2 PhD positions on freshwater microplastics (Innovative Training Network LimnoPlast)

Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

About the positions

We have two vacant PhD positions at NTNU’s Department of Biology. The positions are affiliated to the LimnoPlast project: “Microplastics in Europe’s freshwater ecosystems: from sources to solutions” funded by the European Commission. Both positions have a fixed-term period of three years, preferably starting from 01.05.2020.

The positions in detail: The first PhD position will focus on the toxicity leaching from conventional and new plastic materials using a range of in vitro bioassays and high-resolution mass spectrometry.
The second PhD project will be about the toxicity of microplastics in freshwater invertebrates, looking into the impacts of different particle shapes and polymers.

Main duties and responsibilities

  • Microplastics (i.e., microscopic plastic debris) pose a global challenge. LimnoPlast brings together more than 20 project partners from environmental, material and social sciences in order to investigate the sources and impacts of microplastics in freshwater ecosystems as well as to develop innovative solutions to adress this challenge.
    For more information about the overall project please visit https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/224715/factsheet/en and https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/457414
  • LimnoPlast will offer the PhD fellows advanced training at NTNU and the partner institutions through research secondments (obligatory six-month research stay) as well as through network-wide training events.
  • The PhD positions are part of the work package “ENVIRONMENT: Sources and impacts of freshwater microplastics" which aims at providing a comprehensive picture of the sources and impacts of the microplastics pollution in the freshwater environment. In particular, we will compare the toxicity of conventional and novel, biodegradable plastics to assess whether the latter have indeed a better environmental performance.
  • The tasks of the PhD fellows involve an active contribution to all phases of the research project, such as literature review, study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation as well as scientific publications, dissemination activities and conference contributions.
  • As LimnoPlast is a highly transdisciplinary project, both PhD fellows will collaborate with environmental, technical (polymer chemists and engineers), and social/behavioral scientists (economists, psychologists, jurists) as well as experts from plastic manufacturers, water managers, interest groups, and government agencies.

Qualification requirements

PhD candidate:
The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is completion of a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in biology/environmental sciences or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. Applicants with no letter grades from previous studies must have an equally good academic foundation. Applicants who are unable to meet these criteria may be considered only if they can document that they are particularly suitable candidates for education leading to a PhD degree.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, postdoctor and research assistant

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

Other qualifications

The applicant must:

  • be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers (i.e., after completion of the first MSc program)
  • not have been awarded a doctoral degree
  • not have resided in Norway for more than 12 months in the last 3 years (except refugees)

Previous research experience, relevant to the project is desirable, specifically:

  • a background in environmental toxicology or chemistry
  • work with nano- and microplastics
  • in vitro bioassays (position 1)
  • in vivo bioassays (position 2)

Proficiency in written and oral English language.

Personal characteristics

  • The applicant should be motivated by curiosity and creativity, willing to perform towards positive results.
  • He/she/they should be committed to working in an international, transdisciplinary team requiring an open and flexible mindset.
  • The applicant should be able to work independently and in a structured manner to cope with a high workload.
  • He/she/they should be committed to travel and stay at another LimnoPlast institution for at least six months.
  • The applicant is expected to have excellent communication skills and be enthusiastic about communicating their research to a larger public.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement.

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017. From the salary, 2 % is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years. Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in biology.

As a PhD candidate, you undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. A condition of appointment is that you are in fact qualified for admission to the PhD programme within three months.

General information

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. Under the Freedom of Information Act (offentleglova), information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have their name entered on the list of applicants.

Questions about the position can be directed to Professor Martin Wagner, phone number +47 73 41 30 47, e-mail

About the application:
Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application. Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify the individual applicant's contribution to joint works, the applicant must include a brief description of his or her contribution.

Please submit your application electronically via jobbnorge.no with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applicants invited for interview must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number 123/19 when applying.

Application deadline: 31.01.2020