Faculty of Humanities, History, Culture and Communication Studies

The University of Oulu is one of the biggest and most multidisciplinary universities in Finland. We create new knowledge and innovations that help to solve global challenges. We offer you an international and inspiring working environment where you are given responsibility and can use your skills, develop yourself and do work that matters. Our flexible and family-friendly workplace makes it easy for you to balance work and leisure. The University of Oulu is ranked in the top 3% of the world´s universities.

We are now looking for a

Postdoctoral Researcher

to join the University of Oulu’s Faculty of Humanities, Unit of History, Culture and Communications. The Postdoctoral Researcher will be based in a large, international consortium project funded by Biodiversa+, the European Biodiversity Partnership supporting excellent research on biodiversity with an impact for society and policy. The project seeks to develop a novel transdisciplinary, transboundary and transgenerational approach to biodiversity monitoring. Led by a consortium of leading European anthropologists, geographers, conservation biologists and plant ecologists, the project's core aim is to work towards reversing the biodiversity crisis by mapping out spatial and temporal histories of biodiversity loss and by generating and documenting knowledge about these connections to the main drivers of global change. The University of Oulu's component of this project involves collaborative social scientific research comprised of qualitative data collection and analysis, stakeholder engagement, and methodological innovation. It is situated across the disciplines of anthropology and geography, and also brings in environmental social science and environmental humanities perspectives. The project's qualitative research is led by Dr Roger Norum and Dr Jonathan Carruthers-Jones at the University of Oulu. The length of this project-based postdoctoral position is fixed term for 36 months and cannot be extended beyond March 2027.

This project benefits from a close affiliation to Biodiverse Anthropocenes, a research programme of the University of Oulu supported by the Academy of Finland PROFI6 funding (2021-2026). This innovative, transdisciplinary initiative brings together scholars from across the social and natural sciences to collaboratively investigate the biodiversity loss currently threatening multi-species well-being and planetary sustainability, and to generate future-oriented solutions around the planet. The postdoctoral researcher will be encouraged to become a core member of Biodiverse Anthropocenes and take part in the programme’s exciting calendar of interdisciplinary activities and events.

Located on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia in Northern Finland with 13,900 students and 3,800 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 archaeology, cultural anthropology, information studies, history, and the history of science and ideas.


About the job

You will become part of the transdisciplinary EU-funded project MOTIVATE that investigates biodiversity monitoring through qualitative and quantitative methods. Monitoring biodiversity status and trends in change is at the heart of EU environmental legislation, and this new project engages with a highly successful, community-owned biodiversity monitoring initiative, ReSurveyEurope. This programme has been put in place for monitoring the change in extent and quality of more than 230 habitat types, together with the status and trends of the more than 1,000 Annex species identified by the Habitats Directive (HD) as depending on these habitats. A core goal of the MOTIVATE project is to establish and encourage practices of knowledge exchange among diverse stakeholders in order to understand how biodiversity data can be integrated with broader stakeholder perceptions. This will improve how environmental and biodiversity data is used and put into practice by decision-makers at local, municipal, state, and international levels of policymaking.

The project aligns quantitative data about vegetation and landscape in European terrestrial and aquatic habitats with innovative, human-focused qualitative data collection methods in order to generate knowledge and sustainable practices about biodiversity. The project consortium has partners in Vienna, Bologna, Rome, Oveido, Brno, Halle, and Oulu. Field research will be carried out in Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, and the Balkans, as well as additional countries as needed. The postdoctoral researcher will design and carry out ethnographic research involving walking field interviews that aim towards knowledge exchange and capacity building, alongside participatory workshops among stakeholders in case study sites. The researcher will also interact with other MOTIVATE project team members in order to bring together qualitative and quantitative data in analysis.

For this position we are looking to recruit a talented and highly motivated research-oriented person interested in biodiversity loss, human-environmental relations, qualitative methods, and landscape. Agricultural histories and futures have become increasingly topical in the context of changing climate, biodiversity loss, and resource exploitation in Europe and globally. Dr. Norum and Dr. Carruthers-Jones and the team have engaged with human-environmental relations extensively and from multiple perspectives, and the postdoctoral researcher will benefit from the team’s experience and contact networks, as well as from the community of scholars in the Biodiverse Anthropocenes programme. You will thus have a unique opportunity to produce original work within a new and dynamically growing research area. You are encouraged to take a transdisciplinary approach across, between and beyond different disciplines.

