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.

PhD position in quantitative palaeoecology and ecology

There is a vacancy for a 3-year PhD 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 dynamicsHOPE.


About the project and the work tasks in the position

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 primarily responsible for developing quantitative procedures for evaluating taxon co-occurrences and co-correlations from pollen-stratigraphical data expressed as ‘closed’ percentages, for applying these procedures to pollen data across the globe as part of the HOPE project, and for evaluating taxon co-occurrence analysis in palaeoecology.


Qualifications and personal qualities:

  • The applicant must hold a Master’s or an equivalent degree within quantitative palaeoecology, biogeography, or ecology, or related fields relevant to the PhD project. Master students can apply provided that they complete their final Master examination before 15 September 2017. It is a condition of employment that the Master’s degree has been awarded.

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

  • It would be 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 research training

The duration of this position is 3 years. As a PhD candidate the successful applicant must participate in an approved educational programme for a PhD degree within the three-year period. A final plan for the implementation of the research training must be approved by the Faculty within three months after the commencement of the position. It is a condition that the successful applicant satisfies the enrolment requirements for the PhD programme at the University of Bergen.


We can offer:

  • A good and professionally challenging working environment

  • Salary at pay grade 50 (Code 1017/Pay range 20, alternative 8) in the state salary scale. Further promotions are made according to qualifications and length of service in the position.

  • 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 the applicant's research interests and motivation for applying for the position

  • The names and contact information for two reference persons. One of these should be the main advisor for the Master's or equivalent programme.

  • CV

  • Transcripts and diplomas showing completion of the bachelor's and master's degrees, or official confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted.

  • Relevant certificates/references

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

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

For further details about the position, please contact 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.

Apply for this job

About this job

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

About applications

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

See more

Find more jobs