How to join the CompSci doctoral program?

The CompSci program will have two calls for applications. The application deadline for call 1 is March 1st 2021.

Apply to call 1

Guide for applicants (pdf)

Required attachments

Att. 1: CV (use supplied template (Word))

Att. 2: Motivational letter (use supplied template (Word))

Att. 3: Letter of recommendation (with ranking)

Att. 4: Grade transcripts

Att. 5: Documentation of English proficiency

How to apply

illustration of the application process

The application must be submitted through the “JobbNorge” application portal. For an application to be valid, the applicant must submit a complete set of documents via the portal, consisting of:

  • Att. 1: CV (use supplied template (Word))
  • Att. 2: Motivational letter with a prioritization of up to 3 research projects (use supplied template (Word))
  • Att. 3: Letter of recommendation (with ranking)
  • Att. 4: Bachelor's and master's grade transcripts with official translations
  • Att. 5: Documentation of English proficiency

Please save and upload all attachments with your surname in the file name, e.g. SURNAME-Att-1. Please note that only documents submitted through the portal will be considered. 

NB! special notice regarding Att. 3 Letter of recommendation: In Norway it is customary that the applicants receive the recommendation letters and upload them in the portal themselves. If this is not possible, please tell your referees to send their reference letters by e-mail to our HR Adviser Torunn Standal Guttormsen <> and she will upload them to your application. In the subject of the email your referee must indicate the reference number (JobbNorge ID) for the position and your name. This has to be done by the application deadline for the position, 1st March. It is sufficient to provide one letter of recommendation (from your professor/ master's degree supervisor). As for the ranking, we would like your reference to make a judgement on how you place in relation to the other students having done the same Master programme. E.g. are you in the top 10% or top 25 % etc. This is just indicative, and the admissions committee will focus mostly on the text of  your motivation letter and CV rather than the % ranking.


The application portal “JobbNorge” has a field for “application text” and a standard CV which is entered in the portal. Please do not use these online forms, but instead use the CV template and the Motivational letter template (Due to technical reasons, you have to type your chosen thematic area in order to get to the next step in the online form, and you have to fill in only your personal details in the CV stage). It is only these attachments that will form the basis for the evaluation.

You can submit the application at any date until the Call closes at 23:59, Central European Time, on the deadline date. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Research projects

Applicants must apply for a specific research project listed under “Research projects” for call 1. It is only the projects listed under call 1 that are open for applicants in this call. Each applicant must prioritize up to three research projects that they are motivated and qualified for.

woman checking the wires in a laboratory.
Photo: Michele Giordano.

Who is eligible?

Applicants from all nationalities who satisfy the following requirements can apply:

  • Formal educational requirements:
    • A master’s degree or equivalent with a specialization as described for each particular research project
    • A foreign completed degree (M.Sc.-level) corresponding to a minimum of four years in the Norwegian educational system
    • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English. English requirements for applicants from outside of EU/ EEA countries and exemptions from the requirements. 

      Candidates without a Master’s degree have until 30 June, 2021 to complete the final exam.
      Regarding proof of English requirements, online TOEFL and the IELTS tests are also accepted.
      Read more about the formal requirements
  • Research experience: as per Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action requirement, the candidate must at the date of the program call deadline be within the first four years (FTE-equivalent) of their research careers and not yet be awarded at doctoral degree. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when you obtained the degree entitling you to embark on a doctorate (e.g. from your Master's degree).
  • Mobility requirement: as per Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action requirement, the candidate may not have resided and/or carried out their main activity in Norway for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the date of recruitment. Researchers with refugee status, as defined by the Geneva Convention, benefit from a less restrictive mobility rule: the refugee procedure (i.e. before refugee status is conferred) will not be counted as a period of residence/activity in Norway. The secondment host country is exempt from the mobility rule.
  • Complete application: A complete application with all required attachments must be submitted through the application portal. Please read the “Guide for applicants”.
mann jobber med grønne planter
Photo: Hans Fredrik Asbjørnsen/UiO.
mann jobber med grønne planter
Photo: Hans Fredrik Asbjørnsen/UiO.

Evaluation process

illustration of evaluation process and timeline

After the deadline of the call, the following steps are used to assess the candidates:

  1. Eligibility check: The CompSci Office at UiO will check that each applicant fulfils the eligibility criteria.
  2. Expert panels: The applicants for each project will be assessed by a panel of experts using the selection criteria for written application elements. At least three experts will assess each proposal independently. The composition of Expert Panels will be in line with the "European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their Recruitment", especially in terms of diverse competence, gender balance, and inclusion of members from different countries. Experts will perform evaluations on a personal basis, not as representatives of their employer, country or any other entity. They will be independent, impartial and objective, and behave throughout in a professional manner.
  3. Ranking of written application elements: A consensus meeting will ensure a common consensus on ranking and produce a ranked list of all applicants.
  4. Interviews for candidates above threshold: Candidates with a score above a threshold of 70% will be invited for a video interview with the evaluation panel. The interviews will follow the structure and scoring described in “Selection criteria – Interview”.

  5. Final ranking of candidates: The candidates1’ scores from the written (60% weight) and oral (40% weight) evaluations will form the basis of a final ranking. The final ranking will be made by the Selection Committee. 

  6. Offers: The top 16 candidates will be offered standard contracts for the positions. Successful candidates will start their positions preferably on August 15 and no later than September 1st 2021 (Call 01) or 2022 (Call 02).

