Research Fellowship as PhD Candidate at the Centre for Educational Measurement University of Oslo, Faculty of Educational Sciences

Doctoral Research Fellow - Quality at the cost of equity?


Job description


Applications are invited for a Research Fellowship as PhD Candidate at the Centre for Educational Measurement, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Oslo.


The position will be within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Marie Skodowska-Curie (MSC) European Training Network (ETN) “Outcomes and Causal Inference in International Comparative Assessments” (OCCAM). OCCAM is a graduate school for 15 early-stage researchers investigating trends and differences in educational achievement, the determinants of educational outcomes, and changes in educational outcomes from an international perspective. Further information on the network can be found on

The early-stage researcher will conduct a research project on “Quality at the cost of equity?”. A particular focus of this project is on differential educational effectiveness, in particular the interplay of school characteristics, instructional quality and differential student outcomes in an international perspective. The successful applicant for this project should deliver first ideas for studies describing and interpreting patterns of change in the relationship between the level of student outcomes and the degree of inequality across countries and over time, using for example data from the multiple waves of PIRLS (2001–2016) and TIMSS (1995–2015). This also includes modelling differential effects of school characteristics and instructional quality on both quality and equity of student outcomes. The project is expected to evaluate the extent to which countries succeed in coupling educational quality and equity, and how unintended effects (e.g., inequality, segregation) can be prevented.

There are several other projects in the OCCAM network working on closely related issues, and it should be expected that at least one of the studies may be done in cooperation with another PhD-candidate in the network. Besides working on the dissertation, the successful candidate will receive international, intersectoral, and interdisciplinary research trainings including network-wide meetings, research visits, and a secondment. The project will be supervised by Prof. Dr Rolf V. Olsen and Prof. Dr. Sigrid Blömeke.

Selected responsibilities:

  • Applicants are supposed to conduct self-contained research targeted at receiving a PhD in education (cumulative dissertation based on scientific, peer-reviewed publications)
  • Data analysis, documentation, and publication of results in international, peer-reviewed journals and at scientific conferences
  • Limited administrative responsibilities within the network and CEMO
  • Work on these tasks in collaboration with the OCCAM network


More about the position


The fellowship period is up to 3 years devoted to research education with a possible extension to 4 years with a compulsory work load of 25% that consists of teaching and supervision duties and research assistance.


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.


The successful candidate must satisfy the formal requirements for admission to the Faculty’s PhD program:


- Documented successful completion of a Master’s degree program (normally equivalent to a Norwegian two years’ MA degree/ECTS 120 credits), or a similar higher education program, in both cases with thesis, and within relevant and accepted subject areas


- Documented results of the masters’ degree required: Minimal grade B or equivalent (ECTS grading scale) including the grade on the thesis


For more information, please see our web site: link.


Qualification requirements

  • Applicants must hold a Master’s degree in an area of relevance to educational assessment, educational effectiveness, educational psychology, or related fields (obtained at latest in July 2018)
  • Excellent academic record, testified by the transcript of records and, if relevant, by previous research output (e.g. scientific publications)
  • Research interests in a) inequality in education, b) quality of instruction, and/or c) international comparative research and international assessments (e.g., PISA, TALIS)
  • Training in quantitative methods and attitude to rigorous empirical analysis
  • Excellent English writing and communication skills; knowledge of Norwegian is not required
  • Mobility rule: Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity in Norway for more than 12 months in the 3 years before the recruitment date (01 August 2018)
  • Early-stage researcher status: Applicants must, at the date of recruitment, be in the first 4 years of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree
  • Willingness to travel nationally and internationally
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively with a strong personal commitment


Personal skills

In the assessment of applications, emphasis will be put on:

  • The applicant’s academic attitude for completing the research training program
  • The research proposal that outlines the candidate’s ideas for self-contained research with relevance for the topic described above
  • The applicant’s personal suitability and motivation for the post, including his/her ability to collaborate and to form part of a cross-disciplinary and internationally composed academic community
  • Other qualifications (as listed above) that meet the objectives which form the basis of this type of post


We offer

  • This is an opportunity to work at an established and international research unit which conducts basic research in educational measurement and applied research in early childhood, secondary, and higher education. Employment at CEMO will give the successful candidate the opportunity to work in a highly cross-disciplinary field in an internationally competitive research group with a high degree of international and national collaboration. Moreover, the international perspective is further highlighted for this position given that the successful candidate will be part of the network OCCAM, including an extended period of secondment at another European university, and several shorter visits across Europe participating in training activities
  • The Faculty of Educational Sciences offers a structured doctoral program in which PhD candidates are trained in various fields of educational science, including methodology and research in substantive areas.
  • Salary NOK 436.900 – 490.900 per annum depending on qualifications in a position as PhD Research fellow, (position code 1017)
  • 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
  • The position as a research fellow is remunerated according to the Norwegian State salary scale. In addition a modest Family Allowance is available from the OCCAM network for candidates satisfying specific EU criteria


How to apply

The application must include:

  • OCCAM confirmation on eligibility (mobility rule, early-stage researcher status; see
  • A cover letter
  • A brief outline of potential research studies leading up to the dissertation (2500 words including bibliography, tables, footnotes). The description of these studies should include first ideas of potential research questions to be examined, methods to be applied, and information about how much experience with these methods exist. The proposal need to address the overarching topic briefly described above
  • Documentation of the earlier education (diplomas, transcripts, information of the University’s grading system)
  • An electronic version of the Master’s thesis and any other academic works that may be of relevance to the application. If the thesis has been written in languages other than English, a short executive summary in English (1-2 pages) needs to be handed in. The grade of the Master thesis must be clearly indicated
  • A curriculum vitae that also includes an overview of any previously published academic/scientific works
  • 1-2 references with contact information or letters of reference (e.g., Master’s thesis supervisors)


Applicants from countries outside the Nordic countries where English is not the official language must document their proficiency in English. For more information see: link.


Incomplete applications will under normal circumstances not be assessed.


As a rule, interviews will be conducted as part of the appointment process.


Original diplomas and grade transcripts from previous courses of study need to be presented or sent to us from the universities from which the PhD candidate obtained the degrees.


Further information on the position can be obtained from Professor Rolf V. Olsen or Senior Adviser Anne-Catherine Lehre. Further information about CEMO can be found here: link.


The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system, please follow the link “apply for this job”. Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University's grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English (or a Scandinavian language).


Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Research Fellowships at the University of Oslo.


According to the Norwegian Freedom and 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.


Contact information

Title: Rolf Vegar Olsen

Phone number: +47 98859376


Title: Anne-Catherine Lehre

Phone number: +47 22854151


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