PhD Candidate with the Focus on the Drivers of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods in Norway

Trondheim, Norway
21 Jun 2021
End of advertisement period
09 Aug 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

About the position

We have a 4-year-long vacancy for a PhD candidate within the field of Physical Geography (glaciology and hydrology branches) at the Department of Geography, NTNU, which is part of the new international collaboration GOTHECA (Glacier impacts On The Hydrological systems in Europe and Central Asia).

The PhD candidate will work on challenging research problems related to the drivers and mechanisms of the most common glacier hazards in Norway – glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs).

The candidate will collaborate with the GOTHECA team to observe and interpret GLOF events on five glaciers in different parts of Norway, based on the field data acquisition, remote sensing, and numerical data analysis/modelling.

These results will be directly integrated into developing a new early warning system for GLOFs designed jointly by the Department of Geography, NTNU, the Norwegian Directorate for Water and Energy Resources (NVE) and other national partners.

The PhD position is open to developments in two research directions, either machine learning in remote sensing (research direction 1) or numerical modelling (research direction 2). This position must be filled before the end of the calendar year 2021.

The position reports to Head of Department.

Duties of the position

  • In situ observations of glacial lakes and glacier changes to identify thresholds for and drivers of rapid glacial lake drainage (both research directions).
  • Reconstruction and analysis of changes in glacial lakes and glaciers through the historical period covered by satellite and airborne observations using automated supervised classification methods; Numerical analysis of retrieved changes versus observations of potential external drivers (research direction 1).
  • Numerical modelling of the interactions between glacial lakes, glaciers and subglacial hydrology, including the interpretation of relative roles of external and internal drivers using data assimilation (research direction 2).
  • One year of teaching duties (25% of position), where the candidate is expected to contribute to lectures, seminars and practical exercises in physical geography courses at the Department, specifically in the fields of glaciology, climatology and natural hazards.
  • The PhD candidate is expected to work closely with the GOTHECA team at NTNU (including MSc and BSc students) and national partners from NVE, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) and Statkraft.

Required selection criteria

The PhD position's primary objective is to qualify for work in academic positions.

  • The qualification requirement is a 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 physical geography, climatology, glaciology, hydrology, remote sensing, or equivalent education. Applicants with other backgrounds (e.g., physics, applied mathematics and computer sciences, geophysics) may be considered, if the candidate’s competence can be transferred to work at the interface with glaciology and hydrology.
  • You must have a strong academic background from your previous studies and an average grade from the master's degree program, or equivalent education, which is equal to B or better compared with NTNU's grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic basis. If you have a weaker grade background, you may be assessed if you can document that you are particularly suitable for a PhD education. 
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the Faculty's doctoral program in Social Sciences with a specialization in Geography

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant  

Other qualifications:

  • Knowledge about glacier dynamics and related hydrological processes or strong motivation to acquire such knowledge;
  • Keen interest and documented experience in glacier fieldwork, ideally supported by professional training for glacier safety including crevasse rescue techniques;
  • Documented experience in numerical data analyses and modelling, and/or remote sensing with multispectral satellite imagery and/or aerial photographs;
  • Driver’s license including experience with driving during snow seasons and in high-mountain environments. If the candidate has a driver’s license that is incompatible with the Norwegian requirements, they are expected to confirm their license according to the Norwegian rules within the first 6 months of employment;
  • Level 2 or higher in any of the Scandinavian languages is an advantage in case of equal qualification;
  • Good written and oral English language skills, ideally supported by evidence. The following tests can be used as a documentation: TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE), or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

Personal characteristics

  • Self-motivated, enthusiastic and creative
  • Strong collaborative and leadership skills
  • Goal-oriented and independent in research
  • Interest in multidisciplinary problem solving
  • Ability and willingness to spend considerable time on glaciers and at glacial lakes during spring (April) and summer (August-September)
  • Good analytical skills and enhanced ability to identify important research problems and design alternative solutions to problems, including multidisciplinary approaches.

In the evaluation of the candidate’s qualifications, emphasis will be placed on the education, documented experience and personal suitability, as well as personal motivation for ground-breaking research and high quality of teaching.

The selected candidate will be best-qualified in one of the major fields covered by this position (remote sensing or numerical modeling) in addition to the documented glacier fieldwork experience.

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 491 200 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 four years including 25% of teaching duties.
Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in social sciences specialising in Geography within three months of employment, and that the candidate participates 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, except for the fieldwork seasons and vacation periods.

About the application

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

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: 

  • Cover letter (maximum 1 page)
  • Research statement including a problem statement, planned research methods and approaches and a timeline with milestones for their implementation (maximum 2 pages)
  • Teaching statement specifying your motivation, attitude and approach when it comes to teaching and supervision (maximum 1 page)
  • CV
  • certificates and diplomas for bachelor's and master's degrees.
  • Academic works published, in review or unpublished (in preparation) - that you would like to be considered in the assessment
  • Names, phone numbers and email addresses of three referees, including information about the origin of your relation to them.

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor's and master's education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

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).

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.

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.

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 Irina Rogozhina, telephone: +47 41918909, email: If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Renate Lillian Johansen, e-mail:

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered.

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number SU-564 when applying.

Application deadline: 09.08.2021

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 9th August 2021
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Fixed Term
Place of service Dragvoll