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Postdocs / PhDs, The Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience

About the positions and projects

We are pleased to advertise six postdoc or PhD positions in computationally guided experimental neural-networks neuroscience. The positions will be associated with the research group of May-Britt and Edvard Moser, with the research group of Weijian Zong, or both (on collaborative work). Positions in the Moser lab use Neuropixels probes or two-photon miniscopes to understand neural population coding in entorhinal-hippocampal systems. Positions in the Zong group use two-photon miniscopes and will further develop this technology.

We ask that candidates specify which position(s) and project(s) they preferentially apply for. Postdocs will be preferred for most of the positions in the Moser group, although exceptional applications from PhD candidates will still be considered.

The positions are intended to be filled by the end of the year of 2024 or early 2025. Exact startup times are flexible. The work carried out in these projects will be financed by NTNU, the European Research Council (ERC), the Centre of Excellence scheme of the Research Council of Norway, and a special contribution to the Moser group from the Ministry of Science and Education in Norway. 

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, again in 2012 and again in 2023 which has never happened before in Norway. It was designated as a Kavli Foundation Institute in 2007. Work in the Moser group was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2014. The scientific goal of the Institute and the two research groups is to understand neural circuits and systems in the cortex and to identify neural-population mechanisms underlying high-level cognitive functions (www.ntnu.edu/kavli).

The focus of the Moser group is on mechanisms for space, time and memory coding in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex in the adult and developing brain. With the introduction of new technologies for high-resolution neural population recording (Neuropixels and two-photon miniscope imaging), the group has shifted its interests towards large-scale neural network computation in interacting neural circuits. Experimental studies are guided by computational models of neural network function, and investigators work closely with theoretical partners. The group has an extensive world-wide network of collaborators to reach its objectives.

Dr. Zong established his group at the Kavli Institute in 2023, focusing on developing cutting-edge optical tools to monitor and manipulate neural activity in naturally-behaving animals to understand the neuronal computation rulesets in cortical microcircuits. Dr. Zong's recent achievement includes the development of a miniature portable 2-photon miniscope (MINI2P) for high-resolution multiplane imaging of thousands of neurons in the cortical tissue of freely-moving mice (W. Zong et al., Cell, 2022).

About the projects

  • Three or four of the candidates to be recruited to the Moser group will use Neuropixels probes to determine high temporal-resolution dynamics of grid-cell and place-cell populations during behavior and in off-line states (sleep) in adult or developing rats or mice. Studies will use Neuropixels probes to record in parallel from multiple regions of the entorhinal-hippocampal system to explore neural code formation as well as transformation in spatial firing patterns, including also differences between hippocampal regions in the organization of neural sequences. Attempts will be made to link neural dynamics to specific and naturalistic behaviors.
  • One or two candidates for the Moser group will use two-photon miniscope recordings and holographic stimulation to determine functional network connectivity and dynamics underlying neural population activity in specific groups of grid cells and other space-coding neurons.  The imaging projects are a collaboration between the Moser and Zong labs.
  • One candidate, associated with the Zong lab but collaborating with the Moser group, will develop methods for extracting information from multimodal imaging data to understand microcircuit wiring. Neural imaging will be combined with spatial transcriptomics to identify through genetic expression patterns subpopulations that give rise to the specific neural network functions. Candidates working with Zong will have the chance to apply cutting-edge two-photon imaging technology as it is being developed.

Required selection criteria

  • Excellent communication skills in English are imperative, both orally and written, and must be demonstrated.
  • Documented experience with scientific programming (Python, Matlab, R; e.g., history of activity on Github).

Applicants are expected to express strong motivation, verified by track record, and to have a good understanding of neural systems computation. The application should include a statement of what kind of questions the candidate would like to work on and why they consider them important. The research statement will be discussed during the interview.

For postdoctoral positions:

  • You must have completed a Norwegian doctoral degree or corresponding foreign doctoral degree recognized as equivalent to a Norwegian PhD in neuroscience, psychology, biology or medicine, computational science, physics, mathematics or equivalent.
  • If you can document that the PhD thesis has been submitted, your application can be assessed even if you have not yet defended your dissertation. Documentation of the obtained doctoral degree must be presented before you can take up the position.
  • You must have track record of paper writing (papers published or on preprint servers, with author contributions specified, or alternatively indicated in reference letters).


