PhD Fellow in Microalgal Biotechnology

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 11 Dec 2021

The position

The Norwegian College of Fishery Science  (NCFS), the Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics  (BFE) is searching for a PhD student to study and engineer marine polar microalgae for enhanced waste-based cultivation. The position is attached to the Microalgae & Microbiomes Research Group .

The position is for a period of four years. The nominal length of the PhD programme is three years. The fourth year is distributed as 25 % each year and will consist of teaching and other duties. The objective of the position is to complete research training to the level of a doctoral degree. Admission to the PhD programme is a prerequisite for employment, and the programme period starts on commencement of the position.

The position will especially be assigned teaching duties within the discipline of biotechnology.

The position’s field of research

The PhD student will work within the establishment of bioprocesses that can take advantage of biological value of waste products from the human fossil fuel utilization and from agro and food streams by using improved polar microalgal strains. These waste materials will be processed to serve as carbon sources for microalgae cultivation with or without light. Thus, there is a huge potential for turning waste into beneficial products from microalgae. The PhD project aims to select polar microalgal strains with high carbon dioxide uptake and utilization or heterotrophic abilities by using organic waste, and subsequent engineering of selected strains for improvement of photosynthetic/heterotrophic capabilities. Tasks will include bioprospection of polar marine microalgal strains, optimization of culture conditions in photo/bioreactors, and strain improvement through synthetic biology strategies.

The project will develop and utilize tools in molecular biology, biochemistry, bioprocess and engineering of polar microalgal strains with modern synthetic biology tools to harness waste uptake and utilization. This project will uncover fundamental scientific knowledge that leads to innovation of improved polar microalgal cultivation using waste and production of high-value metabolites. The exact emphasis of the project will in part be tailored to the strengths and ambitions of the successful candidate.

The successful candidate will become a part of the Microalgae & Microbiomes Research Group and will regularly interact with its members who work on different aspects of algal biotechnology, synthetic biology and marine microbial ecology.


For further information about the position, please contact Associate Professor Daniela Morales-Sánchez:


The successful applicant must have:

  • A master’s degree or equivalent by the time of employment in biochemistry, microbiology, biotechnology, genomics, molecular biology, chemical/biological/environmental engineering or a related field.
  • Good command of basic molecular biology, cultivation and aseptic techniques in microbiology.
  • Good academic performances, and a genuine interest and motivation for performing research.
  • Documented fluency in English

It will be in the candidate’s advantage to have one or more of the following:

  • Experience in cultivation of microalgae including photo/hetero/mixotrophic modes.
  • Experience in metabolite extraction including lipids, pigments, proteins and carbohydrates.
  • Basic knowledge over modern synthetic biology approaches such as various cloning techniques.
  • Basic knowledge over DNA and RNA sequencing.
  • Theoretical and/or hands-on experience with bioreactors.
  • Established knowledge and/or strong motivation to learn programming and bioinformatics skills using R, and Python.

In the assessment, the emphasis is on the applicant's potential to complete a research education based on the master's thesis or equivalent, and any other scientific work. In addition, other experience of significance for the completion of the doctoral programme may be given consideration.

Personal qualifications and suitability will be emphasized; the candidate’s personal qualifications should include excellent interpersonal and communication skills and an enthusiasm to work as a member of a collaborative research team.

As many as possible should have the opportunity to undertake organized research training. If you already hold a PhD or have equivalent competence, we will not appoint you to this position.

Admission to the PhD programme 

For employment in the PhD position, you must be qualified for admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics  and participate in organized doctoral studies within the employment period.

Admission normally requires:  

  • A bachelor's degree of 180 ECTS and a master's degree of 120 ECTS, or an integrated master's degree of 300 ECTS. 
  • A master's thesis with a scope corresponding to at least 30 ECTS for a master's degree of 120 ECTS. 
  • A master's thesis with a scope corresponding to at least 20 ECTS for an integrated master's degree of 300 ECTS. 

Grade requirements applies both to the master thesis as well as courses part of the master’s degree. The minimum requirements are grade C or better on the master’s degree, and grade C or better on courses that are part of the master’s degree. A grade lower than C in one course may be compensated by a higher grade than C in another course. If the applicant has two subjects with the grade D or lower, the applicant is not qualified for admission. A more detailed description of admission requirements can be found here .

If you are employed in the position, you will be provisionally admitted to the PhD programme. Application for final admission must be submitted no later than six weeks after taking up the position. 

Inclusion and diversity

UiT The Arctic University of Norway is working actively to promote equality, gender balance and diversity among employees and students, and to create an inclusive and safe working environment. We believe that inclusion and diversity are a strength and we want employees with different competencies, professional experience, life experience and perspectives.

If you have a disability, a gap in your CV or immigrant background, we encourage you to tick the box for this in your application. If there are qualified applicants, we invite at least one in each group for an interview. If you get the job, we will adapt the working conditions to your needs. Apart from selecting the right candidates, we will only use the information for anonymous statistics.

We offer
  • Involvement in an interesting research project 
  • Good career opportunities 
  • A good academic environment with dedicated colleagues  
  • Flexible working hours and a state collective pay agreement  
  • Pension scheme through the state pension fund  
  • More practical information for working and living in Norway can be found here:


Your application must include: 

  • Cover letter explaining your motivation and research interests
  • CV
  • Diploma for bachelor's and master's degree
  • Transcript of grades/academic record for bachelor's and master's degree
  • Explanation of the grading system for foreign education (Diploma Supplement if available)
  • Documentation of English proficiency
  • References with contact information
  • Master’s thesis
  • Academic works (published or unpublished) you wish to be taken into account during the evaluation

Qualification with a master’s degree is required before commencement in the position. If you are near completion of your master’s degree, you may still apply and submit a draft version of the thesis and a statement from your supervisor or institution indicating when the degree will be obtained. You must still submit your transcripts for the master’s degree with your application.

All documentation to be considered must be in a Scandinavian language or English. Diplomas and transcripts must also be submitted in the original language, if not in English or Scandinavian. We only accept applications and documentation sent via Jobbnorge within the application deadline. 

General information 

The appointment is made in accordance with State regulations and guidelines at UiT. At our website, you will find more information for applicants . 

A shorter period of appointment may be decided when the PhD Fellow has already completed parts of their research training programme or when the appointment is based on a previous qualifying position PhD Fellow, 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 Fellow 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.

We process personal data given in an application or CV in accordance with the Personal Data Act (Offentleglova). According to the Personal Data Act information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure. You will receive advance notification in the event of such publication, if you have requested non-disclosure. 

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