Doctoral research fellow in Digital Criminology University of Oslo - Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law

Oslo, Norway fixed term full time

  • Contract Type: fixed term
  • Placed on: 12 May 2021
  • Closes: 14 Jun 2021
  • Job Ref: 205228

A position as PhD Research Fellow (SKO 1017) is available to undertake research as part of the project “The changing relationships between digital technologies, DNA and evidence” (Digital DNA). The project is funded by the European Research Council. The candidate will work closely together with project leader Mareile Kaufmann at the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law.

The fellowship runs for three years without teaching duties, or four years with teaching duties constituting 25 % of the overall workload. A four year fellowship requires that the candidate can contribute to the current teaching needs of the Faculty of Law.

More about the position

Digital DNA studies the changing relationships between digital technologies, DNA and evidence. It focuses on three developments in specific: (1) Hardware: It investigates how smaller and more mobile hardware influences the production of DNA evidence, and how DNA is used as hardware in computing. (2) Databases and analytic instruments: It studies how DNA databases and their algorithmic analysis influence the production of DNA evidence, and to what extent digital databases and algorithms are associated with evidence-based reasoning. (3) Information per se: It discusses how the ability to alter DNA influences the production of forensic evidence, and how DNA influences the concept of digital data.

The project has strong empirical components. In order to contribute to these, the candidate must have training in qualitative methods, as well as basic competences in sociological research on technology. Science and Technology Studies will be an important framework for studying these developments.

Together with Kaufmann, the candidate will work on developments (1) and (2) with a focus on the influence of digital hardware, databases and software on DNA evidence. Technologies studied in (1) could include hardware for 3D Forensic Facial Reconstruction or DNA sequencers for phenotyping at the crime scene. Developments studied in (2) would focus on the rise of public and private DNA databases and software used to analyze DNA. All studies take place in the UK and Norway. The candidate is not expected to have in-depth knowledge about these technologies from before. However, through interviews and fieldwork the candidate shall develop an understanding of how the technologies work and how they influence practices, opinions and results.

The candidate will get the chance to build an international network and participate in an exchange at Durham University. In the course of the project, the candidate will have the opportunity to meet key scholars in this field, who are part of the project’s Advisory Board.

The parts of the Digital DNA project description relevant to this position can be accessed here. Interested candidates are strongly advised to consult these before writing their project description.

Qualification requirements and other qualities
  • The applicant must hold a Master’s degree or a degree equivalent to the Master’s degree in Criminology or other Social Sciences. The candidate must be qualified to work theoretically and empirically in the described project. Admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Law requires the candidate to have grades in the upper level of the grading scale. This also applies to the master’s thesis.
  • The candidate must have training in qualitative methods, as well as basic competences in sociological research on technology.
  • The project language is English and the applicants should have an excellent command of the English language, written and spoken. A good command of a Scandinavian language is also an advantage, though not a condition. 
  • Applicants must be able to work independently and in a structured way. 
  • Applicants must have good collaboration skills and the ability to contribute to the development of the subject. 
  • Applicants must take an active part in the development of a good professional environment. 
  • Please read about the requirements for admission to the PhD program here
We offer
  • Salary based on salary NOK 482 200 – 526 000 per annum (position code 1017)
  • An inspiring, friendly and inclusive working environment 
  • Pension arrangement in the Norwegian Public Service Fund 
  • Welfare arrangements
How to apply

The application must include:

  • A cover letter describing the applicant’s qualifications and motivation for the position.
  • project description of 5-10 pages, explaining how they would take their research task in a 3 –year PhD project design. This includes a description of the theoretical background, the aims, methodologies with suggestions for informants or entry points for case studies, and reflections about potential ethical challenges. The proposal must clearly demonstrate how the research will contribute towards the case studies conducted in (1) and (2). A PhD thesis at the Faculty of Law can be a monograph or a collection of several scholarly articles. The applicant should present a publication strategy for the research done within the project. To ensure exchange throughout the project, an article-based thesis is encouraged.
  • CV (complete overview of education, practice and academic works). 
  • Copies of diplomas with all grades included in the degree and certificates (if the original language of diplomas/certificates is not English or a Scandinavian language, an English language translation must be provided in addition to a copy of the original). Foreign diplomas must include an official documentation about the grading system together with the official grading scale. 
  • If available: A complete publication list.
  • Up to three academic works that the applicant wishes to be considered. If work is written by several authors, the division of work between them must be documented with the co-author's declaration.
  • Names and contact details for at least two reference persons

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

The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system, please follow the link “apply for this job”.

The tentative starting date is fall 2021.

Evaluation of the applicant
  • In the evaluation of candidates, emphasis will be placed on the candidate’s academic achievements, previous relevant publications, the project description, and the applicant’s professional and personal qualifications, particularly in relation to their ability to perform the proposed project within the allotted time.
  • Short-listed applicants will be invited for an interview with the University of Oslo, personally or through electronic means.
  • The candidates are evaluated by a hiring committee, which ranks the candidates based on the criteria indicated above and conducts interviews with short-listed candidates. In a few cases a dedicated interview committee will be formed. 
  • The faculty’s hiring commission will take a final decision about the hiring of the candidate.
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 and 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 University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results.

The University of Oslo aims for its employees to reflect the diversity of the population to the greatest degree possible. The University of Oslo has a personnel policy objective of achieving a balanced gender composition and to recruit people with an immigrant background. We encourage qualified applicants with disabilities to apply for the position. The University of Oslo will adapt the workplace to suit employees with disabilities.

Contact information

For questions concerning content: Project leader Mareile Kaufmann, e post:

For administrative questions: HR-officer Siri Martenson,

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 Criminology and Sociology of Law is situated at the Faculty of Law. The Department is Norway's only department for research and education in Criminology and Sociology of Law. Research, teaching and dissemination activities within both fields are at the highest international level. The Department has about 30 employees and 500 students.