PhD Candidate in Experimental Soft Matter Science Related to Food Applications

Trondheim, Norway
26 Nov 2021
End of advertisement period
11 Dec 2021
NV 115/21
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

About the position

It is well known that small particles can get trapped at the interface between two fluids. This effect can be used to coat droplets with micro or nano-scale particles, and thereby stabilize emulsions without the use of surfactant molecules, known as Pickering emulsions.

Would you like to start your career in a European training network of leading research universities and professionals from the industry? Then you might be interested in this PhD position, which will enable you to join the PICKFOOD project. PICKFOOD is a top-level interdisciplinary training and research programme involving 15 PhD positions across physics, physical chemistry and food science. PICKFOOD aims to create at European level a network of next generation young scientists trained in novel methodologies within Pickering emulsions research enabling the development of safe, healthy and functional foods and at the same time minimizing food waste due to lipid oxidation.

This network is detailed on the site

In the PICKFOOD project NTNU has three PhD vacancies working in the area of experimental soft matter science in the Soft and Complex Matter Lab located at the Department of Physics, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Norwegian University of Science and Technology – NTNU in Trondheim Norway. The 13 other Pickfood positions are advertised through the EURAXESS portal.

About  Pickfood position #7 located at NTNU:

Title: Particle assembly on liquid droplets.

The current project is to study structure and dynamics of particles on individual  Pickering droplets, primarily by microscopy, including confocal microscopy. This may involve magnetic control and manipulation of individual droplets or pairs of droplets, and in general develop experimental setups that allow precise imaging of static and dynamic phenomena.   It will also be of interest to study particle ordering (Pickering layer formation) when the droplets are made of heterogenous or anisotropic liquids, such as liquid crystalline phases. 

The NTNU workplace of the PhD candidate will be in the Soft and Complex Matter Lab ( in certain cases supported by the NTNU Nanolab (

The position has a duration of 3 years.

Staring date for employment in the position is January 1 2022.

Experimental methods that may be utilized in the project are microscopy (optical, atomic force - AFM, electron (SEM, TEM)) and microfluidic methods. Electron-spin resonance will be used to quantify  oxidation of samples. Custom made experiments, such as special purpose sample cells, acoustic levitation etc. will be designed and built with the help of the laboratory’s technical staff, the NTNU mechanical workshop or by own 3D printing.

You will report to Head of Department of Physics Professor Erik Wahlstrøm.

Dr. Paul Dommersnes from the Department of Physics will be the main supervisor of the PhD candidate, and Researcher Matti Knaapila and Professor Jon Otto Fossum   (Department of Physics) will be co-supervisors at NTNU. Supervision at DTU will be conducted by  Professor Charlotte Jacobsen, and at Unilever by Professor Krassimir Velikov.

Duties of the position

Altogether maximum 7 months of the employment period will be spent on secondments at academic (DTU) and non-academic partner institutions (Unilever, Giamag).  At DTU Food  analysis of droplet aging and oxidation study  (3 months).

The will also be industrial secondments (3 months) to Unilever, Netherlands, and Giamag Technologies A/S (one month).

The current project is to study structure and dynamics of particles on individual  Pickering droplets, primarily by microscopy, including confocal microscopy. This may involve magnetic control and manipulation of individual droplets or pairs of droplets, and in general develop experimental setups that allow precise imaging of static and dynamic phenomena.   It will also be of interest to study particle ordering (Pickering layer formation) when the droplets are made of heterogenous or anisotropic liquids, such as liquid crystalline phases. 

Some sample preparation that involves physical chemistry for nano-/micro-particle functionalization will be supervised by and partly performed by the experienced laboratory staff at NTNU, DTU, and Unilever.

Information about eligibility

The applicant shall, at the time of recruitment by NTNU, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him or her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited.

The applicant is required to undertake transnational mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up his/her appointment. At the time of recruitment by NTNU, the applicant must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date. Note that the mobility rule applies to Norway, where the researcher is recruited, and not to co-hosting research groups to which the researcher is sent or seconded.

Required selection criteria

  • The PhD candidate position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is that you at thestart of your appointment have completed a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic
    background in physics, nanotechnology, materials science, or another relevant field with sufficient physics contents or equivalent
    education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you musthave an equally good academic foundation. If you are unable to meet these criteria you may be considered only if you can documentthat you are particularly suitable for education leading to a PhD degree.
  • 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

  • The position requires a strong interest in developing experimental skills.
  • The position requires skills in scientific programming by Matlab / Python.
  • Experience with, or courses in materials physics, experimental physics or physical chemistry, such as in using some of the methods listed above, may be considered an advantage.
  • Good written and oral English.

Personal characteristics

  • Creative, with a strong ability to work goal-oriented.
  • Good skills to deliver oral and written presentations of research results.
  • He/she should also enjoy interdisciplinary research and take keen interest in learning and working in teams, which is of particular importance in this collaborative project.

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. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years. There is a possibility for an with 8 months employment if the PhD candidate is qualified for and selected for teaching duty work at the Department of Physics NTNU .

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in physics ( 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 on a daily basis, with the exception of the time periods for planned research missions to the collaborating laboratories described above.

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:

  • An application letter that shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the specific criteria and general research approach which are set out above, as well as your motivation.
  • 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

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 Professor Paul Gunnar Dommersnes, email If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Head of Department of Physics Professor Erik Wahlstrøm, e-mail:

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 115/21 when applying.

Application deadline: 11.12.21

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 Physics

Our research and teaching are both experimental and theoretical, covering a wide range of disciplines. Our activities contribute to development of new medical technology and to finding solutions for the next generation’s communication technology, energy utilization and development of materials. The Department of Physics is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

Deadline 11th December 2021
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Fixed Term
Place of service

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