Faculty of Humanities, History, Culture and Communication Studies

The University of Oulu is a multidisciplinary, international research university, with about 3,600 employees who produce new knowledge based on high-standards research and provide research based education to build a more sustainable, smarter, and more humane world. The University of Oulu community has about 17,000 people in total. Our northern scientific community operates globally and creates conditions for the emergence of innovations.  

We are now looking for

Doctoral Researcher

to join us in the University of Oulu’s Faculty of Humanities, Unit of History, Culture and Communications.

The full-time three-year Doctoral Researcher position will be associated with the European Commission’s Horizon Europe-funded ICEBERG “Innovative community engagement for building effective resilience and Arctic Ocean pollution-control governance in the context of climate change” project (2024-2026). The ICEBERG project is led by the University of Oulu (Lead Coordinator).

The faculty and research group

This doctoral researcher position is based within the Cultural Anthropology programme, which combines cutting-edge expertise of human-environment interactions, transdisciplinary environmental social sciences, cultural and environmental anthropology, political ecology and conservation.

As a full-time doctoral researcher at the University of Oulu, you will work towards writing a doctoral thesis (article-based thesis) in the discipline of Cultural Anthropology. While the degree will be awarded in Cultural Anthropology, the overall approach of the project and research will be interdisciplinary and will draw on and contribute to debates in sister fields of environmental geography, environmental social sciences, and environmental sociology.

Located on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia in Northern Finland with over 13,500 students and over 3,500 employees, the University of Oulu is one of the Nordic countries’ largest universities and a global leader in studies of Arctic environments and peoples. The research unit of History, Culture and Communications combines cutting-edge expertise of cultural anthropology, archaeology, history, information studies, and the history of science and ideas.

The ICEBERG project

The ICEBERG consortium is composed of 16 European beneficiaries from nine countries (Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain). ICEBERG has a two-fold aim: to comprehensively assess sources, types, distributions, and impacts of pollution in combination with climate-induced stressors on ecosystems and communities in the European Arctic's land-ocean continuum using a One Health approach, and to develop strategies for enhancing community-led resilience, and pollution-control governance. ICEBERG focusses on western Svalbard, southern Greenland, and northern Iceland, investigating known and emerging pollutants (macro-, micro, nanoplastics, ship emissions, wastewater, POPs, and heavy metals). Using simulations, remote sensing, and in-situ observations, ICEBERG studies the effects of pollution (from Arctic ship traffic, freshwater discharge/cryosphere meltwater, wastewater, land-based atmospheric pollution) on the marine food web. It also analyzes chemical contaminants in the food chain to understand the combined effects of Climate Change and pollution on human health. The project evaluates the impact of micro- and nano-plastics and persistent organic pollutants on human health. ICEBERG develops automatic marine litter detection tools with drones, AI, and citizen science. It emphasizes multi-stakeholder and gender-based approaches to assess the impact, risks, and vulnerabilities on Indigenous and local communities and co-design local pollution-control strategies, which includes both mitigation (reducing pollution) and adaptation (reducing vulnerability to pollution), through scenario modeling. The project creates innovative governance approaches for pollution control in the Arctic.

Job description

We are looking for a talented and highly motivated research-oriented candidate interested in topics relevant to this project. Potential research areas might include (but are not limited to) the following directions:

  • Human-environment relations
  • Community-based environmental monitoring and Citizen Science
  • Global change effects on Arctic marine-coastal socio-ecosystems
  • Biodiversity, health and well-being

You are very welcome to propose any research topic of relevance to the intersection of biodiversity and citizen science with other issues related to sustainability, climate and environmental changes, and the Anthropocene.

As a doctoral researcher, you primary tasks will be to:

  • carry out ethnographic-related fieldwork in Greenland and Iceland, and analyse qualitative and quantitative data
  • write scientific papers for peer-reviewed publications
  • participate to the reporting and communication of ICEBERG project
  • complete the doctoral educational programme
  • complete your doctoral thesis within three years.

You will be jointly supervised by Dr Thora Herrmann, Professor in socio-environmental sustainability at the University of Oulu and project leader, and Dr Élise Lépy, Docent in Arctic human-environment relationships and environmental change at the University of Oulu, project manager and researcher. You will benefit from the ICEBERG consortium’s extensive network of researcher and practitioner contacts, as well as from the intellectual richness of the Cultural Anthropology programme, and you will have a unique opportunity to produce original work within a new and dynamically growing research area in the Arctic. You will be trained across various methodologies of citizen science, environmental geography, ethnology and cultural geography field research, arts-based methods and will be able to collaborate with several research groups. You will disseminate research results in high-ranking publications, at international conferences, in the media.

