Call for applicants

PhD position in the history and politics of deep sea mining



Project description

The deep ocean floor contains vast deposits of minerals that are necessary in renewable energy technologies. These minerals are expected to be in high demand due to the de-carbonization of the global economy and the transition to a net-zero economy. But while the "blue minerals" may hold the key to a greener future, mining the deep seas raises many questions and dilemmas. Can the minerals be mined without causing massive and irreparable harm to the unique ecology of the deep oceans? Who will be allowed to exploit these minerals, and on what conditions? How can conflicts over rich deposits be avoided? What rules and incentives are needed to attract responsible investors that can pay for the development of the necessary technology? Is it worthwhile to destroy unique and largely unknown habitats in the deep seas in order to address the climate crisis?

The primary objective of the TripleDeep project is to investigate whether Deep Sea Mining can provide a new source of critically important minerals in a sustainable manner. To do so we must address significant knowledge gaps about the political, economic, technological and ecological dimensions of deep sea mining, and particularly how they interact with each other. The TripleDeep project group consist of an inter-disciplinary team, bringing together historians, marine biologists, economists and engineers.

About the position

The PhD position is in the history and politics of Deep Sea Mining. While there is no operational Deep Sea Mining industry today, the plans for exploitation of valuable ocean minerals have been debated and heavily contested for more than 50 years. Multinational corporations, national governments, environmental activists and international organizations have all sought to impose their ideas about whether and how the oceans and its resources shall be regulated and used. The stakes are high. Turning the ocean into a new frontier of mineral extraction can create huge gains and losses. It can destroy local habitats while contributing to the preservation of environment on land. Similarly, it can provide revenues to poor states and supply security for critical materials needed by industrialized states, but also threaten vulnerable societies dependent on income from mineral exports, fisheries and other marine resources. It can also exacerbate local, national and international political conflicts. This project aims to investigate how the plans, justifications and political frameworks for Deep Sea Mining have developed over time, and how they are influenced by shifting ideas, norms, rules and power in international politics.

You will report to the project leader, Mats Ingulstad.

About the application

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above.

The application must include:

  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's and master's degrees. If you have not completed the master's degree, you must submit a confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted.
  • A copy of the master's thesis. If you recently have submitted your master's thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed master's degree must be presented before taking up the position.
  • A motivation letter (1-2 pages), describing the relevance of your disciplinary background, your interest in the project, and how you would approach the given topic
  • Name and address of three referees
  • If you have publications or other relevant research work

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor's and master's education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates.

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

For more information, see the link below: