Take a PHd with our team, developing biotechnology for reducing N2O emission from farmland

Norges miljø- og biovitenskapelige universitet (NMBU)
PhD scholarship within Environmental Microbiology

PhD scholarship within Environmental Microbiology

About the position

The Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science (KBM) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant 3-year PhD-position within environmental microbiology. The successful candidate will be anchored in the research group Microbial Ecology and Physiology at KBM (https://www.nmbu.no/en/research/groups/microbial-ecology-and-physiology-mep (https://www.nmbu.no/en/research/groups/microbial-ecology-and-physiology-mep)) which is part of the NMBU Nitrogen group (https://www.nmbu.no/en/research/groups/nitrogen (https://www.nmbu.no/en/research/groups/nitrogen)).

The PhD work will be a part of our ongoing efforts to develop effective biotechnology for reducing the emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O) from farmland, utilizing organic wastes as substrates and vectors for bacteria which can consume but not produce N2O, so called NNRB (non-denitrifying N2O respiring bacteria). The technology was developed in the laboratory by deliberate enrichment (and isolation) of NNRB's which thrive both in the organic waste and in soil.

Field experiments with the first NNRB-strain provided very promising results (https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.10.19.563143v1 (https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.10.19.563143v1)).

Further development of the technology will be to broaden the scope by isolating new NNRB-strains that can grow in a specter of relevant organic wastes, characterize their capacities as N2O sinks, and to test promising strains at first in the laboratory, and then in field experiments. In collaboration with industries (VEAS, Yara, N2Applied) we will explore various applications, develop robust routines, and verify the effects on N2O emissions in field experiments monitored by our field robots. Selected strains will be genetically modified by knockout of unwanted genes (nitrate- and/or nitrite reductase), both by random mutations and by CRISPR.  

All these activities, including the PhD position, are financed by two projects funded by the Norwegian Research Council ; NOX2N (https://www.nmbu.no/en/research/projects/nox2n) and NRBOW (https://www.nmbu.no/en/research/projects/nrbow). Key persons involved in these projects are Kjell Rune Jonassen (researcher), Lars Bakken (professor) and Åsa Frostegård (professor).

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 PhD candidate's tasks will depend on skills and interest:

1.     Enrichment, isolation, phenotyping and testing of new NNRB strains.
2.     Molecular work: making knock-out mutants of nitrate-nitrite reduction genes; and the development of a Nanopore sequencing based technique for tracing the survival of NNRB's in soil
3.     Determine effects of NNRBs on N2O emissions from soil. Experiments using robotized gas measurements in lab and field.
4.     Isolation and characterization of drought tolerant NNRB, for use in dry products.

All tasks will be collaboratively performed alongside other members of the research group.

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 cand.med.vet. 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 (https://www.nmbu.no/en/research/regulations-and-guidelines-doctoral-degrees-nmbu).

The applicant must document expertise and interest in the research subject.

Required Academic qualifications

  • The successful applicant must hold (or expect to complete within October 2021) a master's degree within the field of biosciences. An average grade of B (or equivalent) is required from the MSc courses, which is also the minimum requirement for the Master thesis.

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized, depending on the preferred task:

  • Microbiology skills
  • Molecular techniques and bioinformatics
  • Enzyme- and gas-kinetics
  • Other desired skills and knowledge:
  • Knowledge on biogeochemistry, particularly the N-cycle
  • Experience with R and/or Python

Personal qualities

  • Accurate and patient with experimental work
  • Analytical skills
  • Strong communication skills, both written and oral English
  • Interest and ability to collaborate closely with the team
  • Good understanding our field of research. Selected candidates will be required to give a presentation of one of our core publications, as a part of the recruitment process

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 532.200,-) 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:

Professor Lars Bakken (lars.bakken@nmbu.no ) +47 67231830

mobile +47 97021822 or

Professor Åsa Frostegård (asa.frostegard@nmbu.no) +47 67232473  mobile +47 41600678

Information for PhD applicants (https://www.nmbu.no/en/research/applying) and general Information to applicants (https://www.nmbu.no/om/adm/poa/rekruttering/viktig-informasjon-for-s-kere/information-for-jobseekers-at-nmbu)


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: 15.01.24

Your CV must be entered in JobbNorge's CV form and not just included as an attachment. This is to be able to comply with the regulations of §15 of the Public Administration Act.

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. Di-ploma, 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) (https://lovdata.no/dokument/SFE/forskrift/2020-01-30-1471). 
  • 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 Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science

The Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science (KBM) employs about 160 people. Currently about 50 PhD students are enrolled into our PhD program. KBM represents a broad range of scientific fields encompassing basic natural sciences such as microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry as well as the application of these towards food chemistry, technology and safety, biotechnology, bioprocessing and environmental issues. The Faculty is responsible for education, research and information within our fields of expertise and also has state-of-the-art instrumentation to perform research within these fields. KBM collaborates in networks and research projects both nationally and internationally. 

Further information: https://www.nmbu.no/en/faculty/kbm (https://www.nmbu.no/en/faculty/kbm) 

Om arbeidsgiveren

NMBU will contribute to securing the future of life through outstanding research, education, communication and innovation. We have the country's most satisfied university students, who receive research-based education in a unique student environment. Our graduates gain a high level of competence in interdisciplinary collaboration and are popular in the labor market. NMBU has internationally leading research environments in several subjects. Together with our partners in society and business, we contribute to solving some of the biggest societal challenges of our time.
We focus on innovation, communication and entrepreneurship because we believe these challenges are best solved with joint efforts. We believe that a good working environment is characterized by diversity.If necessary, workplace adaptations will be made for persons with disabilities. More information about NMBU is available at www.nmbu.no/en

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Sist endret 15. jan. 2024 00:00

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