Vacancy: Interdisciplinary Science/Policy Researcher to help advance Responsible & Sustainable Biotechnologies


Application deadline: 24 September 2017

The research group on responsible and sustainable technoscience (RootS) at GenØk – Centre for Biosafety is looking for an enthusiastic interdisciplinary scholar to fill an exciting new position working across the science/policy interface.

Growing from the competence of SEED (the Society, Ecology and Ethics Department) in ethical, legal, and social aspects of science and technology, the newly established RootS team at GenØk is a research group focused on advancing responsible and sustainable technoscience internationally through the performance of cutting edge interdisciplinary research, science-policy advisory work and capacity building.

The advertised position will include the following key tasks:

  1. Policy advice: Providing written advice to national authorities on applications for the commercial use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in terms of their social benefit, contribution to sustainable development and ethical justifiability, as required by Norwegian law. Connected duties will also include developing creative new ways to strengthen the provision and impact of this policy advice.
  2. Co-production practice: Organizing and conducting workshops to advance responsible research and innovation (RRI) within biotechnology projects as well as within GenØks own scientific research to advance the safe use of modern biotechnologies.
  3. Public engagement: Representing the RootS group in public communication and engagement activities (e.g. interactive lectures to visiting school groups, blog posts, occasional media write-ups).
  4. Research: Contributing to and supporting the RootS team in international research projects related to topics such as RRI, the governance of new and emerging biotechnologies, and the advancement of sustainable agriculture.

The position will ideally start 1 January 2018 and will initially be offered as a full-time 12 month position until 31.12.18, with the possibility for extension.

Qualifications & Selection Criteria

  • A PhD in social science or humanities is required. – While some level of experience with responsible research and innovation (RRI), sustainability assessment or ethical, legal and/or social aspects of science and/or technology (i.e. ELSA or ELSI research) is preferred, work in related fields such as sociology, anthropology, philosophy, political science, or science and technology studies is acceptable.
  • A demonstrated interest in interdisciplinary research (particularly across natural and social sciences) is necessary. – Complimentary knowledge in biological science and/or biotechnology will be particularly highly regarded.
  • Experience working across the science/policy interface will be particularly highly valued. – Previous work on emerging technologies and/or the topic of food and agriculture will also be given additional weight.
  • An excellent command of English, in both written and oral forms is required. – An ability to also speak and write in a Scandinavian language will be preferred, however, a willingness to learn will also be viewed favourably.
  • The ability to work independently and creatively, as well as to make positive contributions to a team is important.

The position of employment will be at the GenØk offices in Tromsø, Norway. The city of Tromsø lies above the Arctic Circle and therefore offers spectacular auroras and snow in the winter and beautiful endless days of midnight sun in the summer. In addition to unlimited opportunities for outdoor activities all year round (e.g. skiing, hiking, fishing etc), the town has an international cosmopolitan atmosphere and a wide variety of cultural events throughout the year.

The salary will be negotiated on the basis of the candidate’s level of education, experience and qualifications. As a GenØk employee you will receive the excellent social security provisions offered in Norway, including the Norwegian public health service and GenØk’s accident insurance and retirement benefits.

GenØk has human resource policy objectives that emphasize diversity, and therefore encourages qualified applicants to apply regardless of their gender, functional ability and national or ethnic background.


The application must be submitted electronically on or before 24 September, 2017 at

The applications should be written in English and include:

  • A 1-2 page statement of why you are interested in the position, how you meet the selection criteria and how your background, interests and/or expertise will be of benefit
  • A curriculum vitae that includes details of all previous research projects and publications, as well as any workshops, focus groups, and/or seminars organised
  • Certified copies of all academic degrees
  • An example of academic writing (e.g. published article) and an example of non-academic writing (e.g. policy brief, popular science article, blog)
  • The names and contact details of two referees

For more information contact:

RootS Leader: Fern Wickson,, tlf. 77623137


Head of Administration: Katrine Jaklin,, tlf. 77645546

GenØk – Centre for Biosafety is the national competence centre for biosafety in Norway and was established in 1998 as an independent research foundation connected to the research environments at the University of Tromsø and the Science Park. GenØk conducts research on social and ethical aspects of emerging bio- and nanotechnologies as well as their impacts on human health and the environment. It also provides policy advice to national and international governments and institutions on biosafety issues, and delivers capacity building for scientists, regulators and civil society organisers around the world in risk assessment and regulation and emerging technologies. The institute has approximately 25 employees. Read more at: