UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Faculty of Science and Technology - Department of Geosciences

PhD Candidate in geophysics (sea ice dynamics and data analysis)

The Department of Geosciences has a PhD position vacant for applicants who wish to obtain the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD). The research is coordinated with research activities within the Research Centre for Arctic Petroleum Exploration (ARCEx), which is funded by the Research Council of Norway and several industry partners. Additional information about ARCEx can be found at www.arcex.no.


The appointment is for a period of four years including 25% teaching duty at the department.


The PhD position is for a fixed term, with the objective of completion of research training to the level of a doctoral degree. Admission to a PhD programme is a prerequisite for employment, and the programme period starts on commencement of the position. The PhD Candidate shall participate in the faculty’s organized research training, and the PhD project shall be completed during the period of employment. Information about the application process for admission to the PhD programme, application form and regulations for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) are available at the following address:https://uit.no/om/enhet/artikkel?p_dimension_id=88131&p_document_id=167946



Further information about the position is available by contacting:


Professor Alfred Hanssen, email: Alfred.hanssen@uit.no, phone: +47 45255593,




Professor Jan Sverre Laberg, email: jan.laberg@uit.no, phone + 47 77 64 44 65


The position’s affiliation


The position is at the Department of Geosciences. The main activities at the department relate to education and research in various geology-related topics in the northern hemisphere and the Arctic. The department participates in several large research projects, and hosts among others, ARCEx. Seventeen PhD and Post Doc research fellows are currently affiliated with ARCEx, and the centre collaborates with research institutions in Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim and Svalbard. The overarching goal of ARCEx is to create new knowledge about petroleum resources in the Arctic and to provide essential knowledge and methodology for eco-safe exploration. The position is coordinated with ongoing research activities in ARCEx, and the candidate will be part of an interdisciplinary research group that includes physicists, geophysicists, geologists, marine scientists and engineers from both national collaborators and industry partners.


The position’s field of research/research project and other duties


The PhD project shall focus on the physical, mathematical and numerical modeling of flexure phenomena in sea ice and statistical analysis of relevant data. Sea ice can be modeled as a thin elastic or viscoelastic plate floating on top of an incompressible fluid. The ice motion itself contains information about the mechanical and physical properties of the ice, the sea, the seafloor, the atmosphere, and the overall geometry. Hence, measurement, analysis and interpretation of the ice motion may provide crucial information about important geophysical parameters of interest to various geophysical applications ranging from climate research to resource exploration.


The basic difficulty when connecting data from e.g. geophones situated on the ice to the actual ice motion, is that there is a plethora of different propagating wave modes that may co-exist and overlap in space, time, frequency and wavenumber. In addition, some of the modes are dispersive, while others are non-dispersive. The richness of co-existing modes calls for better models and improved statistical analysis tools. This PhD project will address this challenge by developing a complete catalog of possible wave modes, with a comprehensive description of their behavior in all possible domains. The modeling work will start from first principles, and the complexity of some of these wave models will require that numerical codes are developed and run on high-performance computational massively parallel computers.


A major contribution from this project will be to develop a suit of automatic software tools to separate the various wave modes through the use of state-of-the-art pattern recognition methods. The candidate shall develop optimal attributes for the pattern recognition. It is very likely that suitable attributes will be developed through time-frequency/space-time domains. The candidate shall develop variants of empirical mode decomposition and subspace projection methods suitable for mode separation of ice related modes. The basic idea is, thus, to connect the wave models with the statistical pattern recognition


To qualify the pattern recognition based wave mode separators, the candidate will use her/his own numerically simulated data, in addition to high-quality experimental data that we will obtain from collaborators at the University of Bergen.


The PhD project involves collaboration with a research group at the University of Bergen, and researchers at Stanford University in California.


Qualification requirements


The successful applicant must fulfil the requirements for admission to the faculty’s PhD programme, cf. Regulation for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. In addition, he/she must be able to document proficiency in English equivalent to Norwegian Higher Education Entrance Qualification, refer to the website about PhD regulations at UiT.


