research fellow palaeogenetics


Univ. Stavanger







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Postdoctoral Fellow in Palaeogenetics and the Deterioration of Ancient DNA in Bone

About the position

The University of Stavanger invites applicants for a two-year position as Postdoctoral Fellow in Palaeogenetics and the deterioration of ancient DNA (aDNA) in bone, at the Museum of Archaeology, Department of Conservation.

The objective of the position is to strengthen research, and to give researchers/scholars holding a doctoral degree the opportunity for further qualification towards top academic positions.

The position commences 01/01/2024 and is a 100% research position.

The position is externally funded by the Research Council of Norway and associated with the project Future Past: Future preservation of past life: A multidisciplinary investigation into preservation of ancient biological remains from medieval cemeteries.

The selected project will be mainly carried out at the University of Stavanger, but also for up to six months with Professor Tom Gilbert’s group at the Center for Evolutionary Hologenomics, the Globe Institute, the University of Copenhagen. The aDNA data will be generated and the initial bioinformatic analyses will be undertaken in Copenhagen. The appointee will work full time on the project and participate in the academic communities at both institutions.
About the Future Past project

In the study of past humans, few finds are more telling than the remains of humans themselves. Bone and teeth have always been important evidence for archaeologists and have only become more central following the development of new methods for analysing ancient DNA and proteins. Such biomolecules tell stories of individuals and populations through time. Unfortunately, the material is sensitive to decay and contamination. This can create challenges for analytical work and can limit the possibilities for reconstructing past life. Therefore, it is essential to understand how organic remains degrade or are preserved. This is not easy. These are complex materials buried in a complex environment over hundreds and thousands of years. Biomolecules such as DNA and proteins, furthermore, are invisible to the naked eye. Which factors influence the preservation of archaeological biological remains from macro to molecular level? To investigate this, the Future Past project is carrying out both an excavation in a medieval cemetery in Stavanger, and analysis of skeletal remains in the collections of the Museum of Archaeology (UiS), recovered from Stavanger and the surrounding areas.

The project uses a multi-proxy approach to describe both environmental conditions (soil geochemistry, palynology, entomology, soil lipid analysis), and skeletal preservation (bone histology and chemistry, stable isotope analyses and ancient DNA) at different scales, in- and ex situ. The project combines traditional archaeology with environmental science and molecular biology, using state-of-the-art methods for the analysis of biological remains and environmental conditions. The overall goal of the project aim is to contribute to the improvement of methods to secure and store this type of valuable but fragile source materials. Another aim is to carry out detailed bioarchaeological analyses of a subset of the skeletal collections under study. The archaeological remains and bioarchaeological analyses have the potential to provide new insights into who the first inhabitants of Stavanger were and how the city developed in relation to the surrounding areas. The project will illustrate the value of the bioarchaeological archive, depending on environmental conditions and nature of preservation.

This advertised position aims to recruit a team member whose work will focus on the analysis of aDNA data generated from the medieval skeletal remains in the museum’s collections. The principal aim is to understand the degradation of endogenous DNA, which microorganisms contribute to this, and how different environments bring about its contamination. Tasks will include generating aDNA data from the skeletons, as well as analysing data from both the host and microorganisms to better understand degradation and contamination processes. Targeted research into pathogens and genetic characterisation of the skeletal remains (e.g. geographic origins and kinship) will also be undertaken.
Project proposal

You must submit a description and plan for carrying out a research project within the subject area specified. The project proposal must demonstrate how you would carry out the proposed research work, what the key issues and hypotheses will be, what theories and methods you will apply, the publication channels, and a timetable for carrying out the work.

It must be clear from your application in what way the project will support the aims of Future Past, and in what way it will further develop your skills and competence. The project proposal will be included in the assessment of your competency.

The final project description and progress plan will be drawn up in consultation with the supervisor(s) during the first three months of the Postdoctoral period. It is a prerequisite that you complete the project during the employment period.
Qualification requirements

You must have a Ph.D. in a subject area that is relevant for the project. Your doctoral thesis must have been submitted for examination by the application deadline for the position and defended before taking up the position.

The main purpose of the postdoctoral work is to study the preservation (quantity, quality, and contamination) of ancient DNA, mainly human. Secondary objectives are to perform the genetic characterisation of human and pathogenic DNA. Consequently, prior skill required include experience in the extraction and sequencing of aDNA, as well as of computational methods for analysing ancient human and microbial data. The material under study is mainly medieval human remains in the collections of the Museum of Archaeology, UiS.

You must have a good command of both oral and written English. Knowledge of a Scandinavian language is an advantage.

