PhD Fellow in applied Microscopy/Nanoscopy

UiT the Arctic University of Norway

UiT the Arctic University of Norway with its main campus located in the quaint little city of Tromsø is the northernmost university in the world. It houses the optics group in the Department of Physics and Technology, Faculty of Science and Technology, at the main campus of UiT. The optics group has experienced a great surge in research, thanks to a constant flow of Horizon2020 funding through ERC and MSCA-IF projects and funding from the Research Council of Norway (RCN) through diverse projects. This has led to a thriving multi-national (currently representing 10 nations) and multi-disciplinary research group, currently comprising of 5 principal investigators, 11 post docs, 11 PhD candidates, several master students and a multi-million dollar research infrastructure. There is a constant flow of international visiting experts. The group members represent various disciplines like optics, photonics, fabrication, biology, mathematics, sensing, microscopy, nanoscopy, chemistry, computer engineering, electronic instrumentation, etc. The group’s core research activity targets development of cutting-edge technologies in nano-photonics, optics-based climate sensing, microscopy, optical and computational nanoscopy, and bioapplications. There is an emphasis on gender equality, cultural integration, conducive work environment excellence through cooperation and co-enabling, and support of growth and ambition of everyone in the group.

We offer an interesting PhD project related to microscopy/nanoscopy, and providing scope for scientific independence, good remuneration, great potential of growth, and fantastic work environment within the stunning landscape of Tromsø.

The position

The Department of Physics and Technology is pleased to announce a vacant positions as PhD Research Fellow in the optics group in connection with the microscopy/nanoscopy projects at UiT. The project is related to label-free microscopy/nanoscopy development and application. 

The doctoral research fellow will be a part of 3d-nanoscopy team, led by Professor Krishna Agarwal, who works on computational microscopy and label-free nanoscopy. The goal of the project is to develop microscopy and nanoscopy technologies for applications in biological problems such as autophagy, cardiovascular biology, molecular cell biology etc. There is a similar position available with the team, in which you can find here. 

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 positions are 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 position’s field of research

The project lies at the intersection of applied physics, engineering, and biology, computational techniques, image processing, programming, artificial intelligence, etc. It requires a highly motivated, determined, enthusiastic, goal-oriented, perseverant and diversely talented candidate with people skills. In turn, it provides an opportunity for doing a very interesting cutting-edge and heavily multi-disciplinary research in early stage of research career.

The nature of the project and the job scope is that it allows an all rounded development of the fellow. The fellow will be encouraged and supported to build his/her resume towards their ambition in academic, technopreneurial, or main stream industrial career. There is an opportunity for the fellow to build his/her research network through inheriting the collaborations of the group. Major collaborators, beyond UiT and directly relevant to the project, include USoton (UK), IIT (Italy), University of Campagnia (Italy), University of Barcelona (UB), EMBL (Germany), NUS (Singapore), ASTAR (Singapore), BIT (China), Sun Yat Sen University (China), and IIT (India). The fellow will also be encouraged to become a member of Digital Life Norway (DLN), a national platform for multi-discplinary research with life sciences as a focus. DLN offers several PhD courses and career development programs, which the fellow can participate in.

Job Description:

  • Develop computational shape and dynamics models for cells and sub-cellular structures
  • Develop computational imaging pipelines for a variety of label-free and fluorescence microscopes and optimize them for computational efficiency
  • Test and optimize different inverse solvers (reconstruction approaches) and deep learning based microscopy data analysis tools.
  • Develop new inverse solvers and artificial intelligence solvers if it falls within the interest and skillset of the candidate
  • Develop protocols and benchmarks for validation of the computational tools developed
  • Generate biological data from microscopes and undertake extensive computational experiments and studies for biological hypotheses validation

Other common requirements include:

  • Identify and/or develop data post-processing pipelines to facilitate data analysis/interpretation
  • Collaborate with biology, microscopy, and artificial intelligence teams for prospecting, developing, trouble shooting, and results generation
  • Curate data and codes for publications, public release, dissemination, etc.
  • Write scientific manuscripts, make scientific presentations, and disseminate the results

Contact

For further information about the position, please contact Professor Krishna Agarwal: 

Qualifications

This position requires a master’s degree or equivalent in physics (or subsets and specializations in it), optics, photonics, biology, biotechnology, biophysics biomedical engineering, medical imaging, life sciences, electrical or computer engineering, bioimaging and related overlapping fields.

