The University of Agder has more than 1200 employees and 12000 students. This makes us one of the largest workplaces in Southern Norway. Our staff research, teach and disseminate knowledge from a variety of academic fields. Co-creation of knowledge is our common vision. We offer a broad range of study programmes in many fields. We are situated at two modern campuses in Kristiansand and Grimstad respectively.

We are an open and inclusive university marked by a culture of cooperation. The aim of the university is to further develop education and research at a high international level.

PhD Research Fellow in Engineering within smart water and nutrient management systems to promote green production in urban and semi-urban areas

The University of Agder invites applications for one full-time, fixed-term appointment as PhD Research Fellow for a period of three years. The PhD student will be co-supervised by researchers from Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) and local industry, with Prof. Helge Liltved at University of Agder (UiA) as main supervisor. Starting date is negotiable with the faculty.

Description of the position


The position will be included in the activities of the research group «Sustainable building and infrastructure» at UiA, which has its scientific strength in the fields of sustainable building and construction, energy efficiency and climate-smart water and sanitation solutions. The aim of the research group is to develop smart and sustainable solutions (knowledge, methods and tools) for buildings and for residential areas in collaboration with public actors and private enterprises, and to reduce energy- and material input by applying smart technology for monitoring and control during construction and operation.


The PhD-work shall focus on water-based growing systems and/or water management in urban and semi-urban areas, with main attention on how water and nutrients can be recycled and utilized for growth of green plants for consumption, and/or for aesthetical and recreational purposes. The work shall contribute to develop new technical solutions for water management and treatment in water-based growing systems, such as hydroponic and aquaponic systems, and/or how urban runoff water can be used locally for irrigation and green production (urban farming). The solutions must be based on environmental friendly principles, and contribute to energy saving, circular economy, waste reduction, and reduced carbon footprint.


The position can be linked to ongoing activities in the region on water-based green production, including the aquaponic research centre based at Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomic (NIBIO), Landvik, Grimstad. Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) and local industrial partners are also contributors to the established center activities. Experimental work can be carried out at the research facility at NIBIO, which is a closed recirculating aquaponic system, consisting of two identical separate systems, each with 4 fish tanks and 12 plant beds. In this system, it will be possible to focus on processes and technologies related to particle removal, nitrification, water hygiene/UV-disinfection, and/or waste handling (hydrolysis and recycling of nutrients, development of a fertilizer/soil improvement product from the organic residue).


The position can also be linked to the Southern CityNet initiative, which is a network for research, co-operation and knowledge sharing to promote sustainable urban development of the small- and medium sized cities located at the southern coast of Norway. The network was established by the University of Agder in collaboration with 5 municipalities in the region. Twenty-two organisations from research, municipalities and other public offices, industry and civil society have signed as partners. Southern CityNet can be an important platform to provide relevant case studies, information and experience for the PhD student in this project. Experimental planning and work can be carried out in cooperation with municipalities and private actors of the network, on effects and optimization of existing urban water management systems (green roofs, vegetation zones and other green/blue structures) and/or impacts of implementation of new urban water management and farming systems, including various types of hydroponic systems, in urban spaces and in/on buildings.  Nutrient availability and balance are key factors to efficient plant growth and quality in all water based growing systems, including aquaponic and hydroponic systems. Such balance can be studied and optimized to maximize plant growth and crop production.  


Qualifications and requirements:


The successful applicant must document good professional background in one or several of the fields within the subject for this assignment:


  • Applicants must hold a Master’s degree in engineering or equivalent, in environmental engineering, water- and sanitation technology, aquacultural engineering, agricultural engineering, process engineering, chemical engineering, urban water management engineering, or similar
  • Applicants must prepare a research proposal (preliminary project description), to be submitted as attachment to the electronic application. The proposal should not extend beyond 2 pages, including the literature list and should present and discuss possible research challenges with a description and tentative approaches and methods to answer the research questions within the presented frame. The proposal should also include a tentative schedule for the PhD project
  • The appointee must have the ability to work in a goal-oriented, organized, focused, and independent manner
  • Good communication skills and a good command of English are required
  • It will be considered an advantage if the candidate has good command of Norwegian or another Scandinavian language in order to be able to contribute to teaching at the bachelor’s level. Teaching assignments may lead to prolonging of the scholarship-period accordingly

Students about to finish their thesis work will also be considered.

