PhD Candidate, Kavli Institute of Systems Neuroscience

Trondheim, Norway
21 Feb 2023
End of advertisement period
16 Apr 2023
Contract Type
Full Time

About the job

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

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate who is interested in joining our collaborative team composed of an international and multidisciplinary environment consisting of physicists, biologists and clinicians in which creativity and scientific dialogue across fields is highly valued and encouraged. The PhD candidate will be hosted at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience (KISN) and work in close collaboration with the Institute of Neuromedicine and Movement Science (INB) and Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology at St. Olav’s University Hospital.

The group for Vision and Navigation (KISN), led by Tobias Navarro Schroeder, seeks to integrate functional neuroimaging with behavioural tasks to answer fundamental questions about neural computation. To this end, the group investigates:

  • How the human brain uses visual information to map the surrounding environment and how it forms and uses memories of past events.
  • How the brain computes the location of people and objects using ecologically relevant virtual reality experiments and neuroimaging.
  • Whether individual differences in memory performance correlate to structural differences in the brain or unique patterns of neurotransmitter release.

The research unit for Systems Neurology (INB), coordinated by Thanh P. Doan, aims to investigate phylogenetically preserved neural systems in normal and pathological brain networks to address current gaps in translational research. To this end, this unit is currently capitalizing on the extended hippocampal system using advanced imaging, invasive physiological and behavioural assays in humans offered by exclusive clinical windows.

The project will pioneer the study of patients with “transient global amnesia” (TGA) as a unique model of reversible hippocampal dysfunction to reveal underpinnings of memory using:

  • Clinical examination with advanced cognitive and behavioural testing in different phases of the syndrome.
  • Advanced ultra-high field, ultra-high resolution Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) methods in the recently established Norwegian 7T MR center. This includes structural and functional MRI and MR spectroscopy.
  • Analysis of comparable datasets from patients with cognitive impairment and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease to further develop translational neuroscience based on the Nobel prize awarded discovery of spatial coding in the extended hippocampal system.

The position must start before the 1st of October 2023.

Your immediate leaders are Tobias Navarro Schroeder and Thanh P. Doan.

Duties of the position

  • Work with a diverse, collaborative, and ambitious research team to acquire data from both patients and healthy volunteers that bridges fundamental, basic research with clinical questions.
  • Apply a combination of advanced cognitive testing, brain imaging, multivariate statistical tools and applied mathematics to study the link between hippocampal (dys)function and memory. This includes methods to test brain structure and morphology, function and connectivity, as well as molecular composition of brain areas.
  • Assist the clinicians on-call to establish a differential diagnosis of patients with transient amnesic syndrome referred to the emergency department and recruit patients in the acute phase of TGA.
  • Disseminating scientific findings via conference presentations and scientific publications.

Required selection criteria

  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree program, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level.
  • You must hold a medical degree (MD), be a student in the last year of your medical studies, or 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. Outstanding candidates with an MSc in neuroscience, biology, psychology physics or mathematics with a strong academic background will also be considered for the position, but given equal qualifications applicants with a MD or students in the last year of their medical studies will be preferred.
  • Excellent written and oral English language skills.
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty's doctoral program.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with  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

  • Documented scandinavian language proficiency (level C1 or above).
  • Valid authorisation and licence to practice medicine in Norway.
  • Clinical experience in internal medicine, neurology or radiology.
  • Interest in systems, cognitive or translational neuroscience.

Experience in:

  • Literature review and scientific communication.   
  • Experimental design.
  • Recruitment of research participants.
  • Acquisition of human research data.
  • Analysis of neuroimaging or neurophysiological data (e.g. (f)MRI or EEG).
  • Experience in programming languages and writing custom scripts for data processing (e.g. Matlab, Python, C).
  • Creative problem solving and taking the initiative to solve problems in a group setting.

Personal characteristics

  • Drive to learn and become an independent researcher.
  • Curious, passionate and creative.
  • Highly motivated.
  • Good communicator and ability to work in a team.

Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

We offer

  • Excellent international academic and clinical environment at the forefront of fundamental and translational neuroscientific research in Europe.
  • Possibility to work as a clinician at St.Olav’s University Hospital upon completion of the patient recruitment phase, depending on needs and qualifications.
  • An open and inclusive work environment with dedicated colleagues.
  • Favourable terms in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.
  • Employee benefits.

Salary and conditions

As a PhD candidate (code 1017) you are normally paid from gross NOK 501 200 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 Medicine and Health Sciences 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.

The position is subject to external funding.

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 your application will be considered based solely on information submitted by the application deadline. You must therefore ensure that your application clearly demonstrates how your skills and experience fulfil the criteria specified above.

The application must include: 

  • CV.
  • List of publications. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.
  • Transcripts and diplomas for medical or MSc degrees. If you have not completed the medical degree, you must submit a confirmation that you are in the last year of your medical studies.
  • Name and contact information of 2-3 references, ideally with letters of recommendation.
  • A 1-2 page statement of intent. Why would you like to work on this project and what exactly makes you a suitable candidate (e.g. highlighting skills, previous work experience and research interest).

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.

We will take joint work into account. If it is difficult to identify your efforts in the joint work, you must enclose a short 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

NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is our strength. We want to recruit people with different competencies, educational backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives to contribute to solving our social responsibilities within education and research. We will facilitate for our employees’ needs.

NTNU is working actively to increase the number of women employed in scientific positions and has a number of resources to promote equality.

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.

A public list of applicants with name, age, job title and municipality of residence is prepared after the application deadline. If you want to reserve yourself from entry on the public applicant list, this must be justified. Assessment will be made in accordance with current legislation. You will be notified if the reservation is not accepted.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Tobias Navarro Schröder (Associate Professor and Vision and Navigation group leader at KISN; and Thanh P. Doan (Researcher and Systems Neurology unit coordinator at INB and neurologist at the Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, St. Olav’s University Hospital;

If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact HR Adviser Simon A. Berger, e-mail:

If you think this looks interesting and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates attached. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation.

Application deadline: 16.04.2023


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.

The Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience is part of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at NTNU. It was established as a Centre of Excellence in 2002, and designated as a Kavli Foundation Institute in 2007 ( The scientific goal of the Institute is to increase the understanding of neural circuits and systems along with their role in generating psychological functions.

Today, the Institute consists of the Centre for Neuronal Computation (CNC) as well as the Egil and Pauline Braathen and Fred Kavli Centre for Cortical Microcircuits. In 2014, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to two of the Institute’s professors, Edvard Moser and May-Britt Moser. The Institute is responsible for an international master's programme and is affiliated with a doctoral programme in medicine. Through our widespread network of international collaboration, we offer unique career opportunities. For further information, see:

Deadline 16th April 2023
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience (KISN)

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