In particular:


  • The applicant must hold a master’s degree in physics, applied mathematics, statistics, geophysics, numerical analysis, electrical or mechanical engineering, or other relevant topics, or must have submitted her/his 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 should have experience with mathematical and numerical modeling, and have a strong interest in developing methods for advanced data analysis.
  • Good programming skills is an absolute requirement, with proficiency in e.g. Matlab, C/C++, Python, R, (and maybe even Fortran)
  • Applicants need to demonstrate an ability to work independently and in a structured manner.
  • Excellent English written and oral communications skills are required.


The successful candidate will live and work in Tromsø, and is expected to engage himself/herself in the ongoing development in the Department, ARCEx, and the University as a whole.


Emphasis is attached to personal suitability.


Working conditions


We can offer:

  • A positive and inclusive working environment.
  • An interesting and scientifically challenging research project with possibilities for collaboration with national and international research institutions, as well as industry partners, in order to generate research results of high quality.


The normal period of employment is four years. The nominal length of the PhD programme is three years. The fourth year, distributed as 25 % of each year, shall be used for teaching or other duties for the university, cf. Guidelines for the research fellow’s duties.


A shorter period of appointment may be decided when the research fellow has already completed parts of his/her research training programme or when the appointment is based on a previous qualifying position (PhD Candidate, research assistant, or the like) in such a way that the total time used for research training amounts to three years.


Remuneration for the position of PhD Candidate is in accordance with the State salary scale code 1017. A compulsory contribution of 2 % to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted.




The applicants will be assessed by an expert committee. During this assessment process, emphasis will be attached to the applicant’s potential for research as shown by:

  • Master’s thesis or equivalentany
  • other academic work


In addition, consideration may be given to work experience or other activities of significance for the implementation of the PhD studies, and to any teaching qualifications. This includes teaching education, teaching experience, experience from popularization and experience/education from other types of dissemination. Information and material to be considered during the assessment must be submitted by the stipulated deadline.


The applicants who are assessed as the best qualified will called to an interview. The interview shall among other things aim to clarify the applicant’s personal suitability for the position.




The application must be submitted electronically via the application form available on www.jobbnorge.no


The application must include:


  • Letter of application
  • CV (containing a complete overview of education, supervised professional training and professional work)
  • copies of:
    • diploma and transcript from your Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
    • diploma and transcript from your Master’s degree or equivalent
    • diploma supplement for completed degrees
    • documentation of English language proficiency
  • List of works and description of these (see below)
    • The list of works shall contain the following information:
      • author(s), the work’s title
      • for articles: the journal’s name and volume, the first and last page of the article, year of publication
      • for publications: publisher, printer, year of publication, number of pages
  • The works (published or unpublished) which the applicant wishes to be taken into consideration during the assessment process must be submitted
  • List of references with contact information.


All documentation that is to be evaluated must be certified and translated into English or a Scandinavian language.


Information and material to be considered during the assessment must be submitted by the stipulated deadline.


Applicants shall also refer to the Supplementary regulations for appointment to postdoktor (Postdoctoral Fellow), stipendiat (PhD) and vitenskapelig assistent (Research Assistant) positions at UiT The Arctic University of Norway and to Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for posts of postdoktor (Postdoctoral Fellow), stipendiat (PhD), vitenskapelig assistent (Research Assistant) and spesialistkandidat (Resident). (In Norwegian only)


Questions concerning the organisation of the working environment, such as the physical state of the place of employment, health service, possibility for flexible working hours, part time, etc. as well as questions about the PhD programme may be directed to the telephone reference in this announcement.


UiT has HR policy objectives that emphasize diversity, and encourages all qualified applicants to apply regardless of their gender, functional ability and national or ethnic background.


UiT is an IW (Inclusive Workplace) enterprise, and will emphasize making the necessary adaptations to the working conditions for employees with reduced functional ability.


Personal data given in an application or CV will be processed in accordance with the Act relating to the processing of personal data (the Personal Data Act). In accordance with Section 25 subsection 2 of the Freedom of Information Act, the applicant may request not to be registered on the public list of applicants. However, the University may nevertheless decide that the name of the applicant will be made public. The applicant will receive advance notification in the event of such publication.


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    1. august 2017
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    UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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