PhD Position in Structural Biology

Trondheim, Norway
15 Oct 2021
End of advertisement period
29 Oct 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree.  

The Biopolymer NMR Group ( is looking for a candidate to be hired for a three-year PhD position in the Alginate Modifying Enzymes project (AlgModE).

The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway and hosted by the Norwegian Biopolymer Laboratory (NOBIPOL) at the Department of Biotechnology and Food Sciences, NTNU. NOBIPOL is a multidisciplinary research group devoted to the field Biopolymer Engineering. Based on more than 60 years of continuous research in the field, NOBIPOL possesses competence and experience in all aspects related to science and technology of marine polysaccharides, such as alginate. The current activities of NOBIPOL take place in close collaboration with the Department of Physics and the Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine at NTNU, as well as SINTEF Biotechnology and Nanomedicine, other national and international research organisations, and industry.

The PhD candidate will address fundamental structural and functional differences of two classes of alginate modifying enzymes – alginate epimerases and alginate lyases. The determination of their catalytic mechanism, which at present remains largely unclear, will be the main aim of the work. There is large interest in these enzymes both academically and for various applications within the AlgModE project’s consortium (NTNU (host), SINTEF, DTU and Station Biologique de Roscoff) as well as in the larger polysaccharide modifying enzymes research community.

You will report to Prof. Finn L. Aachmann.

Duties of the position

The PhD candidate will work on the following tasks:

  • Manage your research project
  • Experimental design and execution
  • Protein production and purification
  • Biochemical protein and enzyme characterization
  • Structural and functional characterisation
  • Write scientific papers and a PhD thesis

The overall goal for the PhD candidate is to create a deeper understanding of structural and functional variations of alginate modifying enzymes and demonstrate how this understanding can be applied to make tailored alginate structures. The work will be performed in laboratories with state of the art infrastructure and in close interaction with other scientists and students in the research group.

Required selection criteria

  • Master in biotechnology, chemistry or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of the NTNU’s grading scale
  • Experience with protein structure characterisation (X-ray, NMR, Cryo-EM)
  • Experience with carbohydrate analysis (e.g. NMR, HPAE-PAD, MS)
  • Documented excellent oral and written English skills
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level 
  • You must have a strong academic background with a strong academic background in biotechnology 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

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  

Preferred selection criteria

  • Experience with gene technology, protein expression and purification
  • Experience with biophysical methods (e.g. FPLC, CD, FS)
  • Competence with computer-based analytical tools
  • Knowledge of a Scandinavian language

Personal characteristics

The applicant should be motivated, creative and ambitious, with a strong ability to work problem-solution orientated both in teams and independently. The applicant should be genuinely interested in scientific research and its industrial applications as well as scientific dissemination. In the evaluation of which applicant is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience, and personal suitability, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in this position announcement.

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.

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 3 years.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Biotechnology 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 in one of the Scandinavian languages.

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
  • One Page Personal motivation letter
  • Academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment (up to 3 works)
  • Name and address of up to three referees
  • 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.

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 and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

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 Prof. Finn L. Aachmann, 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-111/21 when applying.

Application deadline: 29.10.21

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.

Department of Biotechnology and Food Science

Our activities contribute to increased exploitation of existing and new ingredients for sustainable food production as well as next-generation energy solutions and medical technology. We educate graduates for a wide range of careers in industry, public administration and academia. The Department of Biotechnology and Food Science is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

Deadline 29th October 2021
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Gløshaugen

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