PhD scholarship within hydrogeochemistry 

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

As, Norway 🇳🇴

About the position

Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant 3 year PhD.–position within hydogeochemistry, entitled “Major ion geochemistry of South African rivers: the effect of natural and anthropogenic factors on river water quality”.

River and dam water contributes about 85% towards South Africa’s water consumption. However, South Africa experiences severe water stress related to high water demand and poor water quality associated with mining, agricultural, and industrial activities. South Africa has a globally unique river water quality monitoring system in place since the late 1970s involving more than 2000 sample stations, which has resulted in an extensive spatiotemporal water quality dataset.

This dataset gives an exceptional opportunity to research the effect of chemical weathering, pollution, climate change, and their interrelationships on river water quality, which is the main aim of this study.

The successful candidate will investigate the Orange river, which is the fifth largest river in Africa, and other carefully selected South African rivers.

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

The main tasks will include to:

  • Create a user-friendly water quality database of South African rivers that can be used for easy data retrieval (e.g. Excel, SQL)
  • Characterize the water quality and its spatiotemporal variation of the selected rivers
  • Use modelling software (e.g. PHREEQCI) in order to obtain a better understanding of hydrogeochemical processes
  • Design appropriate hydrogeochemical diagrams in order to evaluate and interpret water quality data with regards to chemical weathering, climate change, and pollution
  • Investigate the effect of climate change, weathering, and climate change on river water quality
  • Collaborate with other students and researchers
  • Write and publish scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals
  • Present results in workshops and 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 or a 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

  • Master’s degree within a relevant scientific field, such as Geology, Hydrology/Geohydrology, Geochemistry/Hydrogeochemistry or similar fields

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Experience in hydrogeochemical evaluation and interpretation of water quality data
  • Experience with large datasets or alternatively willing to learn how to work with large datasets using for example: Excel, R, SQL or Python
  • Strong skills in written and spoken English
  • Knowledge of the geology of South Africa will be an advantage

You need to:

  • Be motivated
  • Be able to work independently
  • Have good communication skills

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 501.200,-) 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 Jan Marten Huizenga, e-mail:, phone: +47 48147365.

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: 07.04.2023

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 Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management

The Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA) works with nature and the environment, sustainable use of natural resources, biological and geological processes.

MINA’s employees undertake teaching, research and dissemination within the fields of geology, hydrology and limnology, soil science, environmental chemistry, forestry, ecology, natural resource management, renewable energy, and nature-based tourism.

Our vision is to be a key actor in knowledge production and dissemination, and our goal is to deliver research of high, international quality, and varied and excellent teaching. The faculty’s employees are significant participants within their respective fields of expertise, both nationally and internationally. The faculty is dominated by a vital research culture and high levels of scientific production.

The faculty has about 200 employees, 90 PhD students and 650 students.

Read more about MINA here.

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






IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development