University of Bergen

Department of Biology

The University of Bergen (UiB) is an internationally recognised research university with more than 14,000 students and close to 3,500 employees at six faculties. The university is located in the heart of Bergen. Our main contribution to society is excellent basic research and education across a wide range of disciplines.

Post-doctoral Fellow position in quantitative palaeoecology and ecology

There is a vacancy for a 3-year post-doctoral fellow position at the University of Bergen’s Department of Biology within the Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group as part of the European Research Council funded project Humans on Planet Earth – Long-term impacts on biosphere dynamics (HOPE).


About the project and work tasks

A critical question in Earth system science is what was the impact of prehistoric people on the biosphere and on climate? There is a wealth of information about human impact through clearance, agriculture, erosion, and modifying water and nutrient budgets. Humans have greatly changed the Earth in the last 8000–11,000 years, but have humans modified the major ecological processes (e.g. assembly rules, species interactions) that shape community assembly and dynamics? To answer this question, patterns in pollen-stratigraphical data for the last 11,500 years from over 2000 sites across the globe will be explored consistently using numerical techniques to detect changes in 25 ecosystem properties (richness, evenness, diversity, turnover, rates of change, taxon co-occurrences, etc.). Patterns in these properties will be compared statistically at sites within biomes, between biomes, within continents, and between continents to test the hypothesis that prehistoric human activities changed the basic processes of community assembly and that interrelationships between processes changed though time.


The successful candidate will be responsible for developing the HOPE database of pollen-stratigraphical data and associated chronological palaeoenvironmental and site data within the framework of state-of-the-art palaeoinformatics, for the numerical and statistical analyses of many large pollen-stratigraphical data-sets, and for developing appropriate software for particular palaeoecological and diversity analyses. The candidate will play a major role in the publication of HOPE results.


Qualifications and personal qualities:

  • The applicant must hold a PhD or an equivalent degree within quantitative palaeoecology, ecology, biogeography, or a related field, or must have submitted their doctoral thesis for assessment prior to the application deadline. It is a condition of employment that the PhD has been awarded.

  • The successful candidate must have experience in quantitative analyses of palaeoecological or ecological data using the statistical software R and in using large databases, as well as documented skills in one or more research fields relevant to the position.

  • It is beneficial to have a background in one or more of the following research fields: Quaternary palaeoecology, palaeoclimatology, applied statistics, numerical ecology, quantitative palaeoecology, biogeography, macroecology, community ecology, biodiversity.

  • The successful candidate should be highly motivated, enjoy the challenge of working with very large data-sets, and understand the relevance of the data and the results.

  • The successful candidate can work independently and in a structured manner, and have the ability to cooperate with others within HOPE’s consortium as well as within the EECRG, and to follow through challenging ideas.

  • Pro-active problem-solving skills will be highly valued in the candidate.

  • Proficiency in both written and oral English is required.

About the position of post-doctoral research fellow

The position of post-doctoral fellow is a fixed-term appointment with the primary objective of qualifying the appointee for work in top academic positions. The fixed-term period for this position is 3 years. If the appointee lacks teaching experience, the employment period may be increased by up to three months, where these extra months are funded by the Department of Biology. Teaching and other duties in the Department will in that case be added to the duties of the position. Individuals may not be hired for more than one fixed-term period as a postdoctoral fellow at the same institution.


After appointment, the post-doctoral fellow must submit a project proposal for the qualifying work including a work schedule. The completion of the project proposal for the qualifying work will take place in consultation with the project manager. It is a requirement that the project be completed within the period of employment.

We can offer:

  • A good and professionally challenging working environment.

  • Salary at pay grade 57 (Code 1352/Pay range 24, alternative 1) in the state salary scale. Further increase in salary will depend on seniority.

  • Enrolment in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

  • A position in an inclusive workplace (IA enterprise).

  • Good welfare benefits.

Your application must include:

  • A brief account of your research interests and motivation for applying for the position.

  • The names and contact information for two reference persons. One of these must be your main advisor from your PhD or equivalent programme.

  • CV

  • Transcripts and diplomas or official confirmation that your doctoral thesis has been submitted.

  • Relevant certificates/references.

  • List of any works of a scientific nature (publication list). Please include DOIs.

  • Any of your publications that cannot be accessed from a DOI.


The application and appendices with certified translations into English or a Scandinavian language must be uploaded at Jobbnorge. Applications sent by email to individuals will not be considered.


General information

Detailed information about the position can be obtained by contacting Professor John Birks, Department of Biology, University of Bergen (+47 5558 3350 or +47 5593 7717 / email:


The state labour force shall reflect the diversity of Norwegian society to the greatest extent possible. Age and gender balance among employees is therefore a goal. It is also a goal to recruit people with immigrant backgrounds. People with immigrant backgrounds and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply for the position.

The University of Bergen applies the principle of public access to information when recruiting staff for academic positions. Information about applicants may be made public even if the applicant has asked not to be named on the list of persons who have applied. The applicant must be notified if the request to be omitted is not met.

The successful applicant must comply with the guidelines that apply to the position at all times.






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About this job

  • Deadline
    Friday, September 15, 2017
  • Employer
    University of Bergen
  • Website
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  • Jobbnorge ID
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  • Scope
  • Duration
    Fixed Term

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  • Applications on this job are registered in an electronic form on
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