Researcher (Post doc) in Sensory Biology of Marine Invertebrates with a Focus on Octopus


About the job

The position is a temporary position where the main goal is to qualify for work in senior academic positions.

We have one postdoctoral/researcher positions positions funded through the NFR FRIPRO Young talents Grant “EnvIronchannel” at the Animal Physiology Section in the Department of Biology ( ) in the Group of Lena van Giesen ( ).

We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher marine invertebrate sensory biology with a focus on Octopus and in particular Eledone cirrhosa. The project is funded by the NFR through a FRIPR young talents research grant. The position is for two years with a potential for extension, and you will report to Lena van Giesen (Associate Professor).

This project will investigate how Octopus use their specific touch taste modality to adapt to specific habitats and investigate how the cellular and molecular underpinnings work together with the peripherally distributed nervous system to support this particular behavior. The project will use a range of techniques centered around cellular physiology, anatomy, behavior and molecular biology to address these questions. We also closely collaborate with other researchers to bring these aspects into an environmental context (see relevant publications here:  and here: )

In the van Giesen lab we study sensory perception and processing in marine invertebrates. Navigating through a world full of complex information necessitates elaborate sensory organs that are capable of filtering and encoding relevant signals to guarantee the animals survival. These sensory cells and organs are the first connection between the outside world and the nervous system of the animal and are composed of complex cellular and molecular features that have evolved to suit the animal’s unique behavior. We have an interest in cellular physiology, to understand how these cellular and molecular determinants evolved to enable organisms to sense and adapt to their specific niche in the environment. We use different methods to investigate these questions including behavior, anatomy, transcriptomics and electrophysiology with a focus on marine invertebrates, such as corals and Cephalopods.

The successful candidate will work in a highly collaborative environment on different aspects of cellular, molecular, and behavioral aspects of sensory perception in marine invertebrates and should have a general interest in cellular physiology, protein biochemistry and behavioral analysis as well as a basic background in R or transcriptome analysis.

Duties of the position

  • To conduct research in the lab responsibly
  • Collecting and analysing data relevant to the research question
  • To participate in group meetings and discussions
  • To attend to conferences and disseminate findings
  • To engage in a collaborative research environment
  • To assist MSc and PhD students
  • To write and conceptualize scientific publications

Required selection criteria

A postdoctoral research fellowships is a qualification position in which the main objective is qualification for work in academic positions. You must have completed a Norwegian doctoral degree in or corresponding foreign doctoral degree recognized as equivalent to a Norwegian doctoral degree is required.

If, for any reason, you have taken a career break or have had an atypical career and wish to disclose this in your application, the selection committee will take this into account, recognizing that the quantity of your research may be reduced as a result.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant

  • PhD in neuroscience, cell or molecular biology, biochemistry or related field.
  • Strong scientific background in relevant area, good communication- and analytical skills.
  • Very good written and oral English skills.
  • The ability to work independently, in a structured manner and in collaboration with others.
  • Experience with student supervision.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with Regulations on terms of employment for positions such as postdoctoral fellow, Ph.D Candidate, research assistant and specialist candidate.

Preferred selection criteria

  • Experience with Electrophysiology, Biochemistry or Molecular Biology.
  • Experience with data analysis or Bioinformatics including relevant scripting languages (e.g. R)
  • Understanding of the value of working with rare and protected species.
  • Passion for science and science communication.

Personal characteristics

  • Enthusiasm for scientific research and lab work
  • Self-motivated
  • Good team player and collaborative skills
  • Solution oriented
  • Reliable
  • Independent and dependable

Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

We offer 

Salary and conditions

As a Postdoctoral Fellow (code 1352) you are normally paid from gross NOK 575 400 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund

The period of employment is 2 years, with some potential for an extension depending on available funding.

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. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU.  

After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

The position is subject to external funding, NFR.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution on a daily basis.

About the application 

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above.  

If, for any reason, you have taken a career break or have had an atypical career and wish to disclose this in your application, the selection committee will take this into account, recognizing that the quantity of your research may be reduced as a result. 

The application must include: 

  • CV and certificates
  • Transcripts and diplomas for bachelor’s-, master’s- and PhD degrees. If you have not yet completed your Ph.D, you must provide confirmation on your estimated date for the doctoral dissertation, or that your PhD thesis has been submitted
  • A copy of the doctoral thesis. If you are close to submitting, or have recently submitted your thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed doctoral degree must be presented before taking up the position.
  • A research statement explaining what you think are the biggest knowledge gaps in marine sensory biology and how you would address them.
  • List of publications or other relevant research work
  • Name and contact information of three referees

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education. Description of the documentation required can be found here . If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well. 

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation. 

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment – DORA. 

General information 

Working at NTNU 

NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is a strength. We want our faculty and staff to reflect Norway’s culturally diverse population and we continuously seek to hire the best minds. This enables NTNU to increase productivity and innovation, improve decision making processes, raise employee satisfaction, compete academically with global top-ranking institutions and carry out our social responsibilities within education and research. NTNU emphasizes accessibility and encourages qualified candidates to apply regardless of gender identity, ability status, periods of unemployment or ethnic and cultural background.

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.  

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted. 

A public list of applicants with name, age, job title and municipality of residence is prepared after the application deadline. If you want to reserve yourself from entry on the public applicant list, this must be justified. Assessment will be made in accordance with current legislation . You will be notified if the reservation is not accepted.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Lena van Giesen, email: [email protected] . If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Andrea Sommervold, e-mail: [email protected]

If you think this looks interesting and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates attached. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation. 

Application deadline: 15.09.2023 


NTNU – knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Biology 

We work with global challenges in natural diversity, climate, the environment, health and nutrition. Our expertise in biological processes at all levels – from molecules to ecosystems – contributes to a sustainable society. The Department educate graduates for a wide range of careers in public administration, business and academia. The Department of Biology  is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences .

Deadline 15th September 2023
Employer NTNU – Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Gløshaugen, Trondheim

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