Working with the established group of scholars and engaged stakeholders across Europe on the MOTIVATE project, the postdoctoral researcher's primary roles will be to:

  • Design and carry out qualitative interviews and survey questionnaires in key project research sites in Europe.
  • Convene participatory workshops with stakeholders.
  • Analyze collected quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Disseminate research results in publications and at workshops and conferences.
  • Engage in knowledge exchange activities with team, Faculty and programme members.
  • Participate in outreach initiatives with both academic and non-academic publics.
  • Organize logistical and administrative aspects of the project, including facilitating project meetings, convening exchanges with visiting scholars, and assisting with project reporting.
  • Take part in teaching or supervisory activities, subject to your particular teaching/research capabilities and interests, and to faculty needs (max 5% of the total 1612 working hours per year).
  • Carry out other relevant support functions.


What we offer?

  • Supportive and transparent research environment in which your work is valued and your contribution is recognized.
  • A world-class research environment in a multinational, high ranking research group working to solve globally significant scientific and environmental challenges.
  • A lively community of committed scholars in an innovative and internationally focused programme keen on generating new research ideas.
  • You will be supported to author and co-author academic papers, and you will be encouraged to attend and present at key academic conferences (funding dependent).


Benefits of working at the University and in Finland include:

  • A competitive salary paid monthly, which includes paid leave and an additional holiday bonus in the summer.
  • You will receive university occupational health insurance. The Finnish government also provides benefits to residents and their families, for example access to the national healthcare system and high-quality, affordable childcare and school services.
  • Wellness benefit ePassi covering sport, culture and well-being. Read more about other staff benefits here.
  • Our Buddy Programme and Spouse Network support you and family members 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.
  • Work that matters and a workplace that promotes flexibility and work-life balance. Read more about working with us.
  • 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?

In order to succeed in and enjoy the position, we would expect from you:

  • An applicable Doctoral degree in a relevant field (anthropology, geography, archaeology, ecology, conservation biology, environmental humanities, or a related field) that has been awarded not more than ten years ago.
  • An interest in (and ideally experience with) issues related to landscape, biodiversity, and qualitative research methods.
  • High motivation, efficiency, self-organization; independence, and the ability to work in a group.
  • An experience in qualitative social scientific research, in particular interdisciplinary work.
  • Excellent written and interpersonal communication skills in English.

We also appreciate:

  • A transdisciplinary research orientation, with work anchored in multiple approaches from across the social, natural sciences and/or humanities.
  • Interest in working with creative research methods, including those involving sensory (e.g. visual, acoustic, tactile) components.
  • Capacity to collaborate in research and research dissemination activities.
  • Proficiency in one or more European languages related to the project (e.g. German, Italian, Spanish, Czech, Finnish) is an advantage, but not a requirement.



The position is fixed-term for 36 months beginning on 01.04.2024 or as soon as possible thereafter and ending on 31.03.2027.

The salary will be based on the levels 5-6 of the demand level chart for teaching and research staff of Finnish universities. In addition, a salary component based on personal work performance will be paid (maximum of 50 % of the job-specific component). Starting gross salary will be approx. 3600-4200 € per month (before taxes).

A trial period of 6 months is applied in the position.

How to apply?

Interested? If yes, please apply by Monday, 29 January 2024 (23:59 Finnish local time) through our recruitment system.

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

  1. CV, following the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity if possible (max 4 pages).
  2. Cover letter in which you address both your interest in the position and project, as well as how your expertise and skills are suited to the project's required tasks (max 2 pages).
  3. A PDF of one relevant published work, for example a peer-reviewed article or book chapter, report, or chapter from your doctoral thesis.
  4. List of all publications, following the guidelines of the Academy of Finland if possible.
  5. Certificate/Diploma: a scanned copy of the original doctoral degree certificate.
  6. Contact details of 2 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).

The eligible applicants fitting best in the profile expected for the position will be invited to an on-site or remote interview. All applicants will be notified during the selection process.

We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, including people of different ages, genders and members of different language, cultural or minority groups.

Contact Information

If you have any further questions about this position or the MOTIVATE project, please contact Dr. Roger Norum (roger.norum@oulu.fi).

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Oulu
County Pohjois-Pohjanmaa
Country Finland
Reference number 2023/537
  • Roger Norum, 0503505630
Published 11.Dec.2023
Last application date 29.Jan.2024

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