PhD candidate within barriers in food packaging

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 15 Apr 2023

15th April 2023

  • English

The Department of Chemical Engineering has a vacancy for a
PhD candidate within barriers in food packaging
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About the position

The Department of Chemical Engineering has a vacancy for a PhD candidate within barriers in food packaging. The position is within a competence building project led by RISE PFI (see homepages here: ). We are looking for a candidate who is motivated to develop the next generation packaging materials for food.

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree.

The PhD candidate will be a part of the project “NxtBarr - Next generation food packaging materials - wood fibre-based packaging with biobased water and gas barriers” which is led by RISE PFI. The main goal of the project is to develop safe and sustainable food packaging materials with reduced use of plastics by developing new barrier concepts based on biopolymers. The primary packaging of water rich food and liquids today is often plastic materials, ensuring a good water barrier in direct contact with the food. In the last years, driven by the single use plastic (SUP) directive, an increasing number of fibre-based products have reached the market, but they usually also have a plastic film in direct contact with the food. The vision of the NxtBarr project is to develop fully biobased, recyclable, and biodegradable packaging materials that can replace plastic without compromising on food safety or lead to more food waste. While cellulosic materials have good barriers against oxygen and grease, they are natively hydrophilic and barrier against liquid water is therefore a large challenge with biobased packaging materials. The NxtBarr project will take on the challenging task of developing new sustainable barrier concepts for fibre-based food packaging based on biopolymers using novel approaches to obtain hydrophobic and dense surfaces.

The project group comprises a strong interdisciplinary consortium with scientists having complementary background from synthesis, (nano)cellulose, biopolymer chemistry, fiber technology, packaging performance, food safety, and sustainability, together with industry partners representing both the pulp, paper and packaging industry, and food processing industry. The PhD candidate will be a part of this team, and first and foremost work together with the scientists at NTNU and RISE PFI.

The main supervisor of the candidate will be Professor Kristin Syverud (NTNU/RISE PFI), and co-supervisor will be researcher Marianne Øksnes Dalheim (RISE PFI).

Duties of the position
  • Pursuit of the project goals in developing biopolymer-based films with high barrier, particularly against water
  • Collaborate with other researchers and engineers at RISE PFI and the project team
  • Present research findings at project meetings and conferences
  • Dissemination of research results in the form of peer-reviewed manuscripts together with the supervisors

Required selection criteria
  • You must have a professionally relevant background in chemical engineering, biotechnology, biopolymers, organic chemistry or similar
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian 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.
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty's doctoral program ( )
  • You must be skilled in laboratory work, including working with experimental data 
  • You must have excellent writing and oral skills in English

The appointment is to be made in accordance with Regulations on terms of employment for positions such as postdoctoral fellow, Phd candidate, research assistant and specialist candidate and 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
  • You should be able to communicate in a Scandinavian language

Personal characteristics


  • Demonstrated interest and ability to work in a collaborative setting
  • Proactive mindset for conducting innovative research
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Self-motivated and dedicated

Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

We offer
  • exciting and stimulating tasks in a strong international academic environment
  • an open and inclusive work environment with dedicated colleagues
  • 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.
Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Chemical engineering ( ) 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 subject to external funding. 

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: 

  • Letter of motivation, highlighting your interest and research experience
  • CV 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.
  • Name and contact information of three referees

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.

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.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Professor Kristin Syverud, email

If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact HR Advisor Nina Sandberg, e-mail:

If you think this looks interesting and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates attached. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation.  

Application deadline: 15.04.2023

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 Chemical Engineering 
We take chemistry from laboratory scale to industrial production. This demands a wide range of knowledge, from molecular processes and nanotechnology to building and operation of large processing plants. We educate graduates for some of Norway's most important industries. The Department of Chemical Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences.  

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15th April 2023


NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology




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