PhD Candidate in Mental Healthcare Provision

About the job

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

The Department of Public Health and Nursing has a temporary position available as a PhD candidate in health services research. The project, titled “Sustainable Mental Health Care in General Practice” is an interdisciplinary collaborative project with participants from NTNU, St. Olav's University Hospital, and various national and international partners.

General practitioners (GPs) are often the first point of contact, and the primary treatment arena for adults with common mental health problems is general practice. However, little is known on the follow-up of these patients in general practice. As the prevalence of mental health problems increases, a corresponding rise in GP consultations regarding mental health can be expected. Already, the situation in general practice is described as a crisis – characterized by a shortage of GPs and a high workload on practicing GPs. This raises concern about the future capacity of GPs to effectively care for patients with mental health problems. There is limited evidence about how patients with mental healthcare problems are cared for in general practice, how much time GPs spend on different strategies, and which approaches are most effective in reducing the negative health and labour market consequences that mental health problems can cause.

The aim of the PhD project is to provide evidence about management of adults with mental health problems in general practice and at the intersect between municipal- and secondary healthcare. We will rely on rigorous quantitative methods applying novel analytical designs mirroring randomised experiments using observational data from relevant health and social security registries and databases.

The PhD candidate’s research project will be completed and developed in collaboration with an interdisciplinary research group (REGFORSK). The candidate will receive close supervision in collaboration with clinical, epidemiological, statistical, and econometric expertise.

Your immediate leader is Johan Håkon Bjørngaard. 

Duties of the position

  • Conducting quantitative research using large-scale individual-level registry data
  • Performing instrumental variable and multivariable regression analyses
  • Write scientific manuscripts and publish in international peer-reviewed journals
  • Presentation of findings at national and international conferences
  • Participation in the PhD programme at NTNU

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a master's degree or equivalent with a background in health economics, economics, medicine, epidemiology, public health, psychiatry or other health subjects.
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree program, 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.
  • Master's students can apply, but the master's degree must be obtained and documented by 1.  July, 2023.
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty's doctoral program.
  • Good written and oral English skills.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with Regulations on terms of employment for positions such as postdoctoral fellow, Phd candidate, research assistant and specialist candidate 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

  • Knowledge about the healthcare sector in Norway or Scandinavian countries 
  • Knowledge about the work of primary care physicians and interest in mental health research
  • Experience in quantitative methods or/and experience from research on health-related topics
  • Solid competence in basic statistical methods and experience using statistical programs such as STATA and R
  • Skills in Norwegian or similar Scandinavian languages is an advantage, but not a requirement

Personal characteristics

  • Ability to work independently
  • Good collaboration skills and values interdisciplinary environment
  • Thorough, structured, and responsible
  • Highly motivated for the position

Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

We offer

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 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 internal 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 (Departments to choose from the following): 

  • CV and certificates
  • 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.
  • A copy of the master's thesis. If you recently have submitted your master's thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed master's degree must be presented before taking up the position.
  • Name and contact information of three referees
  • If you have publications or other relevant research work

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.

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 professor Johan Håkon Bjørngaard, email If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact HR-consultant Rebecca Hembre Storli, 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: 17.04.2023


Deadline 17th April 2023
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Trondheim

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