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PhD Research Fellowship in Paleobiology/Paleontology, The University of Oslo, Norway

Publish Date: Sep 01, 2015

Deadline: Sep 30, 2015

PhD Research Fellowship in Paleobiology/Paleontology

Natural History Museum

A 4-year PhD position (SKO 1017) is available at the Natural History Museum (NHM), University of Oslo.

The Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, is the largest of its kind in Norway with approximately 150 employees engaged in research, teaching, curation and outreach in Botany, Mycology, Zoology, Paleontology and Geology.

Job description

The main objective of this PhD project is to investigate the underlying patterns and processes of the Ordovician Radiation, also known as the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (GOBE). The Ordovician (488.3 to 443.7 million years ago) was a period in the history of the biosphere that saw a very rapid diversification of many groups of fossilizable organisms. The temporal patterns of diversity changes seem to be in part unique across different groups of organisms and in different geographical regions, yet, there are also suggestions that globally operating agents may have contributed to this mother of all radiations. This controversy calls for both the reanalysis of existing data using better statistical tools as well as new collection of fossil and paleoenvironmental data aimed at answering specific questions, to boost existing knowledge.

This project will involve studying diversification dynamics in the deep past by combining data and insights from fresh field collections, museum collections, the literature and public databases. Depending on the past training and academic inclinations of the successful candidate, she/he may be involved in fieldwork in Ordovician outcrops, compiling existing data, and/or the development of statistical methodology for paleobiology. The successful candidate will join an actively growing Paleobiology and Macroevolution group at the University of Oslo and will be part of the scientific community at both the Natural History Museum and at the Department of Biosciences at the University of Oslo. The Natural History Museum in Oslo has a globally known, large collection of Ordovician fauna that will be crucial to the development of this project. Our research spans analytical paleontology, macroevolution, macroecology and the statistical tools in paleobiological research. This PhD position is in part funded by Norwegian Research Council grant to Lee Hsiang Liow, and in part by the Natural History Museum of Oslo. The successful candidate will also likely collaborate with Seth Finnegan (University of California, Berkeley), Melanie Hopkins (American Museum of Natural History), and Björn Kröger (University of Helsinki), as well as other colleagues at the Natural History Museum, Oslo and at the Department of Biosciences at the University of Oslo.


The ideal candidate has a background in geology and/or biology and has some experience in statistical analyses, programming and databases. Previous knowledge of the Ordovician or Paleozoic fauna is desirable but not essential. We seek a highly motivated, hardworking and creative student who is able to think and work independently, but who is also able to work well as part of a team. The candidate has to have good communication skills and will collaborate with researchers across disciplines.

Applicants must hold a Master’s degree or equivalent in geology and/or biology.

We offer 

  • Salary based on salary level 50-57 (Gross pay per year 429 700 – 482 800 NOK)
  • An intellectually stimulating but friendly working environment
  • Membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • Attractive welfare benefits

The purpose of the fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a PhD degree. The fellowship requires admission to the PhD program at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Appointment to a research fellowship is conditional upon admission to the Faculty’s research training program. A plan for the research training must be submitted no later than two months after taking up the position, and the admission approved within three months.  

The candidate is required to perform duties (“pliktarbeid”) 25% of her/his total work hours. This will involve duties in the research collections at the Natural History Museum, public outreach, and teaching at the University of Oslo.

This position begins from 1 Jan 2016 but this start date is negotiable.

Evaluation of the application

In assessing applications, particular emphasis will be placed upon the academic achievements and potential of the candidate, no least her/his ability to complete the project within the given timeframe and write a PhD thesis under supervision. Interviews with selected candidates will be arranged. Please also refer to the English translation of regulations pertaining to the conditions of employment for research fellowship positions:

A good command of English is required.

The application must include: 

  • Application letter detailing why the candidate is suited for this fellowship
  • A one page explanation of how a PhD in paleobiology will fit into the applicant’s career plan
  • CV demonstrating experience relevant to the fellowship (summarizing education, positions and academic work, scientific publications and other relevant activities)
  • Copies of educational certificates, transcript of records
  • List of publications and academic work that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluating committee
  • Names and contact details of 2-3 referees (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and telephone number)

The application with attachments is to be delivered in our electronic recruiting system EasyCruit. Questions regarding EasyCruit: contact HR Officer Thomas Brånå (
Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University’s grading system. All documents should be in English or a Scandinavian language.

The University of Oslo has an agreement regarding acquisition of rights to work results for all employees, with the aim to secure rights to research results, etc.

The University of Oslo has a goal of recruiting more women in academic positions. Women are encouraged to apply. In accordance with the University of Oslo’s equal opportunities policy, we invite applications for all interested individuals regardless of sex or ethnicity. According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act (offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.  

Region: Oslo

Job type: Contract

Working hours: Full-time

Working days: Day

Application deadline: 30. september 2015

Location: Oslo

Reference number: 2015/10741

Home page:

Contacts: Lee Hsiang Liow, (Associate Professor)

Telephone: +47 22855078

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

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