If, for any reason, you have taken a career break or have had an atypical career and wish to disclose this in your application, the selection committee will take this into account, recognizing that the quantity of your research may be reduced as a result.

For PhD positions:

  • Completion of a master’s degree or equivalent, with a strong academic background in the same subjects as for the postdoc position, with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale.
  • For the position in the Zong group, a background in engineering will be similarly relevant.
  • Applicants with master’s degrees not approved as equivalent to a Norwegian degree may be offered the opportunity to take missing courses to obtain an equivalent degree; however, further recruitment will depend on a grade of B or better on the Norwegian equivalent.

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

Preferred selection criteria

  • For all calcium imaging positions: Experience with analyses of imaging data such as functional calcium imaging and confocal data.
  • For the calcium imaging positions in Moser group: Experience with techniques used in cellular and molecular neuroscience (e.g. western blot, immunohistochemistry, virus design or operation) (additional to experience with imaging).
  • For all positions in the Moser group: experimental experience with physiological data collection, surgery and animal behavior will count strongly. Motivation for doing and learning data collection will be essential.
  • For all positions in the Moser group: coding experience and experience with analysis of large-scale neural data
  • For all positions in the Zong group: experience with engineering programming (such as Labview, CAD, SolidWorks, Zemax or GUI-graphic user interface, and visualization programs).
  • Experience with rodents and certificate from the course in Animal Research in Norway (or equivalent)

Personal characteristics

  • Strong and consistent motivation
  • Demonstrable commitment
  • Strong work ethics
  • Excellent collaboration skills and ability to work in teams

Personal suitability for the position will be considered as essential for the selection.

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. As a Postdoctoral Fellow (code 1352) you are normally paid from gross NOK 575 400 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 3-4 years, with opportunities for extension under certain circumstances.

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 positions are partly subject to external funding.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution on a daily basis.

About the application 

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

If, for any reason, you have taken a career break or have had an atypical career and wish to disclose this in your application, the selection committee will take this into account, recognizing that the quantity of your research may be reduced as a result. 

The application must include:

  • Specify which position(s) and project(s) you preferentially apply for
  • CV, certificates and publication list including a description of your contribution to each work
  • transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's-, master's- and PhD degrees (for postdoctoral candidates). If you have not yet completed your Master's/Ph.D, you must provide confirmation on your estimated date for Master's defence or doctoral dissertation, or that your Master's/PhD thesis has been submitted
  • A copy of the Master's thesis (PhD candidates) or doctoral thesis (postdoctoral candidates). If you are close to submitting, or have recently submitted your thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed master's/doctoral degree must be presented before taking up the position.
  • Relevant academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment.
  • Research statement (as mentioned above)
  • Name and contact information of three referees. Relationship between reference and applicant should be indicated.  

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. 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 candidates are 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 a strength. We want our faculty and staff to reflect Norway’s culturally diverse population and we continuously seek to hire the best minds. This enables NTNU to increase productivity and innovation, improve decision making processes, raise employee satisfaction, compete academically with global top-ranking institutions and carry out our social responsibilities within education and research. NTNU emphasizes accessibility and encourages qualified candidates to apply regardless of gender identity, ability status, periods of unemployment or ethnic and 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. 

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 think this looks interesting and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via jobbnorge.no 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: 01.04.2024

Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine 2014

NTNU

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 (www.kavlifoundation.org). 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.

The institute slogan is: Excellent science, happy people, happy animals and diversity.

For further information, see: www.ntnu.edu/kavli.

Questions about the position

Edvard Moser
Professor
edvard.moser@ntnu.no

May-Britt Moser
Professor
may-britt.moser@ntnu.no

Weijian Zong
Forsker
weijian.zong@ntnu.no

Lisa Yvonne Mele
HR-rådgiver
lisa.y.mele@ntnu.no

Deadline 1st April 2024
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim 
Scope Fulltime (6 positions)
Duration Fixed Term
Place of service Olav Kyrres gate 90, 7030 Trondheim

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