Postdoctoral fellow in space physics/atmospheric electricity

The University of Bergen (UiB) is an internationally recognised research university with more than 14,000 students and close to 3,500 employees at six faculties. The university is located in the heart of Bergen. Our main contribution to society is excellent basic research and education across a wide range of disciplines.


Closing date for applications: 15 September 2016

There is a vacancy for a postdoctoral fellow in space physics/atmospheric electricity at the Department of Physics and Technology. The position is for a period of 3 years and the successful candidate will be part of the Birkeland Centre for Space Science (BCSS), which is a Centre of Excellence.


About the project/work tasks

BCSS started 1 March 2013 with funding for 5 years, but following a positive mid-term evaluation, BCSS may receive additional funding for 5 more years.


BCSS is organized in two instrumentation groups, one education and public outreach group and four research groups, that will address the following questions:


Q1) When and why is the aurora in the two hemispheres asymmetric?

Q2) How do we get beyond the static large scale picture of the ionosphere?

Q3) What are the effects of particle precipitation on the atmospheric system?

Q4) What is the role of energetic particles from thunderstorms in geospace?


The postdoctoral fellow will be part of the Q4 group. The first 5 years this group is mainly funded and related to a European Research Council Advanced Grant project - TGF-MEPPA. This group explores how relativistic particles and gamma-rays are produced in the strong electric fields of thunderclouds, the so-called terrestrial gamma-ray flashes. Measurements of gamma-ray flashes, weather data, radio waves as well as modeling are used to understand and explain these phenomena. The instrumentation group of BCSS is developing instrumentation to measure terrestrial gamma-ray flashes from the international space station, from balloon and aircraft. We know that most of the energy from the relativistic particles will be deposited inside the thundercloud, but we do not know the effects on the atmosphere.


Qualifications and personal qualities:

  • The applicant must have completed a doctoral degree in atmospheric sciences, space physics, or a related field, or have submitted your doctoral thesis for evaluation before expiry of the application deadline. It is a requirement that the doctoral degree has been completed before the decision to appoint can be made.

  • The applicant must have good programming skills

  • The applicant must be able to work independently and in structured manner, and to demonstrate good collaboration skills.

  • The applicant must be proficient in both written and oral English

For this position we especially look for a candidate with one or more of the following expertise:


  • how thunderclouds form and electrify

  • how streamers and leaders form and propagatehow energetic particles deposit their energy in the atmosphere

  • familiar with models of the atmosphere in the relevant altitude range – 5-20 km

  • understanding of atmospheric chemistry in the same altitude range

  • familiar with earth observation satellite data retrieval techniques and analysis

  • The successful candidate should be familiar with data analysis and/or modeling and have a good theoretical understanding of one or more of these fields.


About the position as postdoctoral fellow:

The position of postdoctoral fellow is a fixed-term appointment with the primary objective of qualifying the appointee for work in top academic positions. The fixed-term period for this position is 3 years. Individuals may not be hired for more than one fixed-term period as a postdoctoral fellow at the same institution.


Upon appointment, applicants must submit a project proposal for the qualifying work. The project proposal must be prepared in cooperation with the project manager/supervisor and must also include a schedule. It is a requirement that the project is completed in the course of the period of employment.


We can offer:

  • a good and professionally challenging working environment

  • salary at pay grade 57 (Code 1352/Pay range 24, alternative 1) in the state salary scale. Further increase in salary will depend on seniority.
  • enrolment in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • a position in an inclusive workplace (IA enterprise)
  • good welfare benefits


Your application must include:

  • a brief account of the applicant's research interests and motivation for applying for the position

  • the names and contact information for two reference persons. One of these can be the the main advisor from the PhD programme.

  • CV

  • transcripts and diplomas and official confirmation that the doctoral thesis has been submitted

  • relevant certificates/references

  • list of any works of a scientific nature (publication list)

  • any publications in your name 

General information

Detailed information about the position can be obtained by contacting:

Professor Nikolai Østgaard, Department of Physics and Technology, tel. (+47) 55 58 27 94 / email:

The application and appendices with certified translations into English or a Scandinavian language must be uploaded at Jobbnorge.

For a complete description of application requirements as stated on Jobbnorge, read more here