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.

PhD position in Macroecology/Palaeoecology

There is a vacancy for a PhD position at the University of Bergen’s Department of Biological Sciences 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) ( The position is for a fixed-term period of 3 years with the possibility of a 4th year with compulsory other work (e.g. teaching duties in the Department).


About the project:

A critical question in ecology and conservation biology is to what extent humans affect ecological patterns and processes. Humans have greatly changed the Earth in the last 8000–11,000 years, including in mountains systems. How did humans leave an imprint on species range sizes and elevational diversity gradients in mountains? What did biodiversity patterns look like before humans arrived in an area, and is this comparable to areas with little human impact today? How have the same patterns been affected by humans through time from the small-scale impacts of prehistoric people to the broad scale impacts of the ‘Anthropocene’? One way to get a better understanding of this is to compare ecosystems with and without human impact, both in time and space. Palaeoecological and macroecological data from around the world will be used to test different hypotheses about how human activities have affected diversity patterns and species range sizes. Human influence on elevational-gradient patterns will be explored by comparing patterns for the present, the Holocene and the Pleistocene. The outcomes will be compared to other theoretical explanations of drivers of elevational gradient patterns.


The successful candidate will be primarily responsible (together with the supervisors) for developing tests for evaluating the effect of humans through space and time on species range sizes and developing analyses to compare diversity patterns and range sizes from different data sources in mountainous regions, interpretation of pollen-stratigraphical data for reconstructing range size through time, and applying mapping techniques to assess the patterns over time and space.

Qualifications and personal qualities:

  •  Applicants must hold a master's degree or the equivalent within biogeography, ecology, or related fields relevant to the PhD 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.
  • The successful candidate should feel comfortable adopting multi-disciplinary approaches between macroecology/biogeography and palaeoecology, enjoy the challenge of working with large data-sets, and have strong interest in understanding patterns of ecological and human processes in mountains on short and long time scales.
  • Applicants must be able to 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.

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

Special requirements for the position

  • The successful candidate must have knowledge and experience of quantitative analyses of ecological or palaeoecological data (preferably using the statistical software R), as well as documented skills in one or more research fields relevant to the position.
  • Experience with large databases and some experience with geospatial analysis software, such as in ESRI ArcGIS, QGIS or R is an advantage.
  • It would be beneficial to have a background in one or more of the following research fields: biogeography, macroecology, palaeoecology, mountain biodiversity, community ecology, applied statistics, numerical ecology.

About the PhD position

The fellowship will be for a period of 3 years, with the possibility for a 4th year, consisting of 25% compulsory work (e.g. teaching responsibilities in 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 you have previously been employed in a qualifying post (e.g. research fellow, research assistant).


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 51 (Code 1017/Pay range 20, alternative 9) in the state salary scale. This constitutes a gross annual salary of NOK 449 400. 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 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 Master’s or equivalent programme.
  • CV
  • Transcripts and diplomas or official confirmation that your 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.

General information

Detailed information about the position can be obtained by contacting: Professor John-Arvid Grytnes, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Bergen (+47 55 58 81 28 / 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.

Further information about the employment process can be found here.

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About this job

  • Deadline
    Friday, September 28, 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!

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