The Faculty of Technology, Natural Sciences and Maritime Sciences has a vacancy for a position as PhD Research Fellow in biological Lab-on-a-chip sensor and materials for saliva screening

The position is located at the Department of Microsystems (IMS) and the research fellow reports to the Head of Department. The place of employment is Vestfold.

The fellowship will be included in the project research group for RFF Oslofjordfondet KOLS (kronisk obstruktiv lungesykdom) project.

The employment period will be three years of full time with no teaching obligations, and there is a premise for employment that the PhD-fellow is enrolled in USN’s PhD-program in Applied Micro- and Nanosystems within three months of accession in the position.

About the PhD-project

Approximately 65 million people worldwide suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD). It has been estimated that it will be the third most common cause of death globally from 2020. About 30000 – 40000 new cases are diagnosed each year in Norway. Research has shown that biomarkers in saliva can predict COPD exacerbations 2 – 3 days before they occur.

The goal of IMS is to develop a lab-on-a-chip (LOC) sensor that can detect biomarkers in real patient’s saliva with high sensitivity. The LOC solution includes principles of biological microsystems-BioMEMS, molecular biology for bioreceptors, and inorganic electrochemistry for sensitive electrodes. The PhD candidate will conduct thesis work under supervision of a multidisciplinary team of professors with experience on LOC technology, biological sensors, and on electrochemical characterization and materials.

The outcome of the PhD project is to achieve sensitive analysis of 3 salivary biomarkers that can predict worsening of COPD disease. The research work of the candidate may be integrated in a hand-held analyzer in the future. It is to be used by municipal health services for maintaining a stable phase for the COPD diagnosed patients.

Besides participating to the work of LOC sensor development, the PhD work may also involve a set of biological tests with saliva samples from patients recruited in the municipalities. Statistical treatment of data would thus be required.

IMS is partner of a large-scale research project funded by RFF Oslofjordfondet that aims to develop a novel sensing technology for salivary biomarkers. In the long term, the project attempts to contribute for the reduction of hospital admissions from COPD exacerbations by early-stage detection, but also by giving patients more control over their own health.


Applicants to the PhD position must have a Master’s degree or equivalent higher education qualifications in microsystems engineering, biological engineering, chemical engineering or closely related subjects.The applicant must have gained the degree within commencement date.

It is a requirement that the successful applicant is granted admission to the university’s doctoral program in Applied Micro- and Nanosystems within three months of accession in the position, which requires an average grade B from Master’s degree, in addition to grade B at the final master project.

Applications from candidates that have completed the PhD degree will not be considered.

Co-operation between staff members is an integrated part of the working atmosphere at the University of South-Eastern Norway. The candidate must be motivated and demonstrate a proven ability to work effectively within a team and in a collegiate manner to formulate and realize common objectives.

Personal suitability for the position will be emphasized.

We are seeking a PhD candidate with good understanding of lab-on-chips and electrochemical sensors. Ability and experience to perform experimental work using fundamentals of molecular biology and/or synthesis/use of inorganic materials is necessary. Experience with relevant CAD tools for prototyping and with statistics software is an advantage.

Candidates should be independent and responsible, have strong analytic and creative skills, possess good communication capabilities including English writing skills, and be capable of working in a multidisciplinary research environment.

We offer

  • A professionally stimulating working environment
  • Good opportunities to develop your career and your academic skills
  • A good social environment
  • Attractive welfare benefits in the State Pension Plan


PhD Research Fellow (code 1017): NOK 479 600 a year. Further promotion will be based on time served in the position.

In special cases, employment in code 1378 (NOK 436 900 – 600 200 a year) may be considered.

A statutory contribution to the state pension plan will be deducted from the employee’s salary.

Other information

Appointment to the position will be carried out by The Appointment Board for PhD Research Fellows. An expert assessment of applicants will be carried out. Short-listed candidates will be called in for interviews and must be prepared to present and discuss their projects.

The successful applicant must comply with the law, regulations and agreements that apply to the position.

According to its human resources policy, the University of South-Eastern Norway targets a balanced gender composition and aims to recruit persons with a background as an immigrant.

As an equal opportunities employer we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.

The Department has few women/men appointed in scientific positions, and women/men are therefore particularly encouraged to apply.

Pursuant to section 25, 2nd paragraph of the Freedom of Information Act, information on the applicant may be disclosed even if the applicant has requested not be included on the list of applicants. Applicants will be notified if such requests are not allowed.

Contact information

For more information about the position, please contact:
Professor Tao Dong, email/phone: tao.dong@usn.no / +47 968 22 443 at Department of Microsystems

For questions regarding the recruitment process, please contact:
HR Advisor Kari L. Foss-Pedersen, email: kari.foss-pedersen@usn.no 

How to apply

The University of South-Eastern Norway makes use of online application management. Applicants to the post must register their application and CV with enclosures online via the Jobbnorge recruitment portal by clicking on the link on the right-hand side –  “Søk stillingen” (Apply for the post).

The following documents shall be attached to the online application:

  • Motivation letter stating competences and experiences to the advertised project
  • Certified diplomas and certificates from university college/university
  • Master’s thesis
  • Any scientific publications and a list of these
  • References (contact information)

Please note that all documents must be in a Scandinavian language or in English. Any translations must be certified.

Each applicant is responsible for ensuring that the required documentation has been uploaded with the application.


8th August 2021


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