PhD Position in Transforming Ecology with Citizen Science

Trondheim, Norway
17 Apr 2018
End of advertisement period
25 May 2018
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Full Time

The NTNU University Museum, Department of Natural History seeks a highly motivated candidate for a PhD-position working on applications of citizens science in ecology and biodiversity. The position has a duration of 4 years, with 1 year of duty work included, established in agreement with the Department. The duties will involve teaching, data-curation, work with collections and public outreach, performed at the Museum. The position is available from August 1st, 2018.

The successful candidate will within the project “Transforming Citizen Science for Biodiversity” under the topic “Transforming Ecology with Citizen Science", and supervised by Professor Anders G. Finstad in collaboration with a team of co-supervisors. The candidate will be employed at the Department of Natural History at the NTNU University Museum and be a part of the Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics.

About Transforming Citizen Science for Biodiversity

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has a vacancy for 5 positions as PhD Research Fellows within the project “Transforming Citizen Science for Biodiversity”.The project is in NTNU’s strategic portfolio of projects to pursue transformative research on the development and application of digital transformation technology. Close cooperation between the PhD research fellows and the disciplines is essential for Transforming Citizen Science for Biodiversity to succeed.

The project "Transforming Citizen Science for Biodiversity" is an interdisciplinary research program that will develop tools and methods to improve the way that members of the general public collect data on what they observe in the natural world, and the way this data is used to inform us about the natural world and how it is changing. The amount of data being generated and uploaded to database such as the Norwegian “Artsobservasjoner” is massive, and this and the unsystematic way that the data are collected provides challenges when making inferences from the data. This project will (1) encourage citizens to collect data, (2) help scientists correctly interpret and use this data, and (3) provide information back to the citizens about how the data they have collected is being used.

The project is a collaboration between four departments at NTNU and two organizations (the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, NINA and the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre, NBIC) that are heavily involved in the collection and use of citizen science data. Five students will be employed to work on the following topics:

  1.  Tools for a Biodiversity Atlas: based at the Dept. of Mathematical Sciences, with collaboration from NBIC
  2. Quality Control in Citizen Science data: based at the Dept. of Mathematical Sciences, with collaboration from NBIC
  3. Transforming the Geography of Citizen Science: based at the Dept. of Geography with collaboration from NINA
  4. Extending Digital Data collection in Citizen Science: based at the Dept. of Energy and Process Engineering, in collaboration with NINA
  5. Transforming Ecology with Citizen Science: based at the Museum of Natural History, in collaboration with NINA.

About the PhD position in transforming ecology with citizen science

The successful candidate will conduct his/her research within “Transforming Ecology with Citizen Science”, but in close collaboration with other PhD students and on the project. The focus on developing and demonstrating applications of biodiversity-based citizen science data in ecology. This involves e.g. developing models to combine citizen science data with monitoring data, linking citizen science data with environmental data from remote sensing products, as well working with novel ways of communicating results from such analyses to stakeholders and the general public.


Essential qualifications of the successful applicant:

  • The applicant must have an MSc within the fields of ecology or biodiversity
  • Scripting/coding experience in at least one language (e.g. Python, R)
  • Good quantitative skills and documented experiences in statistical analyses

Desirable qualifications of the successful applicant:

  • Documented experience in scientific writing and publishing
  • Proficiency in working with digital tools relevant to biodiversity informatics applications
  • Strong interest in and experience with applications of citizen science data in biodiversity or ecology research is considered beneficial
  • Experience in the use of relevant spatial tools (e.g. open source GIS software)
  • Experience in working with hierarchical statistical models and/or knowledge about Bayesian analyses is seen as an advantage

The successful candidate should have good cooperative skills, be motivated, creative, resourceful and able to deliver results on a given timescale.

The successful applicant must fulfill the requirements of PhD students at NTNU, and apply for admission to the NTNU PhD Program as soon as possible and no more than 3 months after the appointment.

The position requires spoken and written fluency in the English language. Applicants from non-English-speaking countries outside Europe must document English skills by an approved test. Approved tests are TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

The evaluation of candidates will be based on:

  • Their Master thesis (or equivalent)
  • Scientific publications
  • Course grades on relevant university-level courses
  • Relevant experience
  • References
  • Interview
  • Statement about how this position would fit career plan and interest of the applicant

The regulations for PhD programs at NTNU state that a Master degree 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 is required and C or higher of the BSc. Candidates from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a Diploma Supplement, or a similar document, which in detail describes the study, grade system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree, see

Information about the working environment

We can offer:

  • an informal and friendly workplace with dedicated colleagues
  • academic challenges
  • attractive schemes for housing loan, insurance and pension in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund

The NTNU University Museum, Department of Natural History currently has 16 faculty positions, six temporary research positions, 9 PhD students and 12 technical and administrative positions. The Department cooperates formally with the NTNU Department of Biology and is 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.



The PhD position follows code 1017, starting grade 50, gross NOK 436 900 – 537 700 NOK 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:

The application

Applications must be submitted electronically with the following attachments:

  1. CV
  2. Certificates for both Bachelor and Masters degrees,
  3. Copies of scientific publications and other scientific work of relevance (including a short explanation of the applicant’s contribution in cases where there is more than one author),
  4. Copies of transcripts (including copies of documentation on English language proficiency test for non-English applicants),
  5. Written documentation of relevant experience,
  6. A minimum of two named references including contact details,
  7. A statement detailing how this position would fit career plan and interest of the applicant (approximately 1 A4 page, 12 point times new roman font and single space).

The application must be submitted electronically through

Information about the applicants may be open to public inspection according to the Freedom of Information Act.

More information about the Department and the position can be obtained from Head of Department Torkild Bakken phone: +47 911 11 179, e-mail, or Professor Anders G. Finstad phone: +47 900 18 546, e-mail For more information about the 'Transforming Citizen Science for Biodiversity' project, contact Prof. Bob O'Hara, e-mail

See also for more information on NTNU digital transformation.

For more information about the University museum see:

Application deadline: 25.05.2018

About this job

  • Deadline Friday, May 25, 2018
  • Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Website
  • Municipality Trondheim
  • Jobbnorge ID 151253
  • Internal ID 2018/11256
  • 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!