Other duties, if of interest and appropriate, may include teaching on undergraduate courses (approximately 5% of the total 1612 working hours per year), supervising Master’s theses and participating in student-related administrative tasks of the university and/or unit.

What we offer?

  • The support of an experienced and enthusiastic team of people where you can share your expertise and grow as an expert.
  • Wellness benefit ePassi covering sport, culture and well-being. Read more about other staff benefits.
  • Development and career options of the big organization.
  • Work that matters and a workplace that promotes flexibility and work-life balance. Read more about working with us.
  • Our Buddy Programme and Spouse Network support you and close-ones in settling into Oulu.
  • We have a HR Excellence in Research -quality label which is a recognition awarded by the European Commission for the development of researchers’ working conditions and careers.
  • Finland is one of the most livable countries in the world, with a high quality of life, safety, excellent education system, and competitive economy. Read more about living in Oulu.

Who are you?

We expect from you:

  • A Master’s degree (or other applicable Master's degree) completed with very good/excellent grades in anthropology, geography, environmental humanities, or related field in humanities and social sciences.
  • Strong knowledge in quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and experience conducting and analysing semi-structured interviews
  • Willingness to travel to remote locations for extended periods
  • Strong communication skills, very good oral and written English language skills

In addition, we appreciate:

  • Experience with participatory research and/or citizen science
  • Experience in spatial data analysis: cartography and GIS
  • High self-motivation and ability to manage multiple tasks and to work efficiently
  • Ability to work both independently and in a group with people from various academic and cultural backgrounds.

See also the requirements of the University of Oulu Graduate School (UniOGS), which you have to meet. 

Preference will be given to candidates with previous experience in northern and Arctic communities.


The position is fixed term for 3 years beginning on 01.01.2024 or as soon as possible thereafter and ending latest on 31.12.2026.

The salary of the selected doctoral researcher will be in accordance with the standard Finnish university salary system for teaching and research personnel at the level 2-4. A salary component based on personal work performance will be paid (maximum of 50% of the job-specific component). The starting gross salary will be approximately 2300-2600€ per month (before taxes). A trial period of 6 months is applied in the position.

How to apply?

Interested? If yes, please apply by 22.11.2023 (23:59 Finnish local time) through our recruitment system.

The application should be written in English and include the following:

  • 1) A motivation letter (max. 1 page) summarizing your professional experience and expertise and describing why you are interested in this position. Information on personal research interests and future career plans can also be provided here.
  • 2) A tentative research proposal (max. 3 pages) presenting your proposed research idea, estimated timescale, relevant methodologies and theories, and how this is related to the core ideas of the above-described project.
  • 3) A writing sample (max. 10 pages) in English of your academic work (e.g. published or draft article, excerpt from your M.A. thesis, etc.)
  • 4) Curriculum vitae (max. 2 pages) in accordance with the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity
  • 5) Certificates/Diplomas: Scanned copy of your Master’s and Bachelor’s diploma and transcript, officially translated to either Finnish or English (if originally in another language).
  • 6) Contact information of two senior/experienced researchers who may be asked to give a personal statement about you (note that these will only be requested if you are shortlisted for this position).

Only applications containing all relevant appendices and submitted through the online recruitment system will be considered. The top candidates will be invited to an on-site or online interview. All applicants will be notified at the various stages of the selection process, including once it has been completed.

We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, such as people of different ages, genders and lingual, cultural or minority groups.

Contact Information

If you have any further questions, please contact Prof Thora Herrmann (thora.herrmann@oulu.fi) or Dr Élise Lépy (elise.lepy@oulu.fi ).

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 01.01.2024
Salary The starting gross salary will be approximately 2300-2600€ per month (before taxes).
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100 %
City Oulu
County Pohjois-Pohjanmaa
Country Finland
Reference number 2023/538
  • Thora Herrmann, thora.herrmann@oulu.fi
  • Élise Lépy, elise.lepy@oulu.fi
Published 20.Oct.2023
Last application date 22.Nov.2023

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