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.
Salaries are better than in many countries but that has to be balanced with an increased cost of living. 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.
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 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. 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.
Here are links to the job vacancy pages of some of Norway's leading universities and research institutes:
- University of Oslo
- University of Bergen
- University of Stavanger
- NTNU (Trondheim)
- SINTEF (Trondheim / Oslo)
- Norwegian University of Life Sciences (Ås)
- Norwegian Business School (Oslo)
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.
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.
Its large-scale funding programmes give a good indication of where its 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, but their working language is Norwegian and so fluency is a requirement.
Photo credit: Erik Børseth, NTNU