PhD position in Plant Ecology

Trondheim, Norway
02 Mar 2017
End of advertisement period
07 Apr 2017
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Full Time

The NTNU University Museum at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology is seeking a highly qualified, ambitious, and motivated candidate for a PhD position in plant ecology. The PhD student will work on a project ‘Disentangling the impacts of herbivory and climate on ecological dynamics’ funded by the Research Council of Norway. The position is for 3 years and available from 1st July 2016.

The position
The successful candidate will be a member of the Department of Natural History at the NTNU University Museum and will be supervised by Associate Professor James D. M. Speed. The student will have the opportunity to undertake a 3 to 4 month research stay at Université Laval, Québec to work with Professor Jean-Pierre Tremblay.

The successful candidate will use two approaches to disentangle the impact of herbivores and climate on the dynamics of tundra and boreal ecosystems. Firstly, the PhD student will use tree and shrub stems from a spatial network of sites across Norway, Scotland, Iceland and Canada to partition variation in woody plant growth between herbivore and climatic drivers. Secondly, the PhD student will analyse repeat vegetation plots within Norway and Scotland to understand how climate and herbivory interact to determine community level vegetation change. The project will include field work, microscope-laboratory analyses and data processing and analyses. The PhD student will collaborate with researchers within Norway and internationally and will gain experience in quantitative ecology and plant community ecology.


Essential qualifications of the successful applicant:

  • A Master’s degree (or equivalent) in biology within plant ecology, vegetation ecology or trophic interactions. Applicants must have defended their master thesis at the latest within June 2017.
  • Experience in applying quantitative analyses in ecological contexts
  • Excellent written and verbal communication ability in English

Desirable qualifications of the successful applicant:

  • Experience and knowledge of statistical analyses including GLM and GLMM
  • Experience of vegetation analyses including multivariate approaches
  • Knowledge of boreal and/or tundra ecosystems
  • Fieldwork experience
  • Experience with dendroecological analyses

Applicants must document excellent results from their education or through later research activity, be highly goal-oriented and able to deliver results on time. The successful applicant must fulfil the requirements for admission as a PhD student at NTNU.

As the project leader and collaborators are international, the position requires spoken and written fluency in the English language. Applicants from non-English-speaking countries outside Europe are encouraged to document English skills through an approved test. Approved tests are TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

Evaluation of candidates will focus on:

  • The MSc thesis (or equivalent)
  • Scientific publications (not expected at this level)
  • Grades from relevant university-level courses
  • Application/cover letter including a description of how this position fits the career plan and interests of the applicant
  • Collaborative skills (references)
  • An interview (of short-listed candidates)

Admission to PhD programs at NTNU require a MSc (or equivalent) with at least 5 years of studies and an average grade of A or B within a scale of A-E for passing grades (A best) for the two last years of the MSc, as well as an average grade of C or better of the BSc studies. Candidates from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a Diploma Supplement or a similar document that describes in detail the study and grade system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree:

Information about the working environment
The NTNU University Museum, Department of Natural History currently has 16 faculty positions, six temporary research positions, 8 PhD students and 12 technical and administrative positions. The department’s research activity is facilitated through two research groups: the Systematics and Evolution Group and the Conservation Biology Group. The Department cooperates formally with the NTNU Department of Biology and is also responsible for teaching biosystematics (systematics, taxonomy, biogeography, floristics, faunistics) at the university.

The NTNU University Museum is located in historic Trondheim, Norway’s third most populous municipality. Nestled at the meeting of the Nidelva River and the Trondheim Fjord, the mountainous surrounding area boasts many opportunities for hiking, skiing, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Trondheim itself offers exciting activities for students as well as good connections to major European transport hubs. More information about Trondheim here: Information about Norway’s consistent top placement in global quality-of-life rankings can be found here:

The PhD position follows code 1017, gross NOK 435 100 per year (before tax). There will be a 2% deduction to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Found from gross salary.

Other information
The terms of employment will be in accordance with existing national regulations of 31 January 2006, with NTNU’s supplementary regulations of 1 August 2012. The applicant must commit to undertake organized PhD studies within the employment period. Employment as a PhD candidate requires admission to the PhD program in Biology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences. The best qualified applicants will be invited to an interview. Information about the applicants may be open to public inspection under the Freedom of Information Act.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants. The employee is expected to accept possible changes in work tasks. It is a major political objective to achieve a balance of age and gender in the national labour force and to recruit people with an immigrant background. Accordingly, immigrants are encouraged to apply for all advertised positions. For more information about the museum see:

Further information about the department and the open position can be obtained from Associate Professor James D. M. Speed (phone: +47 73 59 22 51, e-mail or Head of Department Torkild Bakken (phone: +47 73 59 23 82, e-mail

The application

Applications must include:

  1. An application/cover letter (max 1 page)
  2. A separate document detailing how this position matches the interests, experience, and career plan of the applicant.
  3. CV, including a list of publications and contact information of at least two references willing to provide letters upon request
  4. Copies of both BSc and MSc degrees and transcripts
  5. Master thesis (or draft if not yet complete)
  6. Copies of publications, or other relevant scientific work authored by the applicant 

The application must be submitted electronically through Please mark any correspondence with 17/8407.

Application deadline: 7th April, 2017.

About this job

  • Deadline 4/7/2017
  • Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Website
  • Municipality Trondheim
  • Place of service Trondheim
  • Jobbnorge ID 134994
  • Internal ID 17/8407
  • Scope Fulltime
  • Duration Temporary

About applications

  • Applications on this job are registered in an electronic form on
  • You must complete: Standard CV
  • Please refer to where you first saw this job advertised!

Similar jobs

Similar jobs