PhD candidate SEMPER

Western Norway University of Applied Science
March 12, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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PhD Candidate

PhD candidate – SEMPER This is the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

With about 17,500 students, the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences is one of the largest higher education institutions in Norway. A broad range of academic programmes are offered here at bachelor's, master's and PhD levels, spread out over the five campuses of Førde, Sogndal, Bergen, Stord and Haugesund.

Our ambition is to build stronger and more solid academic and research environments that will interact with their national and international counterparts. The aim is to become a recognised actor in the international arena of higher education. Increased international cooperation and engagement in externally funded projects will help us work towards this goal.

The Faculty of Education, Arts and Sports has four departments with staff in Bergen, Sogndal and Stord. This Faculty is one of the largest teacher training institutions in the country with around 6,630 students and a staff of 553, offering pre-school teacher training, primary and secondary school teacher training for Classes 1-7 and 5-10, practical pedagogical education and bachelor's, master's and PhD programmes.

The Faculty will offer an extensive programme of continuing and further education. Research activities at the Faculty are organised into research programmes and research groups.

At the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) there is a

vacancy for one PhD student within the research project SEMPER at the Faculty of Education, Arts, and Sports (FLKI)

About the position

The PhD candidate will work in the research project SEMPER: Self-Efficacy in Mathematics, Pathways in Education and Research, alongside senior researchers, other PhD/Post Doc candidates, and master's students at HVL. The focus for the PhD project will be thematically related to the development of students' mathematics self-efficacy and performance and/or on teacher-student interactions that support this development. While the PhD must fit within the scope of the research project, it must also be thematically relevant for the PhD programme of the Faculty: Bildung and Pedagogical Practices.

The PhD programme Bildung and Pedagogical Practices includes around 70 PhD candidates working on their separate projects. Further descriptions, study plans, and admission criteria for the programme can be found HERE.

SEMPER is financed by the Research Council of Norway from 01.09.2023 – 31.08.2027.

The primary objectives of SEMPER are to develop knowledge regarding lower secondary school students' learning processes in mathematics, and to assess the effect of a professional development intervention-pilot on teachers' differentiated instructions and students' trajectories in mathematics. Secondary objectives relevant to the PhD position are to:

1. determine individual differences in students' trajectories of self- efficacy and the cyclical relationship between self-efficacy and performance experiences, as well as key individual and group level factors associated with these processes

2. determine the relationship between teacher-student interactions and the development of students' self-efficacy and performance trajectories as they learn new topics in mathematics.

Within these objectives the following themes will be particularly relevant for the PhD position:

Research on students' mathematics learning processes, including their self- perceptions, performance, and cognitive attribution of their performance experiences. Classroom research, including observations of teacher-student interactions, considering, e.g. emotional support and instructional support. While the SEMPER project includes broader themes and objectives, the successful PhD candidate will focus on specific themes within the SEMPER project, preferably including a focus on teacher-student interactions and their relationship with students' learning and motivation processes in mathematics.

Multiple data sources will be collected through SEMPER, including self-report questionnaires (completed by the students), systematic classroom observations, mathematics tests, and interviews (with students and teachers). Additional types of data could be considered for the PhD project, but the dissertation should include data from systematic observations and/or questionnaires. For additional data collection, the burden these may have on the participants must be considered, and balanced with the added value they would provide for the PhD and SEMPER. The dissertation should be article based, including articles published in international journals.

A more detailed description of the SEMPER project is available, and candidates for the position are encouraged to use this as a starting point for designing their project description. The description can be accessed by contacting the project PI ([email protected]).

Duration: The position is three years. A candidate with a high level of competence in Norwegian or another Scandinavian language (Danish or Swedish) may choose to be employed in a four-year training programme, where 25% of the time will constitute teaching, development work, or administration. This work is carried out at HVL. For candidates without a high level of competence in Norwegian or another Scandinavian

language, the time frame for the PhD training programme will be three years. “High level of competence” is understood as the equivalent to B2 or higher.

The PhD candidate will have their main supervisors in FLKI at HVL.

The workplace is HVL, on the Sogndal campus, Norway. PhD positions are recruitment positions, with the purpose of contributing to an active research environment at HVL.

The desired starting date is 01.09.2023.

Areas of responsibility and work tasks

During the employment period, the PhD candidate is expected to complete the training programme for PhD candidates and write a doctoral dissertation in the form of a thesis consisting of scientific articles. As part of the process toward completing the dissertation, the candidate will be expected to, among other things, work on the following tasks: organise and participate in data collection, score observation data, manage and analyse questionnaire data, and present preliminary results in national and international forums.

Within three months of starting the position, the candidate must have developed a final project plan, which then forms the basis for admission to the PhD programme of Bildung and Pedagogical Practices at HVL. The PhD project needs to fit thematically and logistically within the larger SEMPER project, and the candidate will receive guidance from the PhD supervisor and/or other project participants in developing their final project plan.


Essential selection criteria :

The applicant must have a master's degree or equivalent within a subject area relevant not only to the PhD programme Bildung and Pedagogical Practices at HVL, but also to the SEMPER project. This primarily includes the areas of educational psychology and mathematics education, while special needs education and other subject areas within education and/or psychology will also be considered.

The candidate must be able to document a strong background in working with quantitative data and analyses.

The applicant must have high competence in English, written and spoken. High competence in Norwegian (B2 or higher) is an advantage, but not a requirement for the position.

The PhD candidate who is appointed will be admitted to the doctoral programme Bildung and Pedagogical Practices at FLKI. It is therefore a prerequisite that applicants meet the requirements for admission to the PhD programme. Normally, the programme only accepts candidates with grade A or B on their master's degree (this applies to the thesis as well as the coursework). Applications for admission to the doctoral programme should only be submitted after starting the PhD position.

An application for the PhD position must contain a separate appendix with a description of up to six pages (in addition to the bibliography) of a proposed PhD project within the framework of SEMPER. The project proposal needs to contain a theme, problem statement, a short overview of relevant previous research, the theoretical approach, methodology, and a plan for progress. The scientific quality and thematic relevance of the project proposal is assessed by a scientific committee, and the project proposal is central to the ranking of otherwise qualified applicants. (This project proposal will not be the final proposal for the PhD programme. The final proposal needs to be approved by HVL within three months after the starting date of the successful applicant).

Desirable selection criteria :

In the ranking of candidates who fulfil the qualification requirements listed above, the following qualifications will count in the applicant's favour, and will be used to rank candidates:

  • Demonstration of independence in the project proposal, where the applicant demonstrates the ability to formulate their own PhD project within the existing project SEMPER (e.g. in terms of effective use of existing data sources)
  • Experience with quantitative analyses (e.g. factor analyses, path analyses, growth modelling or other multilevel analyses) and data management programs (e.g., SPSS, Mplus, or R)
  • Experience with systematic observation (e.g. CLASS from Teachstone, or similar observation manuals)
  • Personal characteristics :

    The applicant must have good collaboration and communication skills, the ability to work both independently and in teams, and be able take initiative and be flexible. High awareness of research ethics is a necessity, as well as good organisation skills.

    Potential candidates will be invited for a (digital) interview including a presentation of the project proposal.

    Application process:

    Applications will be evaluated by an expert panel of three members.

    Applicants are asked to submit their application and CV online. Please use the link “Apply for this job” (“Søk stillingen”). The following documentation should be uploaded as an attachment to the online application:

  • Master's thesis
  • Copies of selected academic publications (no more than 5)
  • A CV with a complete list of academic publications Diplomas and certificates
  • Applicants should indicate which publications or parts of publications should be given special consideration in the evaluation. If the documents submitted are not in a Scandinavian language or in English, the applicants must submit certified translations of these. The transcripts must specify the topics, the coursework, and the grades at the bachelor's and master's degree levels.

    Applicants whose education is from a country other than Norway must also attach a certified translation of the diploma and transcript of grades to English or a Scandinavian language, if the original is not in any of these languages. It is required that the applicant enclose a review from NOKUT as to whether the education (bachelor's and master's degree) is of a scope and level that corresponds to the level of a Norwegian master's degree.

    Please see www. for more information about NOKUT's general recognition. This may take some time and we recommend that you apply for the recognition as soon as you know you will be applying for this position. If you do not receive an answer from NOKUT within the application deadline, please enclose documentation from NOKUT that they have received your application.

    Applicants should note that the evaluation will be based on the documentation submitted electronically via Jobbnorge within the submission deadline. The applicants are responsible for ensuring that all the documentation is submitted before the closing date. It is of utmost importance that all publications to be considered in the evaluation are uploaded as an attachment with the application, since these are sent electronically to the expert panel. Applications cannot be sent by email or to individuals at the university.

  • Good occupational pension, insurance and loan schemes from the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • Exciting academic environment with the possibility of competence enhancement and development
  • Opportunities for training within the working hours
  • Initial salaries will be offered at grade 54 (code 1017) in the Civil Service pay grade table scale.

    There is a compulsory 2 % deduction to the pension fund (see https:// www. for more information). The successful applicant must comply with the guidelines that apply to the position at any time.

    General information

    The appointment will be made in accordance with the regulations of the Act relating to state employees in Norway (Lov om statens ansatte). Organisational changes and changes in the duties and responsibilities associated with the position must be expected.

    State employment shall reflect the multiplicity of the population at large to the highest possible degree. The Western Norway University of Applied Sciences Bergen has therefore adopted a personnel policy objective to ensure that we achieve a balanced age and gender composition and the recruitment of persons of various ethnic backgrounds.

    Information about the applicant may be made public even though the applicant has requested not to be named in the list of applicants. The applicant will be notified if his/her request is not respected.

    Short-listed applicants will be called in for an interview.

    Employment relies on the condition that you are granted a work and residence permit.


    Head of Department Jan Helge Kallestad, +47 55 58 59 43, [email protected]


    12th March 2023


    Western Norway University of Applied Sciences




    Fulltime (1 positions) Fulltime (%)



    Place of service

    Campus Sogndal

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