In the assessment the following criteria will be emphasised:

relevance, quality and feasibility of your proposed project
submitted scientific work and your personal skills for completing the project within the time frame
international experience and network
good teamwork and communication skills and ability to participate in research communities across organisational units
ability to work independently in a structured manner
motivation, sense of responsibility and accountability, work capacity and enthusiasm for research

Elisabeth Tønnessen
Jernaldergården ildsted
We offer

varied duties in a large, exciting and socially relevant organisation
an ambitious, rapidly developing work community. We strive to include employees at all levels in strategic decisions and promote an informal atmosphere within a flat organisational structure.
a salary in accordance with the State Salary Scale, 17.510, code 1352, NOK 530.000-590.000 gross per year. A higher salary may be considered in special cases. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.
automatic membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund, which provides favourable insurance and retirement benefits
favourable membership terms at a gym and at the SIS sports club at campus
employment with an Inclusive Workplace organisation which is committed to reducing sick leave, increasing the proportion of employees with reduced working capacity, and increasing the number of professionally active seniors
"Hjem-jobb-hjem", discounted public transport to and from work
as an employee in Norway, you will have access to an optimal health service, as well as good pension, generous parental leave, and a competitive salary. Nursery places are guaranteed and reasonably priced.
relocation programme
language courses: On this page you can see which language courses you may be entitled to (look up “language courses” under employment conditions)


University of Stavanger values independence, inclusion and innovation. Diversity is respected and considered a resource in our work and learning environment. Universal design characterises physical and digital learning environments, and employees with disabilities are facilitated for.

You are encouraged to apply regardless of gender, disability or cultural background.

The university aims to recruit more women within the subject area. If several applicants are considered to have equal qualifications, female applicants will be given priority.
Contact information

More information on the position can be obtained from Head of Conservation Department Inger Marie Egenberg, tel: +47 51 83 26 89, e-mail: Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein! or researcher Hege Ingjerd Hollund, tel: +47 51 83 26 86, e-mail: Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein!

Information about the appointment procedure can be obtained from HR Advisor Salla Andersen, tel: +47 51 83 19 76, e-mail: Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein!
Arkelogis museum

To apply for this position please follow the link "Apply for this job". Your application letter, relevant education and work experience as well as language skills must be registered here. In your application letter, you must state your research interests and motivation for the position.

The following documents must be uploaded as attachments to your application:

project proposal
CV with a full summary of your education and experience
documentation of approved Ph.D. If you have not completed a Ph.D., you may enclose a confirmation from the institution on the expected date of obtaining the doctoral degree.
complete list of academic publications with information on where they are published
up to 5 publications, including your Ph.D. thesis or published monograph based upon the thesis
transcripts and certificates, and other documentation that you consider relevant

Applications are evaluated based on the information available in Jobbnorge at the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above.

The documentation must be available in either a Scandinavian language or in English. If the total size of the attachments exceeds 30 MB, they must be compressed before upload.

Please note that information on applicants may be published even if the applicant has requested not to be included in the official list of applicants - see Section 25 of the Freedom of Information Act. If your request is not granted, you will be notified.

UiS only considers applications and attachments registered in Jobbnorge.
General information

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. If your application is considered to be in conflict with the criteria in the latter legislation, it will be rejected without further assessment.

Employment as Postdoctoral Fellow is regulated in "Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of post-doctoral research fellow and research fellow, research assistant and resident".

We put emphasis on the quality, relevance and significance of the research work and not on where the work is published, in accordance with the principles of The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

Your qualifications for the position, based on documentation registered in Jobbnorge, will be assessed by an internal expert committee.

Based on the committee's statement, relevant applicants will be invited to an interview before any recommendations are made. References will also be obtained for relevant candidates. More about the hiring process on our website.

UiS has an Acquisition of Rights Agreement for the purpose of securing rights to intellectual property created by its employees, including research results.

It is a prerequisite that you have a residence which enables you to be present at/available to the academic community during ordinary working hours.

The position has been announced in both Norwegian and English. In the case of differences of meaning between the texts, the Norwegian text takes precedence.
Elisabeth Tønnessen
Arkeologisk Museum Vikingsjakk
UiS - challenge the well-known and explore the unknown

The University of Stavanger (UiS) has about 12 000 students and 2 200 employees. The university has high ambitions. We strive to have an innovative and international profile, and be a driving force in knowledge development and in the process of societal change. Our common direction is driven by consideration for green and sustainable change and equitable social development, through new ways of managing natural resources and facilitating better cities and local communities. Energy, health and welfare, learning for life are our focus areas.

In constant collaboration and dialogue with our surroundings, regionally, nationally and internationally, we enjoy an open and creative climate for education, research, innovation, dissemination and museum activities.

Academic life at the University of Stavanger is organised into six faculties comprising various departments/schools and National Research Centres, as well as the Museum of Archaeology. We are a member of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities. The university is located in the most attractive region in the country with more than 300 000 inhabitants.The Stavanger region has a dynamic labour market and exciting cultural and leisure activities.

Together with our staff and students we will challenge the well-known and explore the unknown.

The Archeological Museum has an academic staff with researchers in archeology, conservation, various natural sciences and more recent cultural history. The staff covers several fields within conservation, laboratories, photographic services, archives and scientific collections, management tasks under the Cultural Heritage Act, exhibition production, graphic design, school service and public involvement. The museum publishes two series of writings which are point-giving in CRIStin. The museum currently has a total of 80 permanent employees in four departments and in the museum administration.

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12th March 2023

University of Stavanger



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language skils: english
(skand. languages advantageous)