PhD Position in Sustainable Stable Ground from Nano to Macroscale

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 30 Sep 2022

About the position

We have a vacancy for a PhD position in experimental Soft Matter Physics at PoreLab, Department of Physics, NTNU. The appointments have a duration of 3 years with the possibility of until 1-year extension with 25% teaching duties in agreement with the department. The PhD student should start no later than December 2022.

The position is organized at the Department of Physics in close collaboration with the Center of Excellence PoreLab.

Information about the Department of Physics

The department is currently in an expansion phase and incorporates a broad activity within physics with activities in solid state physics/material physics, soft/complex and biopolymer physics, medical physics, statistical physics, optics, atmospheric physics, university didactics and astroparticle physics. The department is also since 2017 the hosting institution of two national centers of excellence - Porelab and QuSpin. The department is responsible for the best recruiting physics study programmes in Norway, both within applied and fundamental physics. It also provides a large set of courses within physics for other study programmes at NTNU.

For more information about the department and its activities, follow this link .

Information about PoreLab

PoreLab is a Norwegian Center of Excellence under the auspices of the Research Council of Norway. It was created in 2017 and it is situated at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, and the University of Oslo.

PoreLab is an interdisciplinary center with joint efforts in theory, computer simulations and experiments, both in fundamental and in more applied directions. The center works to advance the understanding of porous media by developing theories, principles, tools and methods to replace ad hoc approaches to porous media with a fundamental understanding of porous media with relevance in biology, chemistry, geology and geophysics based on fluid mechanics, non-equilibrium thermodynamics and statistical mechanics.

Further information about PoreLab can be found here .

The position reports to Professor Erika Eiser, PoreLab, department of Physics, NTNU, Phone: +47 92045497 ( ).

Duties of the position

The PhD project will focus on experimental research and development of sustainable, low-CO2 emission deep mixing stabilization technology for quick clay. The position is part of the Large Scale Interdisciplinary project on Sustainable Stable Ground (Bærekraftig Grunn).  Quick clay is a type of marine clay deposit. Clays are disk-like natural nano-colloids that are charged in aqueous suspensions. Over millions of years these solidified in the presence of appropriate salts, that can screen the Coulomb repulsion between the particles.  In present day Norway, many urban areas and coastlines that are rich in such quick clays have become unstable due to sweet-water undercurrents and rainfalls that can cause mechanical destabilization under sufficient pressure leading to suddenly liquify and catastrophic landslides.  Stabilization, for example in building roads, is usually done using lime cement, which has a high carbon footprint.  This project aims to reducing this carbon footprint.  We will explore the stability of suspensions of purified clays in the presence of different ionic strengths, employing zeta potential and rheological studies, and explore different additives, both plant based and recycled building materials to stabilize such suspensions.

The project involves scientists from a wide range of backgrounds, including structural engineering, civil and environmental engineering, physics, and chemistry, experimental as well as theoretical. The student will have the opportunity to work closely with the entire group, including close collaborations with the postdoctoral researcher (supervised by Prof. Astrid de Wijn) who will build a simulation model based on our experimental findings.

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a professionally relevant background in physics.
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level
  • You must have a strong academic background in physics, 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 .
  • The successful candidate should have a broad knowledge in experimental physics, with focus on colloidal and soft matter science.
  • Hands-on (lab) experience in experimental physics is required.
  • Good written and oral English language skills.

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

  • Knowledge in computational physics and programming skills is welcome and will be needed for the project.

Personal characteristics

  • The successful applicant is a highly competent, motivated and ambitious student.
  • We are looking for a positive and balanced personality open to new proposals.
  • We are looking for candidates who can think creatively and critically,
  • and who can work independently and consistently on the research project.
  • She/he should also enjoy interdisciplinary research.
  • She/he should take keen interest in learning and working in teams.

Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

We offer

Salary and conditions

As a PhD candidate (code 1017) you are normally paid from gross NOK 501 200 per annum before tax. 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 until 1 year extension with 25% teaching duties in agreement with the department of Physics.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in physics   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.

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: 

  • 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.
  • Letter of motivation
  • Name and contact information of three referees
  • If you have publications or other relevant research work

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 is working actively to increase the number of women employed in scientific positions and has a number of resources to promote equality.  

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 Erika Eiser, email . If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Magnus Gautvik, 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: 30.09.22

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 Physics

Our research and teaching are both experimental and theoretical, covering a wide range of disciplines. Our activities contribute to development of new medical technology and to finding solutions for the next generation’s communication technology, energy utilization and development of materials. The Department of Physics  is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences .

Deadline 30th September 2022
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Fixed Term
Place of service

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