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PhD Research Fellowship in Social Anthropology

University of Oslo - Joint PhD degree with Aarhus University

The University of Oslo, in collaboration with Aarhus University, invites applications for a fully-funded 3-year PhD fellowship, related to the Anthropology of Human Security, Health and Enviroment in Africa, starting on January 2nd 2024.


The University of Oslo and Aarhus University are founding participants of the collaborative project ANTHUSIA: Anthropology of Human Security in Africa. ANTHUSIA originated as a multi-disciplinary research and training project conducted by a consortium of four universities in Aarhus (Denmark), Edinburgh (United Kingdom), Leuven (Belgium) and Oslo (Norway) with funding from the EU MSCA programme. The consortium draws together academics, practitioners and activists interested in human security, defined broadly, in Africa. Between 2018 and 2022, ANTHUSIA funded PhD fellows to conduct anthropological field research on phenomena such as emerging health and environmental issues, the expansion of young populations and marginalisation of elderly, processes of urbanisation and unequally distributed growth, recurring conflicts and population displacement.

Over five years, the research network has built an academically stimulating and interdisciplinary research environment that allows PhD fellows to obtain specialist knowledge on a specific research topic as well as transferable skills that can be employed in non-academic institutions and to build scholarly networks across Europe, Africa and beyond. Two new PhD positions in Oslo and Aarhus offer salary, as well as funding for fieldwork, conference participation and dissemination, books and equipment.

About the position

As part of ANTHUSIA, the University of Oslo invites applications for a joint PhD fellowship, hosted by the University of Oslo as primary University, and the University of Aarhus as secondary University, where the student will spend one semester during their PhD. The PhD fellow will work in the field of medical and environmental anthropology - fields in which the two universities have mutual strengths and can offer excellent research environments (see, e.g., Anthrotox, AnthEM, OSEH). They will be supervised by Wenzel Geissler with a co-supervisor at the University of Aarhus. The position will be twinned with an equivalent PhD fellowship with the University of Aarhus as primary university and the University of Oslo as secondary university. The two PhD students will collaborate and each spend one semester of six at their respective secondary university.

Oslo and Aarhus universities are equal opportunity employers and strive for diversity among PhDs. We encourage candidates from all continents to apply. 

We invite applicants to develop PhD projects on the anthropology of human security in Africa in a broad sense. In particular, we encourage projects that innovatively connect health challenges (e.g., epidemics of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, malnutrition, mental health and child development issues; emerging viral diseases in humans and animals; or re-emerging infectious diseases like malaria and sleeping sickness), and changing natural environments (shaped by e.g. toxic pollution of air, water, soil or food; urbanization, industry, mining and farming; or changing vegetation and biodiversity, rainfall, and temperatures). Examples for such human-made environment-disease constellations could be as diverse as: insecticides in agriculture or disease control; extractive industries or air pollution, antibiotic resistance or the spread of disease vectors.

Qualification requirements
  • Applicants are free to propose a  particular issue, environmental-epidemiological and political-economic situation, as well as the proposed study site in Sub-saharan Africa, bearing in mind feasibility, and the applicant’s prior experience. 
  • Project proposals will be evaluated regarding their innovative potential, real-world relevance and, not least, potential to contribute substantially to on-going debates and theoretical developments in the discipline of anthropology.
  • Applicants are encouraged to reflect on forms of academic communication beyond academic articles and books, as well as public engagement, policy input and activist collaboration in the societies where the research is conducted.
  • Write a maximum of 5 A4 pages of 2400 characters per page (total 12.000 characters) and use the following structure in your proposal:
    • Introduction/background
    • Research questions and study objectives
    • Theory
    • Methodology (incl. ethics)
    • Work schedule
  • Please include a separate reference list with up-to-date literature on the chosen topic (max 2 A4 pages, which do not count towards the proposal page number).
  • Applicants must hold a Master’s degree or equivalent (120 ECTS) in social anthropology; degrees in related disciplines (e.g. geography, history, STS, archaeology or environmental humanities) can be considered.
  • The minimum grade on the thesis should be B (ECTS grading scale) or equivalent. The Master’s degree must include a thesis of at least 30 ECTS or equivalent.  
  • Candidates who are waiting to be examined on their final Master’s degree, must have submitted their thesis at the time of the application deadline and can be offered the position conditional upon successful examination at B grade or above.
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English; relevant African languages are an advantage.

The PhD candidates are required to spend time at each university, have a supervisor at each institution and will receive a single joint degree/ double degree signed by both universities. Their research project will be subject to an evaluation meeting according to the standards of both the University of Oslo and Aarhus University, and format of the evaluation will be a public defence.

The details regarding time spent at each university, supervision, evaluation as well as other legal matters will be specified in a contract prior to the start of the PhD project.

We encourage applicants who have African language skills and relevant experience outside the academy.

We offer
  • Salary according to “SKO 1017 PhD Fellow “, payrate NOK 532 200 – 575 400 per annum depending on qualifications
  • Funds for research, travel, conference participation and dissemination, books and equipment
  • A stimulating and international research environment
  • A friendly and inclusive workplace allowing for a good work-life balance
  • Access to Norway’s excellent public services and welfare schemes, including generous parental leave provisions and affordable and accessible childcare (including the university`s kindergartens)
  • Norway’s capital with its rich cultural life and easy access to beautiful nature
  • Practical support for international staff moving to Norway (international staff may also benefit from tax cuts in their first years)
How to apply

The application must include:

  • A cover letter (statement of motivation and research interests, 1-2 pages)
  • CV (including a complete list of education with grades, positions, pedagogical and administrative experience, publications and other qualifying activities)
  • Research plan (maximum 5 pages or 12000 characters) outlining how the candidate envisages completing the proposed work during the course of the term of appointment.
  • A reference list on the chosen topic (maximum 2 pages).
  • A list of publications and academic work (if applicable)
  • A list of reference persons: 3 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and phone number)
  • Copies of educational certificates (academic transcripts only).

The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system Jobbnorge with in October 1st 2023, please follow the link “send application”. International applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University's grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English (or a Scandinavian language).  The successfull applicants will be called in for an interview.

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Research Fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo.

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.

The appointment may be shortened/given a more limited scope within the framework of the applicable guidelines on account of any previous employment in academic positions.

The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results etc.

Inclusion and diversity are a strength. The University of Oslo has a personnel policy objective of achieving a balanced gender composition. Furthermore, we want employees with diverse professional expertise, life experience and perspectives.

Contact information

Paul Wenzel Geissler, project leader UiO,

Lotte Meinert, project leader AU,

Rune Flikke, Head of department,

About the University of Oslo 

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest ranked educational and research institution, with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. With its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally recognised research communities, UiO is an important contributor to society.

The Department of Social Anthropology The Department of Social Anthropology was founded in 1964 and is today a highly ranked anthropology department. Our researchers study society and culture through extensive, ethnographic fieldwork. The Department of Social Anthropology educates students at bachelor's-, master's and ph. d.-level.

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Oslo - Norway
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: NOK532,200 to NOK575,400
£38,434.42 to £41,554.24 converted salary* per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 2nd June 2023
Closes: 1st October 2023
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