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PhD scholarship within applied ecology

How can we develop and generate wind energy without losing wildlife (bats)?

NMBUÅs15. november 2023
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Dr. Katrine Eldegard



Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA) at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant 3-year PhD position in Applied Ecology: Bats and wind turbines – developing an evidence base for reducing renewable energy-biodiversity conflicts.

There is an urgent need to shift to renewable energy generation. But this transition currently poses significant risks to wildlife, and these must be addressed before renewable energy can be considered truly sustainable.

Many studies from other European countries and North America have established that wind turbines can have negative impacts on bats and birds. It is common practice in many countries to conduct environmental impact assessments to assess the risk of adverse effects on bats before building new wind turbines. However, such pre-construction assessments often have low accuracy with respect to predicting impacts on bats. Post-construction monitoring is necessary to evaluate the risk a given wind turbine or wind farm may have toward causing bat fatalities. There is a need for more science-based knowledge to develop better methods for assessing and predicting impacts on wind turbines on bats, which can inform evidence-based decisions on the placement, configuration, and operation of wind turbines.

Norway is home to nearly 1400 wind turbines that account for approximately 10% of the annual energy production in the country. The Norwegian government aims to increase the wind energy production. Impacts of wind turbines on bats in Norway are understudied, and potential risks of adverse effects on bats are not regularly included in current environmental impact assessments or post-construction monitoring programmes.

The PhD position will be part of a larger research project: “Impacts of wind turbines on flying nocturnal wildlife” funded by the Research Council of Norway. The project will (i) study the effects of wind turbines on spatial distribution and movements of bats and eagle owls; (ii) explain relationships between activity and behaviour in time and space, and food availability, weather conditions, and the location of the wind turbines in the landscape; and (iii) map expected future activity and risks near wind turbines. The project is led by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), with collaborating partners from Ecofact AS, Norsk Vind AS, the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), the Norwegian Environment Agency (Miljødirektoratet), and University of Sussex, UK. The project results will inform decisions on the placement, configuration, and operation of wind turbines, as well as licensing and regulation.

The core project team consists of applied ecologists and bat biologists with experience from bats and wind farm studies in the UK, the US, and Norway. The PhD candidate will be included in a strong scientific working environment within applied and quantitative ecology at MINA.

The applicant is made aware that an application for a PhD position at NMBU is at the same time an application for admission to a PhD programme at the institution. The documentation that is necessary to ensure that the admission requirements are met must be uploaded as an attachment.

Main tasks

The PhD student’s tasks will include:

  • Planning, preparing and executing fieldwork studies
  • Screening and preparation of acoustic and other ecological data
  • Statistical analyses and writing scientific papers
  • Collaboration with other team members and collaborating partners

The PhD student will be involved in study design and development of specific research questions.

The successful candidate is expected to enter a plan for the progress of the work towards a PhD degree during the first months of the appointment, with a view to completing a doctorate within the PhD scholarship period.


The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD programme at NMBU. The applicant must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year master’s degree, with a learning outcome corresponding to the descriptions in the Norwegian Qualification Framework, second cycle. The applicant must have a documented strong academic background from previous studies and be able to document proficiency in both written and oral English. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD Regulations and the relevant PhD programme description.

The applicant must document expertise and interest in the research subject.

Required Academic qualifications

  • Master´s degree within a relevant scientific field, such as basic/applied ecology, conservation biology, wildlife biology or wildlife management
  • Ability to perform laboratory and field work

Preference will be given to candidates with some or all of the following:

  • Experience with conducting independent field work
  • Experience with bioacoustical analysis
  • Strong scientific capacity and analytical skills
  • Technical and computer skills
  • Good social and collaboration skills
  • Flexibility with respect to work tasks
  • Creativity and ability to find solutions to practical problems

You need to have:

  • The ability to reach remote research locations and to deploy monitoring equipment there.

We support equality and diversity in research. When recruiting new lab members, including PhD students, we welcome all candidates and value the benefits of a team composed of people with a broad range of abilities, experiences, and backgrounds. We expect all team members to contribute toward a work environment that fosters inclusion, accessibility, and ease of collaboration.

Remuneration and further information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD. Fellow. PhD. Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 532.200,-) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

Employment is conducted according to national guidelines for University and Technical College PhD scholars.

For further information, please contact Dr. Katrine Eldegard (professor). E-mail: katrine.eldegard@nmbu.no; phone +47 99163592

Information for PhD applicants and general Information to applicants


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 15.11.2023

Your CV must be entered in JobbNorge's CV form and not just included as an attachment. This is to be able to comply with the regulations of §15 of the Public Administration Act.

In the application, the candidate must confirm that information and documentation (in the form of attachments) submitted via the job application can also be used by NMBU in a possible admission process.

Applicants invited for an interview are expected to present original diplomas and certificates.

The following documents must be attached to the application:

  • Motivation letter (maximum 1 page)
  • Complete CV
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and certificates. (i.e. Diploma, transcript. Diploma supplement for both bachelor and master). Diplomas, transcripts and diploma supplements that are not in Norwegian or English must be uploaded in the original language. An English translation of these documents must also be attached.
  • Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement, or a similar document, which describes in detail the study program and grading system.
  • Documentation of proficiency in written and oral English in accordance with NMBU PhD regulation section 5-2 (3).
  • Names and contact details for two references
  • Additional relevant documentation of professional knowledge (for example, list of scientific works). If it is difficult to judge the applicant’s contribution for publications with multiple authors, a short description of the applicant’s contribution must be included.

About The Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management

The Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management (MINA) works with nature and the environment, sustainable use of natural resources, biological and geological processes.

MINA’s employees undertake teaching, research and dissemination within the fields of geology, hydrology and limnology, soil science, environmental chemistry, forestry, ecology, natural resource management, renewable energy, and nature-based tourism.

Our vision is to be a key actor in knowledge production and dissemination, and our goal is to deliver research of high, international quality, and varied and excellent teaching. The faculty’s employees are significant participants within their respective fields of expertise, both nationally and internationally. The faculty is dominated by a vital research culture and high levels of scientific production.

The faculty has about 200 employees, 90 PhD students and 650 students.

Read more about MINA here.


Frist15. november 2023


Dr. Katrine Eldegard



Fast ansettelse,Hybrid


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The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

NMBU will contribute to securing the future of life through outstanding research, education, communication and innovation. We have the country's most satisfied university students, who receive research-based education in a unique student environment. Our graduates gain a high level of competence in interdisciplinary collaboration and are popular in the labor market. NMBU has internationally leading research environments in several subjects. Together with our partners in society and business, we contribute to solving some of the biggest societal challenges of our time.

We focus on innovation, communication and entrepreneurship because we believe these challenges are best solved with joint efforts. We believe that a good working environment is characterized by diversity.If necessary, workplace adaptations will be made for persons with disabilities. More information about NMBU is available at www.nmbu.no/en