News article

Two-year postdoc position studying interactions between biodiversity and landuse in a near urban setting

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 with the possibility of a one-year extension. “Two-year postdoc position studying interactions between biodiversity and landuse in a near urban setting”

Information about NINA and the Department of Terrestrial Ecology:
NINA is among Norway’s largest applied ecology research institutes with more than 240 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.

Research project:
More than half of the global population now lives in cities, and this is expected to rise to more than two thirds by 2050. The urbanisation process is increasing pressure on the so-called bluegreen infrastructure - such as forests, rivers and lakes - in surrounding areas. Bluegreen infrastructure is designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services as habitat for biodiversity conservation, green-space for recreation, areas for hunting and fishing, and land for forestry and agriculture. However, while many of these demands can be integrated into the same landscapes, some demands come into conflict with each other creating trade-offs between different objectives. In this project funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN), we explore the ability of blue-green infrastructure near Oslo to provide multiple ecosystem services. The services we consider are wildlife conservation (medium and large mammals, fish and salamanders), key habitats of high ecological value, areas for human recreation activities, areas for children`s play, and opportunities for hunting and forestry.

The project involves both terrestrial and freshwater natural scientists and social scientists from NINA, and we will use multiple field methods and existing map data within a network of study plots distributed along a gradient from suburban Oslo, through the agricultural matrix to the forests of Østmarka. The study plots will be characterised by the extent to which they are influenced by human land uses and structures. Our main ecological indicator for terrestrial wildlife will be the presence of medium to large mammals using camera traps. We will monitor recreational activity using camera trapping, automatic counters, interviews with local users and observation of users along transects and on the path system. In addition, we will systematically search for physical structures after children’s play. Fish diversity will be monitored using environmental DNA (eDNA). Habitats and human land use in each plot will also be characterized based on existing databases. Finally, we plan to explore the relationships between the probability that a species or activity is present at a given point in time and space contingent on the environmental conditions that we are interested in (describing degree of urbanization and habitat structure) using occupancy modelling.

For this position, we are looking for an individual with strong quantitative skills, preferentially also experienced with using Bayesian models and dynamic multi-species occupancy models. The post-doctoral fellow will also be responsible for organizing and conducting data sampling on wildlife and human land use, and Scandinavian speaking candidates will be strongly preferred.

The starting date for the positions will be 1st October 2018.

Main tasks:
As part of the overall project, the postdoctoral researcher will be expected to:
• Organise and take part in field work in the area around Oslo.
• Collaborate with other team members (master’s students, researchers based at NINA’s offices in Oslo, Lillehammer and Trondheim).
• The candidate will have the main responsibility to carry out statistical modelling on the collected field data.
• Write articles for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals
• Present research findings at scientific conferences and to local stakeholders.

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, in human geography, or in biostatistics.
• A demonstrated ability to publish scientific papers and communicate results to a wider public is crucial.
• Good knowledge of the statistical program R and a GIS system is a prerequisite.
• An ability to work well in teams.
• The ability to speak one of the Scandinavian languages fluently
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. Prominence will be given for personal traits which are deemed relevant for the execution of the role.

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 Oslo 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 John Odden (phone: +47 91897175; e-mail:, Senior Researcher Erlend B. Nilsen (phone: +47 41425684; e-mail:, Senior Researcher Vegard Gundersen (phone: +47 40551966; e-mail:, or Research Director Morten Kjørstad (phone: +47 97730830 ; 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 MULTIBLUEGREEN
Initial closing date: 2018-06-15.


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