The Department of Geophysics at UNIS is seeking candidates for a full time, 3 year position as a PhD candidate in Middle Atmospheric Physics. The department currently constitutes 3 professors, 5 associate professors, 2 post-doctoral research fellows, 5 PhD students, and 11 Adjunct Professors (20% position). The research within the department focuses on Sea-Ice-Snow-Air processes and Space Physics. The announced position is within the Space Physics group. 

PhD candidate in Middle Atmospheric Physics

Description of the vacant position

The vacant position will be part of the Space Physics Group within the Department of Geophysics at UNIS. The Space Physics Group is a node in a Norwegian Centre of Excellence, the Birkeland Centre for Space Science ( The group’s ambition is to strengthen its competence in middle atmospheric physics, which mainly concentrates on the mesosphere, the boundary layer between ionised and neutral atmosphere. 

The candidate is expected to participate in the activities of the Birkeland Centre within the topics of the research question 3: What are the effects of particle precipitation on the atmospheric system? The planned PhD project will focus on energetic particle precipitation in the morning side diffuse aurora and its effects in the atmospheric chemistry. One known auroral feature of this type is pulsating aurora, which can easily be detected in optical auroral data and will be used as a starting point. Particle precipitation with energies of about 10 keV and higher are known to cause composition changes in the middle atmosphere through ionisation. Various space-borne measurements of particle precipitation and concentrations of key species will be used to characterise the precipitation spectra and the consequent changes in the composition in a statistical manner.


The Space Physics Group owns and operates the Kjell Henriksen Observatory (http:// and a new SuperDARN radar. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to capitalise these unique facilities. The candidate is expected to contribute to the operation of the Kjell Henriksen Observatory and is expected to have knowledge of ground-based observations and physics of the middle and upper atmosphere.  



Applicants for the position must hold a MSc degree in an appropriate field (space physics or atmospheric sciences) and qualify for the PhD programme at the University of Bergen. 


Field work experience as well as earlier experience from Svalbard and/or other polar areas will be an advantage. A successful candidate will have good data analysis skills, positive attitude, speak and write fluent English and have the ability to work both independently and as part of a team. The candidate is also expected to hold a valid driving license.


Employment conditions

The employment contract is for 3 years. All salaries are set in accordance with the

Norwegian government's University salary scale. PhD students are paid a gross salary of NOK 435 500 annually. As a resident in Svalbard an annual allowance of NOK 32 000 (Svalbardtillegg) will be added to the salary. A Social Security contribution of 2 % to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted from the salary. Income tax on

Svalbard is 8 % and 8.2 % will be deducted for the National Insurance coverage. UNIS offer a membership in the Norwegian Public Pension Fund.


Selection and appointment

A committee appointed by the managing director of UNIS will evaluate the qualifications of the applicants, and invite the highest ranked person(s) for an interview. The appointment will be made by the Director of UNIS based on the recommendation from the committee.



Inquiries about this position may be directed to:

Assoc. Prof. Noora Partamies, phone: +47 79026441, email: or Prof. Dag Lorentzen, phone: +47 79023336, email:



Only applications completed online at - vacant positions will be considered.


At least the following documents must be included in the online application:


  • CV including a list of publications if applicable
  • a document describing the candidate’s scientific interests and how they conform with the research of the UNIS space physics group (mandatory - max. 1 page)
  • transcripts and certificates of BSc and MSc courses and degrees

Deadline for applications is 30.09.2017

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    Saturday, September 30, 2017
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