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Researcher Jobs in Norway

The NTNU campus dominates Trondheim

Working at a Norwegian university or research institute can be a rewarding career move, but competition for the vacancies is tough.

The biggest areas of research in Norway are in energy (both petroleum and renewables), ocean sciences and ICT. These are key areas for the development of the future Norwegian economy and as such, international talent is sought-after.

Research is one of the few areas in which fluency in the language is not required, but it is preferred and researchers in long-term positions will be expected to learn Norwegian.

University Square in Oslo, Norway

How much do researchers get paid?

Salaries are better than in many countries, but of course that fact has to be balanced with the increased cost of living in Norway.

Depending on the institute, role and candidate, a postdoctoral position tends to carry an annual salary of around 450,000kr, while research scientists will earn at least 500,000kr.

Unlike many private sector jobs, these positions tend to have a salary – or at least a range – published alongside the job details in the advert.

How to get a research job

Recruitment into the industry in Norway follows a similar pattern to other industries. Many jobs are offered through personal contacts, even if they already have been or plan to be advertised.

Personal networking is critical and people within these academic networks are often approached directly about open positions, even when vacancies have to be advertised externally.

University of Tromsø campus in the winter daylight
The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø

So, the best advice I can give you is to build your own academic network and make connections with relevant researchers already working in Norway. If you're able to attend a conference or other event in Norway first, all the better.

Here are links to the job vacancy pages of some of Norway's leading universities and research institutes:

It's also worth registering with EURES, which is the European job mobility portal. While not specific to Norway or to research jobs, many are listed there.

It should also be noted that preference is often given to candidates from EEA-member countries, given the relative ease of employing someone compared to a non-EEA citizen.

Immigration to Norway

If you're from a non-EEA country it is still possible to get a research job, but you will need to offer something unique. For more on the immigration requirements, click here.

The role of the Research Council

The Research Council of Norway (Forskningsrådet) promotes an integrated R&D system that supplies high-quality research, develops knowledge for dealing with key challenges to society and the business sector, fosters dynamic interaction within the R&D system nationally and internationally, and creates a framework for learning, application and innovation.

In short, the Council funds many major projects and is a vital driver for Norwegian research. Its large-scale funding programmes give a good indication of where its – and Norway's – research priorities lie:

  • Biotechnology for Innovation
  • AQUACULTURE – An Industry in Growth
  • Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials
  • The Large-scale Programme on Climate Research
  • Large-scale Programme for Petroleum Research
  • Large-scale Programme for Energy Research
  • Large-scale Programme in ICT

In case anyone is wondering, the Research Council does employ a fair number of people directly, but their working language is of course Norwegian and so fluency is a requirement.

Next steps

We are not a research recruitment agency and cannot provide personal help. However, you can find out more information by grabbing a copy of our book, How to Find a Job in Norway.

Photo credit: Erik Børseth, NTNU

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.

2 Comments

  1. I am major researcher holding Master in human genetics and Bachelor of Medicine, looking for any kind of job in norway.

    H. A. Salman

  2. Hi David,
    our experience with jobs in academia in Norway are, that salaries are not matching international levels at all. It might be valid for PhD or regular scientists but on a associate/full professor level the salary can not compete with for example Germany(take low cost of of living in to account) or Switzerland. I think thats why Norway is not able to hire international acknowledged scientists in certain fields. The positions are often taken by scandinavian people who know what they get. Our experience is, that you can hardly live from one income even outside Oslo. This is kind of devaluating the person as well, since it is not reflecting career. And for the partner coming along it might not be so easy to find a job right away. Norway has here a certain disadvantage compared to other countries. The job market is very limited in variety as well. And besides of fewer working hours there is not really a advantage being in Norway. Plus it is very hard to start a life here, when you have to buy a apartment/house and the salary doesn´t really reflect that. So, for us it is a major downside that you definitly loose life quality and you feel kind of poor even though you having a position as a professor. To finalize, if you saying the science sector is one of keys for Norway´s future economy, then they should really adjust salaries and conditions there to be able to compete with other countries.
    And there are some strange rules as well: Have you written about feriepenger? This is so strange, you have contract stating a certain amount of vacation days but you are not getting them paid in the first year. Since the salary is so low, you can not compensate for not getting paid and spending money on vacation, means you have to work through the first year…. thats kind of our experience.
    I got a lot of useful information about Norway from your side. Thank you very much.

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