The project is funded by the Icelandic Research Fund and will investigate processes that prevent transition of degraded ecosystems to healthier states. Iceland provides good settings for the study because centuries of heavy grazing by livestock have driven extensive tundra rangelands into degraded states. The PhD student will focus on the role of different plant functional types in retarding the recovery process by using both large scale surveys and field experiments

The research team and collaboration - The PhD student will be a part of an international research team, led by Ingibjörg Svala Jónsdóttir and including Isabel C. Barrio, the Agricultural University of Iceland, Bryndís Marteinsdóttir, the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland, Kari Anne Bråthen, UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø and David Hik, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. In addition, five other national and international collaborators will be involved in specific research tasks.

Education, desired skills and work experience

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate with outstanding track-record and:

  • A masters degree in Biology, Ecology or related field
  • Strong background knowledge in botany and ecology
  • Good skills in statistical analysis (the R software) is desirable
  • Experience of microbial research and application of molecular methods is desirable
  • Experience of laboratory work and fieldwork under demanding conditions in the tundra is desirable

Other requirements:

  • Excellent English, both written and spoken
  • Good planning and organization skills
  • Good communication and teamwork skills
  • The ability to work independently

For further information, please contact Ingibjörg Svala Jónsdóttir at

The Application process:

Deadine for application is 8th of March 2021.The student is expected to start as soon as possible, or no later than April 2021.

Applications should be submitted electronically by March 8th 2021 at (choose the relevant option and register – the option will show up after February 15). Attach the following information to your application:

  • A short letter (max. 2 pages) of motivation where the candidate also provides her/his future vision and why pursuing a PhD degree
  • CV (curriculum vitae) including education, research and work experience.
  • Certificates of education (BS and MSc degree) and course transcripts with grades.
  • Names and full contact information for two professionals referees (including their relationship to the applicant).
  • Overview of publications (if any).
  • (Optional) Applicants are also invited to send PDF of MS thesis (in any language) and any other relevant publications if available (max. 5 documents).

Further information

The University of Iceland is committed to diversity and we encourage all qualified candidates to apply.

After the hiring process is completed the applicant must apply formally for the Ph.D. studies at the University of Iceland.

 All applications will be answered and applicants will be informed about the appointment when a decision has been made. Applications are valid in the system for 6 months after the application deadline.

Appointments to positions at the University of Iceland are made in consideration of the Equal Rights Policy of the University of Iceland.

The University of Iceland is a growing community of knowledge and is a very dynamic and interesting workplace. Our values are academic freedom, professionalism and equality. The University strives to provide flexibility and encourages participation in the progression of the studies and research in all fields within the realm of the University.

The School of Engineering and Natural Sciences employs around 400 people involved with teaching and research. The School offers an international working environment, with the number of international employees and students increasing each year. Currently about quarter of all employees and graduate students are international. The school has 2000 students, thereof around 180 PhD students and 340 MS students. The School of Engineering and Natural Sciences is proud of its’ diversity and reform-minded environment where knowledge acquisition and sharing is paramount.

The Biomedical Center BMC ( is a co-operation between research groups in life-sciences in Iceland.  Through the center the student will have access to well-equipped core facilities and a collaborative cross-disciplinary research environment.