PhD Candidate in Antimicrobial Resistance and Plastic-Associated Biofilms in the Marine Environment

Trondheim, Norway
29 May 2023
End of advertisement period
18 Jun 2023
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Full Time

About the job

A three-year PhD position (with the possibility of an one year extension due to teaching duties) related to the project «Plastics as a potential vector for spread of antimicrobial resistance and pathogens from wastewater discharge in the marine environment (PlastiSpread)» is available at the Department of Biotechnology and Food Science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway and is hosted by NTNU and will be conducted in collaboration with national and international research partners. For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree.

The project aims to investigate the role of urban wastewater effluents and bacterial biofilms on the plastisphere in the spreading of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the marine environment. Microbial biofilms and the potential role of marine plastics as a vector for transmission of resistant bacteria or their genes will be studied in lab- and field scale model systems in the Trondheim Fjord, where bivalve mollusks also will be used as indicators for effects on marine organisms present at the same site.

Your immediate leader is Associate Professor Sunniva Hoel (

Duties of the position

  • Characterisation of microbial communities and antimicrobial resistance genes in wastewater effluents, sludge and plastic-associated microbial biofilms in lab-scale and field experiments using culture-and sequence-based methods.
  • Experiments on horizontal gene transfer and development of bacterial resistance in relevant bacterial culture systems.
  • Data analysis, including bioinformatics.
  • Publish in scientific journals and conferences and disseminate research to research partners in the PlastiSpread consortium.
  • The candidate is expected to be an active and cooperating partner in the research group and project consortium.

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a master’s degree in microbiology, biotechnology, or a related field.
  • 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.
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the PhD programme in Biotechnology (
  • You must document very good written and oral English skills.
  • You must document theoretical knowledge and practical experience in at least one of the following subjects: characterisation of microbial communities, antimicrobial resistance, microbial biofilms, sequence-based methods, bioinformatics.

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

  • Preference will be given to candidates with relevant research experience in biotechnology or microbiology.

Personal characteristics

  • Adaptive and oriented towards finding solutions
  • Good at communication
  • Good collaborative skills as the candidate will work closely with research partners in the PlastiSpread consortium

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 532 200 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 the possibility of one year extension due to teaching duties).
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.

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: 

  • A cover letter containing a summary of research interests, scientific accomplishments, and career goals.  
  • 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.
  • An abstract of your master's thesis (maximum 1 page). Documentation of a completed master's degree must be presented before taking up the position.
  • Other academic work – published or unpublished – that you would like to be considered in the assessment.
  • Name and contact information 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.

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 Associate Professor Sunniva Hoel, email:

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: 18.06.2023


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.

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 18th June 2023
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Akrinn

Similar jobs

Similar jobs