Senior Researcher in Statistical Quantification of Individual Differences

4 days left

Trondheim, Norway
06 Oct 2020
End of advertisement period
31 Oct 2020
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

About the position

The international working group SQuID (Statistical Quantification of Individual Differences; and the Center for Biodiversity Dynamics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology ( is seeking to hire a Senior Researcher (postdoctoral level/ postdoctoral researcher) to join us for 21 months. 

The successful candidate would likely start in early 2021, initially be based at CBD, NTNU, and would participate fully in several planned online and in-person SQuID activities, including 6 workshops (currently planned to be held at 6 institutions worldwide) combining teaching and research, and one or more working groups focused on both research and educational initiatives.

SQuID currently consists of 14 scholars interested in the biology of variance and the tools to analyze it. The funded project builds on the core idea that targeted simulations of data under specified conditions can improve analysis of real data and expand biological thinking as a result. This idea and the R package that resulted from initial work on this are described in Allegue et al. (2016). An additional project on violating distribution assumptions is also published (Schielzeth et al. 2020), another on the consequences of mean-centering is in press (Westneat et al. J. Anim. Ecol.), and other projects on the use of diagnostic tools (MS) and temporal biases and possible solutions (MS) are in progress.

The current grant focuses on improving and extending the educational tools in the R package into other venues, and developing new research in 4 new topic areas:

  1. Multivariate GLMMs combined with structural equation modelling can provide new insights into trait interactions and patterns of covariation in phenotypes linked by pleiotropy and integrated plasticity. The full capabilities of these approaches have yet to be explored for real datasets (with unequal sampling, biases, and missing data). 
  2. Double GLMMs explore patterns in both means and residual variances, which can produce hidden effects and influence the behaviour of conventional GLMMs, and which arise from poorly understood biological processes. However, their biological implications and performance with real data need to be assessed in more detail.
  3. Animal models are a powerful extension of GLMMs, decomposing variation into genetic versus environmental sources using pedigree information as a random effect. We will test animal model performance with incomplete data and uncertain pedigrees.
  4. Phylogenetic GLMMs address important evolutionary questions using variation among taxa. Such meta-analyses include information on the sampling design of multiple studies, and issues due to unequal sample sizes, missing information and uncertainty about phylogenies.

In-person workshops are planned for roughly every 6 months starting in Spring 2021 with a meeting in Trondheim, Norway. Additional workshops are planned for Montpellier (France), Davis (California), Hokkaido (Japan), Sao Paulo (Brazil), and Montreal (Canada). 

The current members of SQuID are:

  • Hassen Allegue: UQAM, Montreal, Canada
  • Yimen Araya-Ajoy: NTNU, Trondheim, Norway
  • Anne Charmantier: CNRS, Montpellier, France
  • Barbara Class: USC, Sunshine Coast, Australia
  • Eduardo da Silva dose Santos: USP, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Niels Dingemanse: LMU, Munich, Germany
  • Ned Dochtermann: NDSU, Fargo, ND, USA
  • Laszlo Garamszegi: IEB, Budapest, Hungary
  • Kate Laskowski: UC-Davis, Davis, CA, USA
  • Shinichi Nakagawa: UNSW, Sydney, Australia
  • Denis Reale: UQAM, Montreal, Canada
  • Holger Schielzeth: University of Jena, Germany
  • Celine Teplitsky: CNRS, Montpellier, France
  • David Westneat: UKY, Lexington, KY, USA
  • Jon Wright: NTNU, Trondheim, Norway

Duties of the position

The researcher will be welcome to join any of the above research groups (1-4), but a critical task assigned to the position is to continue the process of translating new research into educational materials. These are intended for both in-person teaching in workshops and tools for online or remote learning. Ability to program will be a key skill, but knowledge in both biology and education will also be advantageous.
We are therefore looking for a postdoctoral researcher to help augment three areas of SQuID activities: 

  • A. Contributing to the development of the SQuID R package in order to promote new biological understanding by blending the statistics of linear mixed models with simulations of biological processes affecting real data; 
  • B. Refining in-person and online workshops focused on teaching applications of SQuID with linear mixed models; and
  • C. Expanding the SQuID simulation and tutorial package, and integrating it with remote or on-line educational materials. 

Required selection criteria

We seek a collaborative individual with a PhD in a relevant area and other relevant skills and experience. The preferred candidate should have a strong interest in life science with topical issues in ecology and evolution, have a good knowledge of statistics, be well versed in programming (e.g. R, C++), and possibly have a record of contributing to novel educational approaches to quantitative topics, especially via remote or on-line platforms.

If, for any reason, you have taken a career break or have had an atypical career and wish to disclose this in your application, the selection committee will take this into account, recognizing that the quantity of your research may be reduced as a result.

We offer

Salary and conditions

The gross salary for the position of Senior researcher (code 1109) is normally remunerated at gross from NOK 523 200 before tax per year, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

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.

The position is subject to external funding.

It is a prerequisite that 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
  • 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. 
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.
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 online interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number NV-97/20 when applying. 

Application deadline: 31.10.20 

For further information about the position you may contact Jonathan Wright (, David Westneat (, or Niels Dingemanse ( If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Torunn Elena Myhr Olsen (torunn.e.m.olsen@ntnu.noat the Department of Biology.

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 Biology 

We work with global challenges in natural diversity, climate, the environment, health and nutrition. Our expertise in biological processes at all levels – from molecules to ecosystems – contributes to a sustainable society. The Department educate graduates for a wide range of careers in public administration, business and academia. The Department of Biology is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

Deadline 31st October 2020
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Fixed Term
Jobbnorge ID 193783

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