PhD position within ethics and sustainability in a marine context

Posted 10 months ago

Offer Description

The position

At the Norwegian College of Fishery Science (NCFS), within the Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics (BFE) at The Arctic University of Norway (UiT), we are pleased to announce a vacant PhD position within ethics and sustainability in a marine context. The position will be affiliated with the research groups MARA and BRIDGE.

The position is for a period of four years. The nominal length of the PhD programme is three years. The fourth year is distributed as 25 % each year and will consist of teaching and other duties. The objective of the position is to complete research training to the level of a doctoral degree. Admission to the PhD programme is a prerequisite for employment, and the programme period starts on commencement of the position.

The workplace is at UiT in Tromsø. You must be able to start in the position within a reasonable time after receiving the offer.

The position’s field of research

The PhD position is situated within a strategic project funded by the UiT, which has an overarching thematic focus on “green transition, ethics and societal responsibility”. The PhD project will focus on ethics and sustainability in the context of commercial marine activities. The project will identify, analyze and theorize about important contemporary marine sustainability dilemmas, preferably with a main focus on a Norwegian context. Sustainability dilemmas arise when dimensions and/or values linked to sustainability are in tension with each other. For instance, tensions between social, economic, and environmental aspects of a particular development, innovation or decision.

Specifically, the PhD project should focus on sustainability dilemmas within either of the following two areas:

1) Remote Electronic Monitoring vs. privacy concerns in the seafood sector
Technological capabilities for Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) of fisheries are developing rapidly. REM may offer a cost-effective solution for monitoring fisheries activities, and thereby support developments towards sustainable fisheries. REM may contribute to reduce the extent of illegal and unreported fishing, which could level the playing field between fishers and increase the quality of data underpinning fisheries resource assessments. The Norwegian Fisheries Directorate aims to enhance the use of REM, but many fishers are skeptical to REM approaches, which they see as unnecessary and intrusive. Under which circumstances will REM be justified and acceptable? How do fishers and other relevant actors in fisheries governance tend to balance privacy concerns of REM in relation to concerns with IUU fishing? How can concerns of sustainable fisheries and privacy aspects relating to REM in fisheries be evaluated?

2) Seabed mining: Minerals for renewable energy development vs. environmental concerns
Seabed mining represents a potential source of metals and minerals that are in high demand in relation to a transition towards renewable energy production. The current extraction of relevant metals and minerals from terrestrial sources is subject to significant environmental, geopolitical, and social concerns. At a recent IUCN conference, most countries voted in favor of a moratorium on deep sea mining. The Norwegian government voted against the moratorium and has proposed opening an area of the Norwegian Continental Shelf for exploration of seabed mining, with the goal that Norway shall take a leading position in a knowledge-based and sustainable management of this emerging industry. Seabed mining, however, has been portrayed as an environmentally risky endeavor, with unknown consequences for sensitive and partially unexplored species, habitats and ecosystems. Under which circumstances may seabed mining be justifiable as an element of an energy transition? What would be required for genuine sustainable management of such an emerging industry? What theory or framework may support an evaluation of such questions?

The PhD fellow will be supervised by Kåre Nolde Nielsen in a team with other supervisors, to be defined in cooperation with the employed PhD candidate.

The applicants must present a description of a relevant and realistic PhD project within the general scope of one of the two topics mentioned above. The project description shall not exceed 4 pages, literature references included. It must include a description and motivation of the research focus within the context of existing knowledge, the research question(s), methods, concepts and theories to be pursued, as well as a (simple) time plan. It can be considered that a PhD thesis within this field at UiT will normally be expected to include a coherent and strategic compilation of 3-4 published or publishable manuscripts, which are integrated through a common introduction. Note that the project description mainly serves to provide a basis for evaluating applicants, while the selected candidate will develop a final project description in cooperation with the team of supervisors.


For further information about the position, please contact Associate Professor Kåre Nolde Nielsen:


Required qualifications:

  • A MSc degree in sociology, philosophy, political science, geography, environmental science/management/law, marine science/management, sustainability studies, or another field with clear relevance for the described PhD topic
  • Qualitative research skills
  • Knowledge of and ability to utilize theory of relevance for analyzing topics within (marine) sustainability and ethics, such as different ethical theories, sustainability theory, socio-ecological systems theory, socio-technical transitions theory, the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation, etc.
  • Applicants must document fluency in English. Nordic applicants can document their English capabilities by attaching their high school diploma. If English proficiency is not documented in the application, it must be documented before starting in the position

Desired qualifications:

  • MSc thesis with specialization within or with relevance for marine governance, sustainability, and/or ethical theory
  • Experience with NVivo or other software supporting qualitative and semi-qualitative research
  • Experience with relevant social science methods (e.g. semi-structured interviews or the use of focus groups)
  • Strong scientific writing skills
  • Knowledge of theories of relevance for the identified research topic
  • Good oral communication and presentation skills
  • Ability to work independently under supervision
  • Ability to collaborate in a research team
  • Scientific publications/manuscripts
  • Teaching experience

We will also emphasize motivation and personal suitability for the position. We are looking for candidates who:

  • Have good collaboration skills
  • Have good communication and interaction with colleagues and students
  • Wants to contribute to a good working environment

In the assessment, the emphasis is on the applicant’s potential to complete a research education based on the master’s thesis or equivalent, and any other scientific work. The project description will also be considered. In addition, other experience of significance for the completion of the doctoral programme may be given consideration.

