PhD Research Fellowship in Botany – UiO NHM

PhD Research Fellowship in Botany

A 3 year PhD position (SKO 1017) is available at the Natural History Museum (NHM), University of Oslo. The position is a fully funded PhD fellowship (Early Stage Researcher) under an EU FP7 Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN), entitled Phylogenetic Exploration of Medicinal Plant Diversity, MedPlant (

Project Description:

The trade of plant roots as traditional medicine is an important source of income for many people around the world. Destructive harvesting practices threaten the existence of some plant species. Harvesters of medicinal roots identify the collected species according to their own ethnoclassifications, but once the dried or powdered roots enter the chain of commercialization, accurate identification becomes more challenging. Species substitution and adulteration introduce both safety and efficacy concerns, but also reflect changes in availability that impact subsistence harvesters of wild-crafted medicinals. Molecular identification as a method is a powerful tool for root product identification, but is limited by the extent of the reference libraries and unsuitable for species of hybrid origin.

This project will investigate substitution and adulteration of complexes of medicinal roots traded in the markets of Southern Morocco. The objectives of the project will be: a) to develop methods for accurate species identification, in particular of complexes of species of possible hybrid origin (i.e. Anacyclus, Asteraceae; Silene and Corrigiola, Caryophyllaceae), using a combination of NGS whole genome sequencing and specific target-enrichment; b)  to identify the drivers of substitution and adulteration, be that increasing demand, increasing value or decreasing populations, using fieldwork focused on collection of medicinal root products and herbarium vouchers, interviews with harvesters of medicinal plants, and market surveys of product diversity and herbal trade.

Job Description

Your key tasks as a PhD fellow are:

  • Manage and carry through your research project
  • Take PhD courses within the MedPlant network
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Participate in international congresses and MedPlant network meetings
  • Stay at a research institution abroad for a few months
  • Teach and disseminate your research

Key criteria for the assessment of candidates

A MSc degree or equivalent in a relevant field is required. A strong academic record and training in molecular species identification, quantitative ethnobotany, and/or systematics are preferable. The project will require an independent and dedicated person, proficient in both written and spoken English. Good competences in French and/or Arabic will be considered as a plus. She/he should be able to work well as part of a team but also independently; be flexible and willing to travel for field and labwork; and have excellent communication and reporting skills. In filling this position UiO aims to recruit the person who, in the combined evaluation of competence, skills and documented qualifications, is judged most suitable to carry out and develop the work-in-hand and to contribute to a positive development of MedPlant and NHM.

Primary supervisor is Dr. Anneleen Kool, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo. Co-supervisors are Dr. Hugo de Boer, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, and Dr. Gary Martin, Global Diversity Foundation, Morocco.

The PhD candidate will receive part of the training in market ethnobotany during a flexible research stay totalling roughly 4 months with the Global Diversity Foundation, Morocco.

The successful candidate will participate in a Marie Curie international training network and will work in a highly interactive international environment with other Marie-Curie PhD students, researchers, authorities, NGOs and industry.

We offer

  • An exciting Europe-wide network of fellow MedPlant PhD students, postdocs, and their supervisors with whom you will collaborate during courses, summer schools, and other training activities.
  • Salary based on salary level 50-55 (NOK 421 100 – 457 700 per year)
  • A stimulating and friendly working environment
  • Membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund, which provides
attractive welfare benefits

Marie Curie ITN requirements and eligibility

At the time of recruitment, it is a requirement that the PhD candidates has not been awarded a doctorate degree and is in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of his or her research career. Furthermore, at the time of selection by the host organization, the candidate must not have resided or carried out his or her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Norway for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.

The applicant must be able to take up the position from March 2014

Place of employment and principal place of work

The Natural History Museum, University of Oslo.

Terms of employment

Recruitment is done in accordance with the rules set out by the FP7 Marie Curie Initial Training Networks.

The successful PhD candidate will be offered a full-time Ph.D. position for a period of three years, contingent on a satisfactory performance, with the specific intent that it results in a Ph.D. degree and scientific publications.

The fellowship requires admission to the research training programme at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Appointment to a research fellowship is conditional upon admission to the Faculty’s research training programme. An approved plan for the research training must be submitted no later than two months after taking up the position, and the admission approved within three months.

The application must include:

  • Motivation letter
  • Research plan (max. 1 page)
  • CV (summarizing education, positions and academic work – scientific publications and other relevant activities)
  • Copies of educational certificates
  • Letters of recommendation
  • List of publications and academic work that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee.

The application with attachments is to be delivered in our electronic recruiting system EasyCruit. Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University’s grading system. Please remember that all documents should be in English or a Scandinavian language.

Women are encouraged to apply. In accordance with the University of Oslo’s equal opportunities policy, we invite applications from all interested individuals regardless of sex or ethnicity. 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.

  • Application deadline: 30 November, 2013
  • Expected Start Date: 1 March, 2014
  • Location: Tøyen, Oslo
  • Reference number: 2013/13230
  • Contacts:
  • Anneleen Kool, Dr.
    Telephone: +47 22851612
  • Fridtjof Mehlum, Research Director
    Telephone: +47 22851723
  • Hugo de Boer, Dr.
    Telephone: +47 98126030

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