One PhD fellowship is available at the PROMENTA Research Center, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo. The PhD fellow will be working in the project Early Life SocioEconomic status, mental health, and educational performance: an evaluation of sensitivity to the environment (ELiSE) funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN). There are long traditions in studying either neighborhood factors, parental factors, or genetic factors for children’s mental health and educational performance. The ELiSE project will address the impact of early life socioeconomic factors for mental health and educational success, while evaluating theories for children’s individual sensitivity to household, school, and community environments.
More about the project
The PhD fellowship is directed at rendering a new understanding of: (1) Intergenerational transmission: How parental socioeconomic status and non-cognitive skills directly and indirectly affect child mental health and educational performance; (2) Mental health as a process: Reveal whether children do well at school despite their low socioeconomic background if they are mentally healthy, (3) Sensitivity to the environment: Evaluate models for how individual risk and resources for illbeing, wellbeing, and educational performance are differentially expressed across total school and community environments, and (4) Specific developmental contexts: Identify school and community characteristics that reduces individual risk and augment individual resources.
Children’s socio-economic status (SES) at birth is given by the status of their parents. Social inequality plays out in the neighborhood children live in. Parental and neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage is associated with child mental health problems and educational difficulties. These factors together predict a person’s health and success in adulthood. It remains poorly understood how and why early life SES is linked to mental health and educational performance, because environmental disadvantages are intertwined with genetic vulnerabilities. ELiSE propose a paradigm integrating temporal, spatial, social, genetic, and individual levels of inference. Studying individuals with similar genetic profiles will allow the ELiSE project uncover the influences of time periods, places, schools, and families. This will allow us to jointly evaluate hypotheses on direct and indirect pathways into poor mental health and academic failure.
With Norwegian national registries giving full genealogy and year-by-year event data on place of residence, SES, mental health, and educational performance, ELiSE will be in the position to consider the entire country since 1940. Within the registry data, ELiSE will nest a population-based cohort study comprising 100 000 genotyped families with a wide array of survey data. This unprecedented investigation of the interplay between neighborhood and family factors will help to grasp inequity in mental health and educational outcomes.
The PROMENTA Research Center
The PROMENTA Research Center carries out interdisciplinary research on mental health and well-being in a holistic perspective – from genetics and biology to local communities and policy. We are concerned with examining determinants of good and poor mental health, understanding how social inequalities emerge, and designing and evaluating effective interventions to promote well-being.
We strive to provide our candidates with opportunities to develop high-quality research competence, across disciplines, working alongside leading experts in our fields. While working for us, you will be part of a dynamic and interdisciplinary work environment, with ample opportunities for scientific and social input throughout the academic year. This includes training in both social science and genetic methods, and the possibility teaching and educational courses.
The PROMENTA Research Center with more than 50 scientific staff is funded by the Research Council of Norway, and hosted by the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo (UiO). Read more about working at PROMENTA.
The project is based in the neighborhood genetics workgroup at PROMENTA lead by Professor Eivind Ystrøm. The goal of the genetics workgroup is to study the interplay between genetic and contextual factors in families, schools, and wider contexts by integrating genotyped family trios into population-based registries on family structure, residence, schools, health, and education.
The PhD student will be working with GeoGen Team members from Psychology, Economics, Educational Sciences, and Sociology.
The appointment is a fulltime position for a period of three years. A fourth year can be considered with the addition of 25 % teaching duties, usually in the form of teaching activities, depending on the competence of the applicant and the needs of the department. The fellowship is planned to begin in the fall of 2023.
For more information about the positions please see contact information below.
- A Master’s degree (120 ECTS) or equivalent in psychology, genetics, sociology, epidemiology, economics, or other related fields. Only applicants with a grade point average of A, B or C on the ECTS scale in their Master’s degree will be qualified for admission to the Ph.D. program.
- We are looking for students with strong quantitative skills.
- Proficient oral and written communication skills in English.
- Strong interest in the potential of integrating social science and genetics.
- Enjoys working within an interdisciplinary team.
- Personal Suitability.
Favourable qualifications (not requirements, but give applicants an advantage):
- Familiarity with R, Python, Julia, or other relevant computing languages.
- Experience with administrative register data or other types of big data.
- Training in application of genetic data, such as GWAS, polygenic scores, or genomic relatedness.
- Experience with multilevel modelling or Structural Equation Modelling, or twin-family studies.
- Experience with using geocode data.
- Experience with scientific publishing.
- Experience with open science practices
- A salary of NOK 532.200 – 575 400 per annum depending on qualifications in a position as PhD Research fellow, (position code 1017)
- A professionally stimulating work environment and collaboration with a newly established research center (PROMENTA) at the Department of Psychology
- Opportunities for extensive collaboration with our national and international collaborators, such as the European Social Science Genetics Network (ESSGN)
- Attractive pension and social welfare benefits
- Oslo’s family-friendly environment with its rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities
- An opportunity to build a career in social science genomics
How to apply
The application must include
- A well written motivation letter relating to your placement in ELiSE (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 a Scandinavian language or English must be uploaded in the original language. An English translation of these documents must also be attached.
- Copies of any publications that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee.
- Names and contact details for two references, one of them the supervisor on master thesis.
The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system. International applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University’s grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English (or a Scandinavian language).
In assessing the applications, special emphasis will be placed on the documented, academic qualifications, the project description (whenever this is required in the call for applicants), and the quality of the project as well as the candidates motivation and personal suitability.
Interviews with the best qualified candidates will be arranged.
It is expected that the successful candidate will be able to complete the project in the course of the period of employment.
Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Research Fellowships at the University of Oslo.
No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo.
According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.
The appointment may be shortened/given a more limited scope within the framework of the applicable guidelines on account of any previous employment in academic positions.
The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results etc.
Diversity and gender equality
Inclusion and diversity are a strength. The University of Oslo has a personnel policy objective of achieving a balanced gender composition. Furthermore, we want employees with diverse professional expertise, life experience and perspectives.
If there are qualified applicants with disabilities, employment gaps or immigrant background, we will invite at least one applicant from each of these categories to an interview.
All e-mails must have the term “ELiSE” included in the subject line or text.
Scientific coordinator Maria Vinje Dodson, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project manager Eivind Ystrøm, e-mail: email@example.com
HR Adviser, Joan García Castán e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the University of Oslo
The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest ranked educational and research institution, with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. With its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally recognised research communities, UiO is an important contributor to society.
The Department of Psychology is one of seven units of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and has 75 permanent and 70 temporary members of scientific staff. Degrees are offered at bachelor and master level, plus a clinical training programme, and the PhD programme has 140 students.
10th August 2023
Place of service
Department of Psychology