University of Bergen

Department of Physics and Technology

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 Space Physics

There is a vacancy for a PhD position at the Department of Physics and Technology within Space Physics. The position is for a fixed-term period of four years and will be part of the Birkeland Centre for Space Science (BCSS) .


About the project/work tasks:

The doctoral candidate will be part of the theory and modeling group at the Birkeland Centre for Space Science. Among other research goals, the Birkeland Centre for Space Science aims to understand the factors, which control the large-scale dynamics of the magnetosphere. These range from external driving effects, e.g., related to the direction of the interplanetary magnetic field, to internal effects, such a inner magnetospheric drifts, dipole tilt, and various ionospheric features - most prominently conductances. A key process involved in both driving and internal dynamics is also magnetic reconnection. In addition to the analysis of spacecraft and ground-based data sets, understanding of these complex interactions benefits greatly from the analysis of concurrent, modern, space environment simulations. The tool of choice here is primarily magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), but depending on applications, more complex models are also employed.


The project focuses on large-scale magnetospheric dynamics. In particular, the selected candidate will conduct research into the formation of magnetospheric current systems, and how they facilitate coupling to the ionosphere, and how magnetospheric processes manifest themselves in form of ionospheric convection. These processes will be studied in the context of activity bursts in the nightside magnetosphere, and the organization of the latter to form a magnetospheric substorm.


The Theory and Modeling group at the Birkeland Centre for Space Science is engaged in forefront, theory and modelling-based, research of magnetospheric dynamics on large and small scales. Research methodologies range from analytical theory to, for large scales, magnetohydrodynamic modelling and comparisons to spacecraft observations. Special research foci here include the generation of currents in the magnetosphere, and the mechanisms behind asymmetries of auroral patterns of the northern and southern hemispheres. An emerging research target is modelling for the purpose of physical understanding of space weather phenomena, as well as for the generation of space weather products relevant to ESA as well as to Norwegian space weather interests.


Qualifications and personal qualities:

  • Applicants must hold a master's degree or the equivalent in physics or applied mathematics or must be able to document submission of his/her master's thesis for assessment prior to the application deadline. It is a condition of employment that the master's degree has been awarded.
  • The applicant must have good understanding of basic electromagnetic physics, and of the basic interactions of particles with electromagnetic fields
  • Education in space physics, and/or advanced mathematics and/or plasma physics, and programming or numerical modeling experience are advantageous
  • Applicants must be able to work independently and in a structured manner, and demonstrate good collaborative skills.
  • Applicants must be proficient in both written and oral English.

Personal and relational qualities will be emphasized. Ambitions and potential will also count when evaluating the candidates.


About the PhD position

The duration of the PhD position is 4 years, of which 25 per cent of the time each year comprises required duties associated with research, teaching and dissemination of results. The employment period may be reduced if you have previously been employed in a PhD position.


About the research training

As a PhD candidate, you must participate in an approved educational programme for a PhD degree within a period of 3 years. A final plan for the implementation of the research training must be approved by the faculty within three months after you have commenced in the position. It is a condition that you satisfy 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. This constitutes a gross annual salary of NOK 436 900. Further promotions are made according to 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 referees. One of these should be the main advisor for the master's thesis or equivalent thesis
  • 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
  • a list of any publications of a scientific nature

The application and appendices with certified translations into English must be uploaded at Jobbnorge.


General information

For further details about the position, please contact:

Prof. Michael Hesse, phone: +47-55 58 46 58, 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.

We encourage women to apply. If multiple applicants have approximately equivalent qualifications, the rules pertaining to moderate gender quotas shall apply.


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.

Further information about the employment process can be found here.

Apply for this job

About this job

  • Deadline
    Sunday, May 6, 2018
  • 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