PhD Position in Protein-Biopolymer Interactions

Trondheim, Norway
07 Dec 2021
End of advertisement period
01 Feb 2022
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

A three-year PhD position (with the possibility of extending the position by one extra year due to teaching activity) in the topic of “Investigating interactions between proteins and biopolymer surfaces” is available in the group of Assoc. Prof. Gaston Courtade at the Department of Biotechnology and Food Science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway

The goal of the position is that the PhD will complete a doctoral education programme and obtain a doctoral degree.

The PhD candidate will work on investigating interactions between proteins and polymer surfaces including cellulose, chitin, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The aim of the project is to understand how selected proteins (LPMOs, carbohydrate-binding modules, glycoside hydrolases, cutinase) bind to the surfaces of these polymers and to study how the binding event regulates enzymatic activity on the substrates.

The project is interdisciplinary and includes molecular biology (protein expression and purification, mutagenesis), solution-state and solid-state NMR spectroscopy, biophysical techniques [atomic force microscopy (AFM), surface plasmon resonance (SPR), quartz crystal microbalance (QCM)], and molecular dynamics simulations.

You will report to Assoc. Prof. Gaston Courtade (

Duties of the position

  • Expression and purification of recombinant proteins
  • NMR spectroscopy of proteins and protein-biopolymer samples
  • Molecular dynamics simulations of proteins and protein-biopolymer systems
  • Data analysis
  • Preparation of manuscripts and doctoral thesis
  • Presentation of results at group meetings and scientific conferences

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a master’s degree in biophysics, biochemistry, chemistry, or a related field.
  • Good written and oral communication skills in English
  • Good analytical skills
  • Motivation for solving scientific problems
  • Experience with working with proteins or biopolymers
  • 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 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

  • Preference will be given to candidates with prior experience in NMR spectroscopy, molecular dynamics simulations and/or biophysical techniques.
  • Experience with data-analysis skills in e.g., Python

Personal characteristics

  • Creative approach to problem solving
  • Adapts behaviour to achieve goals, overcome setbacks or solve a challenge
  • Learns from experiences and feedback from others

We offer

  • Exciting and stimulating tasks in a strong international academic environment. We have state-of-the-art infrastructure including high-performance computing resources ( and an NMR laboratory ( equipped with spectrometers operating at 800 MHz, 600 MHz, and 400 MHz.
  • The possibility to gain international experience through research stays in Denmark
  • An open and inclusive work environment with dedicated colleagues.
  • A work environment where everyone must behave in a way that is based on respect for their colleagues and work partners, regardless of gender, cultural background, ethnicity, or other characteristics.
  • Favourable terms in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • Employee benefits

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 with a possibility to extend the position by 1 year if the candidate is qualified for and selected for teaching duty work.

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.

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: 

  • A cover letter containing a summary of research interests, accomplishments, career goals, and a preferred start date.
  • A current CV
  • Transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's and master's degrees. If you have not completed the master's degree, you must submit a confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted.
  • Academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment.
  • Contact information for three references. 

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 Assoc.Prof. Gaston Courtade, 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-136/21 when applying.

Application deadline: 01.02.2022

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 1st February 2022
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Gløshaugen

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