be in the upper segment of their class with respect to academic credentials.

  • applicants must hold a Master’s degree or equivalent, or must have submitted his/her master's thesis for assessment prior to the application deadline, within evolutionary biology, genomics, population genetics; molecular ecology, archaeology or a similar subject. It is a condition of employment that the master's degree has been awarded.
  • foreign completed degree (M.Sc.-level) corresponding to a minimum of four years in the Norwegian educational system
  • experience with DNA laboratory methods, high-throughput sequencing, population genetics and bioinformatics are considered an advantage

Grade requirements:

The norm is as follows:

  • the average grade point for courses included in the Bachelor’s degree must be C or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • the average grade point for courses included in the Master’s degree must be B or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • the Master’s thesis must have the grade B or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English

In addition, the applicant must fulfil the Marie Sklodowska-Curie eligibility requirements below:

  • The applicant must be in the first four years of their research careers, counting from the date at which they have been awarded a degree that allows them to embark on a PhD, and the applicant should not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • The applicant must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Norway for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the start date (short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account).

The successful candidate will participate in a Marie Curie international training network and will work in a highly interactive international environment with other Marie-Curie PhD students, researchers, authorities, NGOs and industry.

The purpose of the fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a PhD degree.

The fellowship requires admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The application to the PhD programme must be submitted to the department no later than two months after taking up the position. For more information see:

Personal skills

We seek a highly motivated, enthusiastic person with the ambition to gain insight and publish papers in leading, international journals, and in possession of good interpersonal skills.

We offer

  • an exciting Europe-wide network of fellow SEACHANGES PhD students, postdocs, and their supervisors with whom you will collaborate during courses, summer schools, and other training activities.
  • salary NOK 449 400 – 505 800 per annum depending on qualifications in a position as PhD Research fellow (position code 1017)
  • vibrant international academic environment
  • attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement, in addition to Oslo’s family-friendly environment with its rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities

How to apply

The application must include

  • Application letter including a statement of interest, briefly summarizing your scientific work and interests and describing how you fit the description of the person we seek
  • CV (summarizing education, positions, pedagogical experience, administrative experience and other qualifying activity)
  • Copies of educational certificates, transcript of records and letters of recommendation
  • Documentation of English proficiency
  • List of publications and unpublished work, and up to 3 academic works that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee
  • Names and contact details of 2-3 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and telephone number)

The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system, please follow the link “apply for this job”. Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University's grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English.

 Applicants may be called in for an interview.

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Research Fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo.

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.

The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results etc.

The University of Oslo aims to achieve a balanced gender composition in the workforce and to recruit people with ethnic minority backgrounds.

Contact information

For further information please contact: Dr. Bastiaan Star, e-mail:

For questions regarding the recruitment system, please contact: HR-officer Nina Holtan, e-mail:

About the University of Oslo 

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest rated institution of research and education with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. Its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally esteemed research communities make UiO an important contributor to society.

Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) is a research centre and a section at the Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo. CEES combines a broad spectrum of disciplines (population biology, genomics, statistics, mathematical modelling) to foster the concept of ecology as a driving force of evolution via selective processes, with a corresponding influence of evolutionary changes on ecology.

CEES has over 180 members (Professors (20), postdocs/researchers (45), PhDs (25), Master’s students (32) and technical and administrative staff) and many guest researchers. The members represent 30 nationalities and constitute a vibrant and creative research environment. CEES coordinate several international networks. The budget = 170 million NOK (about 55 externally funded research projects). CEES successfully completed its 10 year status of Centre of Excellence (CoE) in 2017.