Redress procedure 

Each candidate has the possibility to ask for a redress of their evaluation at four points of time during the evaluation process: 1. After the eligibility check; 2. After the outcome of the written evaluation; 3. After the outcome of the oral evaluation; 4. After the funding decision . Within two weeks of the respective information to candidates, candidates can ask for redress by filling in the prepared form for redress (one page), available on the CompSci website, and send it to the Project Office. In case of a justified redress, the application will be re-evaluated/the interview will be redone. Redress decisions are final.

Selection criteria - Written application elements

The candidates are first scored against selection criteria based on the application elements. The candidate will be scored along the following criteria, with a max score of 5 for each criterion.

Criterion Factors Threshold Weight
CV, degree and skills Grades, track record, publications and presentations, student should be in the top 25% of their respective grading system 3 45%
Motivation letter Scientific maturity, motivation and interdisciplinary motivation 2 15%
Match with topic Relevance of education, thesis, and courses 3 30%
Reference letter Statement of relative rank in cohort 2 10%

In order to be eligible for the interview phase, the candidate must satisfy the threshold score and have a total score of 70%. Up to three times as many candidates as there are positions will be interviewed. If there are more candidates exceeding the thresholds, the candidates will be ranked based on the written material, and only the top three will be interviewed for a given project.

Priority in case of ex aquo will be: 1. CV; 2. Motivation letter; 3. Match with topic; and 4 Reference letter. In case of a draw, female applicants will be prioritized.

Selection criteria - Interview 

Interviews will follow a structured template used by all interview committees to reduce bias. The interview will consist of the following parts.

Time Contents Threshold Weight
15 min Scientific presentation about previously carried out research work (e.g. MSc), or relevant work experience. Criteria: Clarity and consistency of presentation, ability to take part in a scientific discussion, Oral English skills. 3 50%
10 min CV presentation and how candidate matches with topic. Criteria: Ability to answer CV-related questions, match CV to research topic 3 30%
15 min Team work experience and interdisciplinary motivation. Criteria: Initiative to contribute, interdisciplinary motivation 3 20%
5 min Candidate’s questions No 0%

A threshold score of 3 on each of the criteria is required to pass to the next stage. Priority in case of ex aquo will be: 1. Scientific presentation; 2. CV presentation; and 3. Team work. In case of a draw, female applicants will be prioritized.


Scoring will follow standard MSCA scoring with 0-5 for each sub-criterion. The score interpretation is:

0: Fails to address the criterion or cannot be assessed due to missing or incomplete information.

1: Poor. The criterion is inadequately addressed or there are serious inherent weaknesses.

2: Fair. Broadly matches the criterion, but there are significant weaknesses.

3: Good. Addresses the criterion well, but a number of shortcomings are present.

4: Very good. Addresses the criterion very well, but a small number of shortcomings are present.

5: Excellent. Successfully addresses all relevant aspects of the criterion. Any shortcomings are minor.

Terms and conditions

A doctoral candidate in the program will be appointed under a fixed term employment contract with the University of Oslo. The place of work will depend on the research project the candidate is associated with. The candidate must work on the research project associated with the position.

The salary of a doctoral student will be calculated according to the Central Collective Agreement, where gross salary (with living and mobility allowances already included) within a range of NOK 479 600 to 523 200 per year depending of qualifications in a position as PhD Research Fellow.

The net salary will be paid after the deductions of tax, when applicable. Read more about the Norwegian tax system.

For further information related to moving and settling in Norway, please visit the website of the International Staff Mobility Office (ISMO). If you receive and accept an employment contract with UiO, you may contact ISMO who supports incoming international staff, PhD candidates, guest researchers and their families with relocation to UiO.

Career development

man and woman talking
Photo: Hans Fredrik Asbjørnsen/UiO.

The goal of the training program is to educate computationally literate natural science researchers and innovators, and equip them with the research, computational, and transferable skills, networks and mindsets needed to transform the European research, education and innovation arena.

The career development and training program provides students with an interdisciplinary research training, training in computational methods, and training in transferable lifetime skills. The innovative training program combines case-based learning, interdisciplinary core teams, a computational skills supervisor, and a transferable skills supervisor. This ensures that the fellows get the combined competence needed to become research and innovation leaders.

Integration into existing training program

The candidates will be enrolled in the PhD program at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Oslo. The PhD program is a three-year program, requiring at least 30 ECTS of courses usually fulfilled through PhD-level courses including a 5 ECTS compulsory course in ethics.

The program provides an additional level of support for the CompSci candidates on top of the training organized by the program. It organizes activities to build a community among PhD students at UiO, e.g. annual PhD Day where PhD students meet, present posters and get feedback from experienced supervisors, PhD breakfast club addressing transferable skills and career development, project pitching competitions, an annual Young Talents day with a jobs fair focusing on non-academic career options, and social events. PhD students will have access to the UiO Career Center, and UiO organizes a PhD student alumni network that the candidates will be a part of.

Personal Career Development Plan 

You will develop a Personalized Career Development Plan with your supervisors. The goal of the plan to provide you with a set of ambitious, attainable career objectives on the short and long term, a portfolio of skills to enhance their career prospects, and an assessment framework to monitor progress and make necessary adjustments.

The plan contains research goals, computational skills goals, transferable skills goals, and secondment goals set to improve the fellow’s research competencies and complementary skills. It also contains goals for dissemination and communication and for the possible exploitation of the results. The plan will be reviewed every 6 months.


CompSci aims to secure high ethical standards and the program adheres to the European Commission’s ethical principles of Horizon 2020.  All research projects in the program must abide with EU and national/local ethics regulations of the University of Oslo.