The main quanlifications and mandatory requirements include:

  • Postgraduate coursework or mater thesis strongly related to at least 2 of the following topics:
    • Microscopy
    • Bioimaging
    • Cell biology
    • Optics related courses (such as Fourier, Statistical)/electromagnetic wave modelling
    • Computational imaging/modelling and/or scientific computing
    • Artificial intelligence/machine learning/deep learning
    • Optimization theory
    • Computational optimization and/or distributed computing
  • Experience in multi-disciplinary research
  • Basic programming skills in Matlab, Python or Java

It is also expected that the candidate demonstrates:

  • Good written and verbal communication skills in English.
  • Self-motivation, independence, enthusiasm
  • Excellent work ethic and commitment to the job

Experience of the following is desirable:

  • Collaboration on scientific projects across disciplines
  • Working in multi-national multi-cultural environment or international mobility for research/education
  • Using microscopy/biological image processing toolkits such as imageJ, Fiji, Cell Explorer, etc. and/or automation and synchronization software such as Micromanager, LabView
  • Publication record (academic or non-academic scientific), if any, including journal articles, patents, conference articles, software or source code releases, news articles, video or text blogs are welcome (order of examples indicates roughly the order of preference).
  • Creativity, ability to think outside the box, problem solving and go-getter characteristics

The assessment will emphasize motivation and personal suitability for the position. The candidate must be willing to engage in the ongoing development of label-free nanoscopy and the university as a whole. 

As many poeple 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 Engineering Science and Technology 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.

In order to gain admission to the programme, the applicant must have a grade point average of C or better for the master’s degree and for relevant subjects of the bachelor’s degree. 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 two months 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

  • Exciting research possibilities, international exposure, opportunity to shape and pursue career ambition, opportunity to build extensive research network, and great potential of growth
  • Exposure of working in highly prestigious RCN/EU funded projects and cutting edge research
  • Fantastic work environment and good renumeration within the stunning landscape of Tromsø
  • Good welfare arrangements for employees
  • Good arrangements for pension, insurance and loans in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • PhD Fellows are normally given a salary of 501 200 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: https://uit.no/staffmobility

Application 

Your application must include: 

  • CV
  • Application letter describing: 
    • what makes you suitable for the position
    • what motivated you to apply for the position and what do you expects from this position
  • 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
  • References with contact information
  • Master’s thesis, and any other academic works
  • Project idea – 1-2 page document proposing one project idea and discussing the research question/hypothesis, the motivation, the proposed methodology, the expected outcome, impact, and a timeline. The research hypothesis should be within the scope of the job description provided above.

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: spk.no.

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

Eallju – Developing the High North

UiT The Arctic University of Norway is a multi-campus comprehensive university at the international forefront. Our vision is to be a driving force for developing the High North. The Northern Sami notion eallju, which means eagerness to work, sets the tone for this motive power at UiT. Along with students, staff and the wider community, we aim to utilise our location in Northern Norway and Sápmi, our broad and diverse research and study portfolio and interdisciplinary advantage to shape the future.

Our social mission is to provide research-based education of high quality, perform artistic development and carry out research of the highest international quality standards in the entire range from basic to applied. We will convey knowledge about disciplines and contribute to innovation. Our social mission unites UiT across various studies, research fields and large geographical distances. This demands good cooperation with trade and industry and civil society as well as with international partners. We will strengthen knowledge-based and sustainable development at a regional, national and international level.

Academic freedom and scientific and ethical principles form the basis for all UiT’s activities. Participation, co-determination, transparency and good processes will provide the decision-making basis we need to make wise and far-sighted priorities. Our students and staff will have the opportunity to develop their abilities and potential. Founded on academic integrity, we will be courageous, committed and generous in close contact with disciplines, people and contemporary developments.

We will demonstrate adaptability and seek good and purposeful utilisation of resources, so we are ready to meet the expectations and opportunities of the future. We will strengthen the quality and impact of our disciplines and core tasks through the following three strategic priority areas.