PhD scholarship within functional biodiversity in apple orchards

Updated: 5 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 23 May 2023

11 May 2023
Job Information

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)
Research Field

Biological sciences
Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)
Recognised Researcher (R2)
Established Researcher (R3)
Leading Researcher (R4)

Application Deadline

23 May 2023 - 23:59 (Europe/Oslo)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description
About the position

The Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Biological Sciences at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant 3-year PhD–position in functional biodiversity and conservation biological control.

The position is in agricultural entomology, and you will join the research group “Plant biology, sustainable food systems and integrated pest management”. NMBU is one of the largest Nordic Universities for research in sustainable food systems offering a dynamic research environment with modern infrastructure. You will have access to a broad professional network in Norway and abroad and will have opportunities for career development.

Main supervisor will be Prof. Lene Sigsgaard, NMBU with external co-supervisors from NIBIO and University of Copenhagen.

The background for the project is a need to develop more sustainable crop production with less use of pesticides. Apples are a high value crop and can suffer serious losses from pests such as codling moth and other tortricids. A robust orchard system where natural enemies of insect pests are protected and augmented, will reduce the need for direct pest control.

This is essential for fruit growers to achieve good, regular, and high-quality yields. One important preventative measure is to protect and augment natural enemies, of which many live in semi-natural habitats such as forest margins, flower strips or patches of wild vegetation in and around orchards.

The goal is to gain more knowledge of the value of semi-natural habitats for natural enemies, functional biodiversity, resulting pest control and yield, and to  identify main predators of tortricids in apples, and investigate their role and potential in natural pest control, using molecular assessment of predator gut contents and/or bioassays with live insects.

A mobility stay is planned at NIBIO (Ullensvang) and at University of Copenhagen.

The applicant is made aware that an application for a PhD position at NMBU is at the same time an application for admission to a PhD programme at the institution. The documentation that is necessary to ensure that the admission requirements are met must be uploaded as an attachment.

Main tasks

Research on the effect of semi-natural habitat on functional biodiversity and pest control in apple orchards

  • Field sampling of pests and natural enemies in orchards and surrounding semi-natural habitats
  • Conduct bioassays of predator-prey interactions
  • Molecular assessment of gut contents from field collected predators
  • Literature review
  • Data analysis and results reporting, also incl. publication and participation at international and national conferences.

The successful candidate is expected to enter a plan for the progress of the work towards a PhD degree during the first months of the appointment, with a view to completing a doctorate within the PhD scholarship period.


The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD programme at NMBU. The applicant must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year master’s degree, with a learning outcome corresponding to the descriptions in the Norwegian Qualification Framework, second cycle. The applicant must have a documented strong academic background from previous studies and be able to document proficiency in both written and oral English. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD Regulations  and the relevant PhD programme description .

The applicant must document expertise and interest in the research subject.

Required Academic qualifications

  • Relevant education at master’s level (e.g. insect ecology, biological control, integrated pest management, functional biodiversity)
  • Interest in and good understanding of insect ecology, crop protection, functional biodiversity and biological control
  • The candidate which finishes their education within the spring/summer of 2023 can also apply but must provide documentation of their degree before employment.

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Experience from experimental work with insects in field and/or laboratory
  • Experiences from teamwork/ working in a research group
  • Experiences with data management and analysis

You need to:

  • Have high working capacity, be ambitious and work accurate.
  • Be able to work independently and at the same time be a team player.
  • Have good communication and collaboration skills.
  • A driver’s license will be very helpful to get around to study sites for collecting samples
  • Ability to communicate with orchard owners, preferably speaking a Scandinavian language

Remuneration and further information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD. Fellow. PhD. Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 532.200,-) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

Employment is conducted according to national guidelines for University and Technical College PhD scholars.

For further information, please contact Professor Lene Sigsgaard

E-mail: ; phone +47 96869624 or +47 67 23 12 17

Information for PhD applicants  and general information to applicants


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 23.05.2023

In the application, the candidate must confirm that information and documentation (in the form of attachments) submitted via the job application can also be used by NMBU in a possible admission process.

Applicants invited for an interview are expected to present original diplomas and certificates.

The following documents must be attached to the application:

  • Motivation letter (maximum 1 page)
  • Complete CV 
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and certificates. (i.e. Diploma, transcript. Diploma supplement for both bachelor and master). Diplomas, transcripts and diploma supplements that are not in Norwegian or English must be uploaded in the original language. An English translation of these documents must also be attached.
  • Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement, or a similar document, which describes in detail the study program and grading system.
  • Documentation of proficiency in written and oral English in accordance with NMBU PhD regulation section 5-2 (3) . 
  • Names and contact details for two references
  • Additional relevant documentation of professional knowledge (for example, list of scientific works). If it is difficult to judge the applicant’s contribution for publications with multiple authors, a short description of the applicant’s contribution must be included.

About The Faculty of Biosciences

The Faculty of Biosciences (BIOVIT) aims to help shape the future food- and bio-production through teaching and research within biology and sustainable production and use of plants, livestock and fish. The faculty has an annual turnover of approx. 250 million kroner. The faculty is organized into nine research sections: Genome Biology, Breeding and

Quantitative Genetics, Ruminant Nutrition and Physiology, Ethology and Animal Environment, Animal Nutrition and Physiology, Agroecology, Genetics and Plant Breeding, Plant Protection and Food Crops, Plant Biology and Biotechnology. The faculty has seven large and small research centers and laboratories, including a Center for Outstanding Innovation  - Foods of Norway. The faculty is responsible for bachelor's and master's degrees in Aquaculture, Biology, Animal Science and Plant science as well as English-language master's degrees in Agroecology, Plant Sciences, Feed Manufacturing Technology and Genome Sciences.

The faculty is responsible for PhD degrees in animal science and plant science. The faculty currently has about 690 bachelor and master students and 90 PhD students. The faculty has about 240 employees and its own faculty administration.

The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

NMBU's focus is a joint effort for a sustainable future. Our university will contribute to securing the future of life, through outstanding research, education, communication and innovation.

NMBU has 1,900 employees of which about 500 phd scholarships and 6,700 students. The university is divided into seven faculties.

NMBU believes that a good working environment is characterised by diversity.

We encourage qualified candidates to apply regardless of gender, functional ability, cultural background or whether you have been outside the labour market for a period. If necessary, workplace adaptations will be made for persons with disabilities. More information about NMBU is available at

Research Field
Biological sciences
Education Level
PhD or equivalent

Additional Information
Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

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