As many people as possible should have the opportunity to undertake organized research training. If you already hold a PhD or have equivalent competence, we will not appoint you to this position.

Admission to the PhD programme

For employment in the PhD position, you must be qualified for admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics and participate in organized doctoral studies within the employment period.

Admission normally requires:

  • A bachelor’s degree of 180 ECTS and a master’s degree of 120 ECTS, or an integrated master’s degree of 300 ECTS.
  • A master’s thesis with a scope corresponding to at least 30 ECTS for a master’s degree of 120 ECTS.
  • A master’s thesis with a scope corresponding to at least 20 ECTS for an integrated master’s degree of 300 ECTS.

UiT normally accepts higher education from countries that are part of the Lisbon Recognition Convention.

Grade requirements applies both to the master thesis as well as courses part of the master’s degree. The minimum requirements are grade C or better on the master’s degree, and grade C or better on courses that are part of the master’s degree. A grade lower than C in one course may be compensated by a higher grade than C in another course. If the applicant has two subjects with the grade D or lower, the applicant is not qualified for admission. A more detailed description of admission requirements can be found here.

Applicants with a foreign education will be subjected to an evaluation of whether the educational background is equal to Norwegian higher education, following national guidelines from NOKUT. Depending on which country the education is from, one or two additional years of university education may be required to fulfil admission requirements, e.g. a 4-year bachelor’s degree and a 2-year master’s degree.

If you are employed in the position, you will be provisionally admitted to the PhD programme. Application for final admission must be submitted no later than six weeks after taking up the position.

Inclusion and diversity

UiT The Arctic University of Norway is working actively to promote equality, gender balance and diversity among employees and students, and to create an inclusive and safe working environment. We believe that inclusion and diversity are a strength, and we want employees with different competencies, professional experience, life experience and perspectives.

If you have a disability, a gap in your CV or immigrant background, we encourage you to tick the box for this in your application. If there are qualified applicants, we invite at least one in each group for an interview. If you get the job, we will adapt the working conditions if you need it. Apart from selecting the right candidates, we will only use the information for anonymous statistics.

We offer

  • Involvement in an interesting research project
  • Good career opportunities
  • A good academic environment with dedicated colleagues
  • Flexible working hours and a state collective pay agreement
  • Pension scheme through the state pension fund
  • PhD Fellows are normally given a salary of 532 200 NOK/year with a 3% yearly increase

Norwegian health policy aims to ensure that everyone, irrespective of their personal finances and where they live, has access to good health and care services of equal standard. As an employee you will become member of the National Insurance Scheme which also include health care services.

More practical information about working and living in Norway can be found here:


Your application must include:

  • Cover letter explaining your motivation and research interests (max 1 page)
  • CV
  • Diploma for bachelor’s and master’s degree
  • Transcript of grades/academic record for bachelor’s and master’s degree
  • Explanation of the grading system for foreign education (Diploma Supplement if available)
  • Documentation of English proficiency
  • 2 references with contact information
  • Master’s thesis, and any other academic works
  • Project description (max 4 pages)

Qualification with a master’s degree is required before commencement in the position. If you are near completion of your master’s degree, you may still apply and submit a draft version of the thesis and a statement from your supervisor or institution indicating when the degree will be obtained. You must still submit your transcripts for the master’s degree with your application.

All documentation to be considered must be in a Scandinavian language or English. Diplomas and transcripts must also be submitted in the original language, if not in English or Scandinavian. If English proficiency is not documented in the application, it must be documented before starting in the position. We only accept applications and documentation sent via Jobbnorge within the application deadline.

General information

The appointment is made in accordance with State regulations and guidelines at UiT. At our website, you will find more information for applicants.

Remuneration for the position of PhD Fellow is in accordance with the State salary scale code 1017. A compulsory contribution of 2 % to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted. You will become a member of the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund, which gives you many benefits in addition to a lifelong pension: You may be entitled to financial support if you become ill or disabled, your family may be entitled to financial support when you die, you become insured against occupational injury or occupational disease, and you can get good terms on a mortgage. Read more about your employee benefits at:

A shorter period of appointment may be decided when the PhD Fellow has already completed parts of their research training programme or when the appointment is based on a previous qualifying position PhD Fellow, research assistant, or the like in such a way that the total time used for research training amounts to three years.

We process personal data given in an application or CV in accordance with the Personal Data Act (Offentleglova). According to the Personal Data Act information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure. You will receive advance notification in the event of such publication, if you have requested non-disclosure.

Eallju – Developing the High North

UiT The Arctic University of Norway is a multi-campus research university and the northernmost university of the world. Our central location in the High North, our broad and diverse research and study portfolio, and our interdisciplinary qualities make us uniquely suited to meet the challenges of the future. At UiT you can explore global issues from a close-up perspective.

Credibility, academic freedom, closeness, creativity and commitment shall be hallmarks of the relationship between our employees, between our employees and our students and between UiT and our partners.

The Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics (BFE) consists of Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, Norwegian College of Fishery Science (NFH) and School of Business and Economics.

The main task of BFE is to conduct teaching and research dissemination at a high national and international level within all relevant fields. Prioritized research areas are aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, climate, life in the arctic, marine bioprospecting, fish health, seafood products, business and macroeconomics, resources and environment, markets and management of marine resources. The interdisciplinary profile of the faculty provides good opportunity to develop research projects involving several research groups at the faculty according to its strategy.

Job Features

Job CategoryDoctorat

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