News article

Post-doctoral fellow - Developing methods for sustainable management of wildlife populations under multiple uncertainties.

Publisert 14.05.2018

The Department of Terrestrial Ecology at Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) announces a vacant position for two years as a post-doctoral fellow. “Developing methods for sustainable management of wildlife populations under multiple uncertainties”

Information about NINA and the Department of Terrestrial Ecology
NINA is among Norway’s largest applied ecology research institutes with more than 250 employees, and the terrestrial department currently has about 80 employees. Its staff conducts research within the natural and social sciences that are related to the interactions between humans and nature. NINA seeks to conduct research of very high quality which is directly relevant for real world application. The main office is found in Trondheim in immediate proximity to the Norwegian University for Science and Technology (NTNU) on the Gløshaugen campus. NINA also has research units in Oslo, Lillehammer, Bergen and Tromsø, and an experimental research lab for salmonids at Ims in Rogaland county.

NINA's research within terrestrial ecology is funded by a wide range of sources, including governmental environmental management agencies (at local, regional and national levels), the Research Council of Norway, industry, and international organizations (including various EU research funding schemes).  The department conducts research within Norway and internationally. NINA has staff from a diversity of disciplinary backgrounds including ecology (zoology and botany), economics, and various social sciences.

Job description:
Over the last decades, it has become increasingly clear that conservation planners and wildlife managers face multiple uncertainties when making management decisions. Such uncertainties relate to the resource dynamics itself, the available data from monitoring programs, as well as uncertainty in the implementation of management decisions such as hunting quotas. Managing wildlife populations under uncertainty is thus a major contemporary issue in wildlife management and conservation science. One of the approaches taken to identify management strategies that are robust to multiple uncertainties the presence of trade-offs between the demands of different stakeholders, is the use of mathematical simulation or optimization models that study the effects of imperfect knowledge on the success of management (such as management system evaluation models and Mixed Observability Markov Decision Processes). Such models have a long history in the fisheries, but have only recently been introduced to terrestrial wildlife management. Developing these models requires defining sub-models for the different process (biological system, monitoring, decision making, implementation). Within this “virtual environment”, different scenarios and management strategies can be compared and evaluated, and trade-offs among various scenarios preferred by different stakeholders can be assessed.

The main task of this post-doctoral fellowship will be to use mathematical models to explore how different management strategies perform under different assumptions regarding the monitoring model, implementation model, and generic properties of the ecological dynamics model (abundance, life history characteristics, behavioural and morphological traits). The types of management strategies that will be considered will typically include systems for quota allocation (threshold harvest vs proportional harvest), harvest vs. no-harvest zones, land sharing vs land sparing, the effects of habitat fragmentation etc. A main question for this project is also to assess under what conditions sustainable harvest and land use are most likely to be achieved. The candidate will both work on both very general (heuristic) models (considering life history and ecological traits), but will also assess how well these general models perform in cases where detailed data are available. Potential model systems for the data-rich case studies from Norway.

The candidate will work together with a team of researchers with the TOPPFORSK-project “Coexistence”, funded by the Research Council of Norway and NINA’s Strategic Institute Programs INTEGRATE and INFRASTRUCTURE.

We seek a highly motivated candidate to work with us on the project outlined above. The successful candidate will have the following qualifications:
- The applicant should have strong quantitative skills and hold a PhD in in either a biological or environmental science, biostatistics or in mathematical sciences.
- A demonstrated ability to publish scientific papers and communicate results to a wider public is crucial.
- Good knowledge of the statistical program R is a clear advantage, and knowledge about a GIS system is preferred.
- Familiarity and proven ability to use mathematical models is a clear strength.
- An ability to work well in teams.

Evaluation of the applicants will be based on the application and attached materials, including presentation of academic work, previous experience and publications. Applicants short-listed for the position will normally be invited for an interview. Knowledge of Norwegian is not required.

Terms of employment:
We offer a two-year full-time contract as a post. doctoral fellow.
• Salary will start on Norwegian pay scale level 64 (currently about 540.000 NOK annually). 
• Flexible working hours
• Good pension and collective life insurance
• Good opportunities for professional development
The position will be based in the Trondheim office.
NINA has a personnel policy objective that the staff must reflect the composition of the population to the greatest possible extent. NINA would like to increase the percentage of female scientists within the institute and would therefore encourage female candidates to apply. 
For further information, please contact Senior Researcher Erlend B. Nilsen (phone: +47 41425684; e-mail:, Senior Researcher John D.C. Linnell (phone: +47 90012533; e-mail:, researcher Bram Van Moorter (phone:+47 90368664; e-mail:, or Research Director Signe Nybø (phone: +47 90679782; e-mail: 

The application should contain:
• A one-page letter where the candidate explains their motivation for applying for this post doc fellowship and a brief description of the scientific relevance of the candidate’s research experience.
• A CV including a list of publications with bibliographical references and contact details (telephone and e-mail) for three referees.
• The most relevant publications (including manuscripts that are not yet published) that have relevance for the evaluation of the applicant’s qualifications.

The application must be submitted in English. The application should be submitted by e-mail to

The reference code for the position is COEXISTENCE2
Initial closing date: 2018-06-15.

Go to related page