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PhD scholarship in Inequalities in Education

 PhD Scholarship in Inequalities in Education


Job description


Applicants are invited for a three to four year fulltime position as a PhD Research Fellow at the University of Oslo, Norway. The intended starting date is January 1, 2024.

The position has a double affiliation with the Centre for Research on Equality in Education (CREATE) and the Department of Teacher Education and School Research (ILS).


CREATE is an interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence funded by the Research Council of Norway with the objective to generate novel knowledge about how to reduce inequalities in education, see web site. The interdisciplinary centre integrates researchers with substantive expertise from education, psychology, sociology, economics, and genetics, and methodological expertise from educational measurement, psychometrics, econometrics, statistics, and biostatistics. The PhD fellowship is affiliated with CREATE’s research strand 1 «Identifying the barriers to equality in education».

The Department of Teacher Education and School Research offers a one-year Post-graduate Teacher Education Programme (PPU), a five years integrated Graduate Teacher Education Programme (Lektorprogrammet) and a Master Programme in Educational Leadership.
UiO/ Anders Lien

More about the position


CREATE strand 1 aims at identifying barriers to equality in education. Specifically, we aim to disentangle the causal mechanisms hindering equality and to understand for whom, how, and why these mechanisms operate over time and over the life course.

The successful candidate is expected to pursue research in the area “Inequalities in education: the interplay of socioeconomic background, ethnic background, and gender” by investigating malleable individual and context characteristics that may reduce inequalities in children’s mathematics and science skills. In particular, since effects of such characteristics may be different for students with high or low socioeconomic background, different ethnic backgrounds, and boys or girls, the candidate is expected to examine how these characteristics may have different effects on students combining these background characteristics.


The successful candidate is expected to use data from the several decades of international large-scale assessment (ILSA) studies at the beginning of the PhD, for example TIMSS, see web site for studying trends in inequalities over time or PIAAC for studying trends in inequalities over the life course. During the second half of the PhD, the candidate is expected to include data from the TIMSS Longitudinal Study which will follow the students participating in TIMSS 2023 over one year. The longitudinal design will make it possible to disentangle cohort and grade effects and to investigate learning gains over one year and how they relate to contextual variables


For more information about CREATE and the position, contact Reascher Trude Nilsen (CREATE strand 1; trude.nilsen@ils.uio.no).

The research fellow must take part in the faculty’s approved PhD program and is expected to complete the project within the set fellowship period. The main purpose of the fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a PhD degree.


For more information, please see our web site.

The appointment is a fulltime position for a period of three years. If there is a good match between the candidate’s competence and the teaching needs at the Department of Teacher Education and School Research (ILS), the position can be extended to four years, 25 percent of which are devoted to teaching, supervision, and research assistance at ILS. ILS offers a stimulating environment with teaching and research on learning outcomes, teacher competence, teaching quality, and school environment.

Qualification requirements


Applicants must satisfy the requirements for admission to the faculty´s PhD programme. This normally includes:Applicants must hold a Master´s degree or equivalent in a field relevant for the research project, such as the fields of education (including pedagogy, mathematics and science education), sociology, psychology, economics, and measurement)
A Master’s degree (120 ECTS) with a minimum grade B (ECTS grading scale). The Master’s degree must include a thesis of at least 30 ECTS, with a minimum grade B
Advanced quantitative research skills
Fluent oral and written communication skills in English
Fluent oral and written communication skills in Norwegian (or another Scandinavian language) in case of a 4-year position


The following qualifications are not required but will give applicants an advantageExperience with multi-level, structural equation or causal modelling
Experience with ILSA data
Experience with coding for statistical computing (e.g., R, STATA, MPlus)
Knowledge of the Scandinavian school system

In the assessment of applications, emphasis will be placed on:The quality of the project description, the description of the research topic’s relevance to CREATE’s research program, the specific problems to be studied, the choice of scientific theory and method, and the proposed implementation plan for the study
The applicant’s experience, personal suitability and motivation for the post, including her/his ability to collaborate and to form part of a cross-disciplinary academic community
The applicant’s academic attitude and motivation with regard to completing the research training program


Personal skills
A collaborative, friendly, and team-oriented style of work
Ability to join interdisciplinary academic communities
Creativity and ability to work independently
Personal suitability and motivation for the position

We offer
Salary NOK 532 200 - 575 400 per annum depending on qualifications in a position as PhD Research fellow, (position code 1017)
An interdisciplinary and international work environment, recognized as a Centre of Excellence
Attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement, in addition to Oslo’s family-friendly environment with its rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities


How to apply

The application must includeCover letter (1 page, incl. a statement of motivation)
Project description (approximately 5 - 7 pages, including a short summary of research gaps, research questions the candidate regards relevant to pursue, theoretical and methodological approaches, and a progress plan for the PhD). Please see our guidelines.
CV (summarizing education, positions, publications and other relevant academic work)
Copy of the Master´s thesis
Copies of educational certificates (academic transcripts only). Foreign applicants must attach an explanation of their grading system
Documentation of English proficiency (for information on required documentation, see information on this web site)
List of reference persons: 2-3 references, including the supervisor of the Master´s thesis (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and phone number)

Incomplete applications will not be assessed.

Please note that all documents should 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”.


When evaluating the application, special emphasis will be placed on the documented, academic qualifications, the project description and the quality of the project as well as the candidates’ motivation and personal suitability Applicants may be called in for an interview.

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 of 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 appointment may be shortened/given a more limited scope within the framework of the applicable guidelines on account of any previous employment in academic positions.


The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results etc.

Inclusion and diversity are a strength. The University of Oslo has a personnel policy objective of achieving a balanced gender composition. Furthermore, we want employees with diverse professional expertise, life experience and perspectives.

If there are qualified applicants with disabilities, employment gaps or immigrant background, we will invite at least one applicant from each of these categories to an interview.

Contact information


Acting CREATE director professor Arne Ole LervÄg

CREATE strand 1 leader researcher Trude Nilsen


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.


CREATE (Centre of Research on Equality in Education) is an interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence funded by the Research Council of Norway and the Faculty of Educational Sciences. CREATE’s objective is to generate novel knowledge about how to reduce inequalities in education.


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