PhD Candidate in Microbial Ecology of Phototrophic Mixed Cultures

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 20 Dec 2022

20th December 2022

  • English


The Department of Biotechnology and Food Science has a vacancy for a

PhD Candidate in Microbial Ecology of Phototrophic Mixed Cultures
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About the job

At the Research Division “Analysis and Control of Microbial Systems” (ACMS ) of the Department of Biotechnology and Food Science (IBT ) and Faculty of Natural Sciences (NV ) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU ), we look for a PhD candidate with a scientific drive to jointly investigate the microbial ecology of phototrophic mixed cultures.

Phototrophic microorganisms are central within natural biogeochemical cycles. Environmental biotechnologies using phototrophs raise interest for capturing (in)organics and nutrients from residuals and valorising them into beneficial products for the circular economy, while protecting the water chain and minimizing greenhouse impacts. Inside these colourful microbiomes, we will elucidate how phototrophs establish their metabolic niches across substrate and light gradients, using mixed-culture biotechnology, functional multi-omics, and mathematical models.

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree. We value your scientific, academic, and personal development. The PhD position is for 3 years, with the possibility of 1 year extension due to teaching duties. You will have the opportunity to interact with colleagues of NTNU, EU COST Action PurpleGain , (inter)national societies like NFM , FEMS , ISME and IWA-MEWE , and stakeholders interested in our science.

Your immediate leader will be Professor David Weissbrodt.

Duties of the position
  • Develop scientific curiosity for phototrophic mixed cultures.
  • Design, conduct and valorise wet-lab and dry-lab research investigations.
  • Collaborate within a research team.
  • Contribute to the education of biotechnologists.
  • Develop motivation and values for academic and personal development.

Required selection criteria
  • You must have a professionally relevant background in Life, Environmental, Food or Chemical Sciences and Engineering.
  • You must own competence in microbial ecology, environmental microbiology, environmental biotechnology or systems (micro)biology.
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian university degree program, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level. You must have a strong academic background from your previous studies and an average grade from the master's degree program, or equivalent education, which is equal to B or better compared with NTNU's grading scale . If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic basis. If you have a weaker grade background, you may be assessed if you can document that you are particularly suitable for a PhD education. Master's students can apply, but the master's degree must be obtained and documented at the time of the start of the PhD position.
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the Faculty's Doctoral Program in Biotechnology (PHBIOT ).
  • You must have good communication skills in both written and oral English, testified by TOEFL, IELTS, or Cambridge Certificates in Advanced English (CAE) or of Proficiency in English (CPE).

The appointment is to be made in accordance with  Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant  

Preferred selection criteria
  • Interdisciplinary skillset in systems microbiology and microbial community engineering
  • Interest and capacity to conduct wet-lab (microbial cultures, bioreactor, microbiology, molecular biology) and dry-lab (meta-omics, bioinformatics, computational biology, mathematical modelling) investigations.
  • Ease with scientific writing and motivation for scientific publishing.
  • Willingness to integrate in the local environment.

Personal characteristics
  • Driven by scientific curiosity as well as creative and critical thinking.
  • Proactive, communicative, interactive, collaborative, and productive.
  • Ability to organise work, identify needs, and seek feedback.
  • Oriented on scientific concepts, process, and results.
  • Enthusiasm for an academic career.

Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

We offer
  • An excellent ground for academic and personal development within an interactive team
  • Exciting and stimulating tasks in a strong international academic environment
  • An open and inclusive work environment with dedicated colleagues
  • Possibilities to learn the Norwegian language via courses given at NTNU
  • Favourable terms in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • Employee benefits

Salary and conditions

As a PhD candidate (code 1017) you are normally paid from gross NOK 501 200,- per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years, with the possibility of 1 year extension due to teaching duties. The PhD thesis will have to be submitted and preferentially defended during this period.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the NTNU PhD programme in Biotechnology (PHBIOT ) within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants , and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

The position is funded by the Faculty of Natural Sciences at NTNU within the start-up package of Professor David Weissbrodt.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that your application will be considered based solely on information submitted by the application deadline. You must therefore ensure that your application clearly demonstrates how your skills and experience fulfil the criteria specified above.

The application must include: 

  • A cover letter, that includes a paragraph of 5-10 lines addressing a research idea that you would be interested in developing on the PhD project.
  • CV, diplomas and certificates.
  • Transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's and master's degrees. If you have not completed the master's degree, you must submit a confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted or a letter from your Master program director that you are on track to obtain your master degree before the start of the PhD position. Documentation of a completed master's degree must be presented before taking up the position.
  • An abstract of the master's thesis (max. 500 words), as well as one representative publication or other relevant research work (if you have).
  • Name and contact information of three referees (phone and e-mail), including at least one independent referee. Please seek for their approval upfront. Referees will be contacted if you are short-listed for the position.

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor's and master's education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here . If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

We will take joint work into account. If it is difficult to identify your efforts in the joint work, you must enclose a short description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

General information

Working at NTNU

NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is our strength. We want to recruit people with different competencies, educational backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives to contribute to solving our social responsibilities within education and research. We will facilitate for our employees’ needs. NTNU has a number of resources to promote equality and to support employees with disabilities.

The PhD position will be located at the Gløshaugen campus of NTNU in Trondheim, Norway.

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

A public list of applicants with name, age, job title and municipality of residence is prepared after the application deadline. If you want to reserve yourself from entry on the public applicant list, this must be justified. Assessment will be made in accordance with current legislation . You will be notified if the reservation is not accepted.

For questions about this position, please contact before the application deadline Prof. David Weissbrodt ( Please include the reference code ACMS-DW-PhD-2022 in the subject of your email.

If you think this PhD position looks interesting and is in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via with the aforementioned documents attached. Applications that are incomplete or submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation. 

Application deadline: 20.12.2022

The short-listed candidates will be interviewed on-line in early January 2023. The PhD position is expected to start in the spring semester 2023, ideally in February/March 2023.

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.


Department of Biotechnology and Food Science

Our activities contribute to increased exploitation of existing and new ingredients for sustainable food production as well as next-generation energy solutions and medical technology. We educate graduates for a wide range of careers in industry, public administration and academia. The Department of Biotechnology and Food Science is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences .

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20th December 2022


NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology




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