Regarding the English skills, please check here to see if an English test is required. Possible categories of applicants from particular countries may be exempted.  Please note that the English test requirement applies to applicants from most countries according to the list mentioned above. No other tests will be approved, and certifications/statements cannot replace a test.


Applicants from some countries must document their English proficiency through one of the following tests with the stated results or better:

  • TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language with a minimum score of 550 on the Paper-based Test (PBT), or 80 on the Internet based Test (iBT)
  • IELTS - International English Language Testing System, with a result of at least 6.0.

Please note that the English test requirement applies to applicants from most countries according to the list cited above. No other tests will be approved, and certifications/statements cannot replace a test.


Further provisions relating to the position as PhD Research Fellow can be found in the “Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the position of Post-doctoral research fellow, research fellow, research assistant and resident”


Personal suitability and good teamwork skills will be emphasized in the evaluation as well as relevant practical experience. Research Fellows are expected to contribute to the active research community at the University. The position place demands on the applicant’s capacity for independent goal-oriented work, ability to concentrate and attention to detail. Applicants will be assessed on the basis of academic background and results, attainment, and any previous research activity, in addition to the two-page preliminary research proposal submitted with the application.


Research visits to an external institution or stays with a national or international partner for part of the period of employment may be anticipated, as indicated in the above text.


Short-listed applicants will be invited for interviews.  With the applicant’s permission, UiA will also conduct a reference check before appointment.



The position is remunerated according to the State salary scale, code 1017 Research Fellow, salary NOK 436 900 gross per year. A 2 % compulsory pension contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund is deducted from the pay according to current statutory provisions.


The Norwegian public service is committed to reflect the diversity of society, and the personnel policy of the University of Agder aims to achieve a balanced workforce. All qualified persons are therefore encouraged to apply for the position, irrespective of cultural background, gender, age or disability.


Appointment is made by the University of Agder’s Appointments Committee for Teaching and Research Positions. The successful applicant will have rights and obligations in accordance with the current regulations for the public service.



Submit your application and CV online. Please click on the link “Apply for this job”. The following documentation should be submitted as attachments to the online application:

  • A letter of application which includes a rationale for applying for the position together with an outline of the applicant’s research interests and background for the proposed project
  • Certificates and/or grades for all post-secondary education, up to and including the bachelor's level; Master's degree/higher degree certificate, with a summary of the courses/subjects included in the degree
  • Applicants with a foreign higher education must attach an official description of the grading system used at the issuing institution
  • Applicants who are required to document their English proficiency must submit their TOEFL or IELTS test results (these may be forwarded after the closing date)
  • An additional assessment of English may be undertaken at the time of interview
  • Summary and links to the applicant's scientific publications if produced
  • A short research proposal (preliminary) that sets out background, rationale, recent work and research design for the intended study. This should not extend beyond about 2 pages, but it will form an important part of the evaluation of candidates

Original documents must be presented for verification to the University of Agder. Successful candidates will be asked, normally during the interview, to ensure that the issuing university submits documents in a sealed envelope directly to UiA or provide access to their documents online, which allows UiA to verify the authenticity of these electronic documents via a secure website hosted at the issuing university (contact person at UiA will be provided later for certain candidates).


The applicant is fully responsible for submitting complete documentation. Without complete documentation we cannot, unfortunately, include you in the assessment process.


All documentation of education must be in the original language and in English, Norwegian, Swedish, or Danish (if the original language is not one of these), the application should include a translation should preferably be from the issuing university. Additional documentation must be in English, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish.

Closing date:  31.08.17


For further information please contact Professor Helge Liltved, tel. +47 915 76 029 / +47 37 23 30 23, e-mail:  or Assistant Head of Department Tom Viggo Nilsen, tel. +47 37 23 32 55, e-mail: .


In accordance with §25(2) of the Freedom of Information Act, applicants may request that they are not identified in the open list of applicants. The University, however, reserves the right to publish the name of applicants. Applicants will be advised of the University’s intention to exercise this right.

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Om stillingen

  • Søknadsfrist
    31. august 2017
  • Arbeidsgiver
    University of Agder
  • Nettside
  • Kommune
  • Jobbnorge-ID
  • Intern-ID
    Ref. 65/17
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