University of Bergen

Department of Biological Sciences

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.

2 PhD positions on the evolutionary ecology of mating systems

At the Department of Biological Sciences (BiO) there are two vacant PhD positions on the evolution of sex and mating systems, based in the Theoretical Ecology Group ( The positions are for a fixed-term period of 3 years, with the possibility of a 4th year.

The positions will contribute to developing theory and evolutionary understanding of two current scientific challenges in the evolution of mating systems. Our group uses evolutionary computer models to generate new hypotheses for biological problems, and then tests these on available data. Often this involves bottom-up thinking that scales from individual ecological processes and Darwinian selection, to evolutionary outcomes and emergent population-level patterns.

About the PhD projects
The first PhD position will focus on extra-pair mating and the evolution of cooperative behaviours in birds. The starting point is the ‘nicer neighbourhoods’ hypothesis, which describes how extra-pair mating sets up incentives among males to collaborate towards a common good, for example by joining forces during antipredator defence or by sharing food resources (see Eliassen S, Jørgensen C. 2014. Extra-pair mating and evolution of cooperative neighbourhoods. Plos One9: e99878. Depending on the skills and interests of the candidate, the project can take two directions. Either, it can develop and analyse evolutionary models to extend the theoretical foundation, with the aim of generating new predictions for future testing. Or, it can make use of statistics, pedigree analysis, and existing datasets to test predictions from the theory developed so far. Associate Professor Sigrunn Eliassen ( will be main supervisor for this PhD position.

The second PhD position will develop and analyse models studying the evolution of sex, based in theories on sexual signals, behavioural ecology, and life history evolution. The research in this project is more conceptual, and will make use of simple computer models and more complex individual-based simulations to study evolutionary outcomes. It is required to read broadly and find interest in diverse biological disciplines. Potential aims for this PhD position will be to explain i) the ubiquity of sexual reproduction despite its twofold cost, ii) the role of sexual ornaments, or iii) how to interpret flowers in light of sexual selection. We have some strong ideas, but it is not yet clear in which directions they will take us. Professor Christian Jørgensen ( ) will be main supervisor for this PhD position.

Qualifications and personal qualities

A successful candidate

  • must hold a master’s degree or the equivalent in biology or another discipline the applicant can make relevant for the project, or must have submitted 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.
  • should demonstrate broad knowledge and good intuition about evolutionary ecology and behavioural ecology
  • should have an interest in conceptualizing evolutionary problems and studying these in detail
  • should be willing to challenge current thinking
  • will benefit from basic skills and interests in mathematics and writing computer code
  • should enjoy working in a collaborative environment
  • should have the ability to work independently
  • should have a good proficiency in oral and written English

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

The successful candidates for the two projects will collaborate closely.

About the PhD position
The fellowships will be for a period of 3 years, with the possibility of a 4th year, consisting of 25 % compulsory work (e.g. teaching responsibilities at the department) distributed across the employment period. The 4th year is contingent on the qualifications of the candidate and the teaching needs of the department, and will be decided upon appointment.

The employment period may be reduced if the candidate has previously been employed in a recruitment 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 positive, dynamic, trustful and critical research group for everyday interactions.
  • Salary at pay grade 50 upon appointment (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 (max 2 pages) of the applicant’s research interests and motivation for applying for the position. Please indicate whether you are interested in only one of the positions or both.
  • 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. If lacking a master’s diploma, the applicant must present an official confirmation that the master’s thesis has been submitted.
  • Relevant certificates/referencesA list of any works of a scientific nature (publication list)
  • Any publications in your name, including the master’s thesis.

The application and appendices with certified translations into English or a Scandinavian language must be uploaded at Jobbnorge.

General information
For further information about the position and project please contact Sigrunn Eliassen ( / telephone +47 55 58 46 22) or Christian Jørgensen ( / telephone +47 55 58 46 18).

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.

Further information about the employment process can be found here

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About this job

  • Deadline
    Sunday, May 27, 2018
  • Employer
    University of Bergen
  • Website
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  • Jobbnorge ID
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  • 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!

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