PhD Position in Biodiversity and Land-Use change

Updated: 9 days ago
Deadline: 01 Jan 2022

This is NTNU

NTNU is a broad-based university with a technical-scientific profile and a focus in professional education. The university is located in three cities with headquarters in Trondheim.

At NTNU, 9,000 employees and 42,000 students work to create knowledge for a better world.

You will find more information about working at NTNU and the application process here.



(Video unable to load from YouTube. Accept cookie and refresh page to watch video, or click here to open video)

Research Collaboration in Sustainability

In 2015, the 2030 agenda with the 17 sustainability goals was adopted by all UN member states. The sustainability goals see the environment, economy and social development in context. The time horizon for necessary changes is short, and it is challenging to combine different considerations without conflicts of objectives and unintended consequences of measures. 

NTNU is now announcing 43 individual PhD positions that will contribute to a greater understanding of system effects, societal changes and conflicts of interest related to the sustainability challenges. These positions are divided into 9 interdisciplinary projects with mainly 4-7 PhD positions in each project . 

In this position, the candidate is expected to cooperate with the other PhD students in the project Nature-based solutions for land use transitions towards more sustainable societies .

About the position

The position is fully funded and will be a part of a larger multidisciplinary project "Nature-based solutions for land use transitions towards more sustainable societies", funded by the NTNU Sustainability call. The project has following main objectives:

  • To quantify how land use changes affect local and regional biodiversity, and to assess the societal costs such biodiversity losses
  • To provide an in-depth understanding of the societal aspects related to land use change and biodiversity loss and identify the roles and rights of stakeholders in defining biodiversity and nature
  • To develop tools to implement compensation and restoration of societal and biodiversity costs into practical planning in order to reach the aims of the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDG).

The project involves a collaboration between the following departments at NTNU: Department of Biology, Department of Geography, Department of Natural History, and Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management.

This position is at the NTNU Department of Natural History. The NTNU University Museum is a museum of natural history and archaeology and a leading institution for collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting artefacts from Norway and across the globe. The Department of Natural History conducts research in biogeography, biosystematics and ecology, with an emphasis on conservation biology. The department is responsible for building and maintaining the museum’s natural history collections, including 1,400,000 plant and animal specimens.


This PhD will focus on understanding how past land-uses and land-use changes have impacted current and past biodiversity. This is vital in order to assess baselines for biodiversity changes, and to forecast how current and future changes in land-cover will alter biodiversity dynamics. Human activity has a long history of driving land-cover changes across Norway. The successful candidate will use a range of data types including natural history collections (specimens and digitized metadata), spatially explicit land-cover and remote-sensed data and species occurrence records, across decadal to centurial timescales to investigate how past land-use changes have influenced past and present biodiversity patterns within the county of Trøndelag in Norway.

The PhD project will:

  • Develop a regional-scale, spatially explicit history of biodiversity change with a focus on the county of Trøndelag. 
  • Investigate what land-cover transitions are most closely associated with different elements of biodiversity loss
  • Develop predictions of how ongoing and future changes in land-use will alter biodiversity.

The PhD will be a part of the NTNU Sustainability project "Nature-based solutions for land use transitions towards more sustainable societies" and the candidate will be in close contact with PhD-candidates from other departments at NTNU. The project will also be included as a part of the proposed Gjærevoll centre for biological diversity and green transitions.

Full PhD education will be provided. The period of employment is 3 years with the possibility of 1 year duty work upon agreement. For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree. Publication of the project results in peer-reviewed journals is expected.

You will report to lead supervisor Associate Professor James D. M. Speed and Head of Department Ingrid E. Mathisen .

View or Apply

Similar Positions