Open positions

PhD Fellowship in Opioids and Reward in Addiction

A three-year position is available for a PhD Candidate at the Department of Diagnostic Physics, in collaboration with the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo. Apply here (updated link 28 September). NB! The correct information about the position, requirements etc. is listed here at Start date is ASAP, December 1st at the latest.

We are looking to recruit a PhD fellow with an interest in addiction and a background in cognitive neuroscience, psychology, medicine or related fields. The project involves data collection from a diverse population undergoing treatment for substance dependence. Personal qualities and ability to collaborate are highly important for the position. Moreover, a strong methodological background (experimental psychology, statistics, programming, neuroimaging) will be an advantage. The candidate must be highly motivated, speak a Scandinavian language and be able to travel extensively during the first year to test patients in the Oslo, Bergen and Kristiansand areas.

The project 

The project aims to elucidate the mechanisms involved in pharmacological treatment for opioid addiction and is a collaboration between Marie Eikemo at the Department of Diagnostic Physics, Oslo University Hospital, the Leknes Affective Brain lab and the Naltrexone research group at Akershus University Hospital. This project is funded by The Regional Health Authority (HSØ) and is part of a large clinical study led by Dr. Lars Tanum, which will recruit new patients from three catchment areas (Oslo/Akershus, Bergen and Kristiansand) starting autumn 2018.

Patients with opioid dependence are typically treated with long-acting ‘replacement’ drugs such as buprenorphine or methadone. An alternative medication is the opioid antagonist naltrexone, which can prevent relapse by blocking the effects of heroin and other opioids. Extended release naltrexone (XR-NTX) can be given as monthly injection, and the results from a Norwegian randomized clinical trial show beneficial effects for a substantial subgroup of opioid dependent patients.

Currently, there are no robust predictors established for treatment outcome with long acting naltrexone. In this sub-study we will therefore collect a series of trait, physiological and behavioral measures carefully selected as potential predictors of treatment adherence. The PhD fellow sought here will collect data during early treatment, which will be combined with baseline and follow-up data from the main clinical study. Two classes of data will be collected in this subproject: 1) Stable measures such as personality and other traits, genetic polymorphisms, and history of early adversity; 2) Neuroimaging and behavioral responses to stimuli known to depend on brain opioids: pain, stress and rewards.

Job description:

  • The duration of the project is 3 years
  • Recruitment and testing of participants, including frequent travel to Bergen/Kristiansand
  • Advanced data analysis, including possibility of fMRI analysis
  • Write-up of papers


  • Master’s degree in neuroscience, psychology, medicine or a related field is a requirement
  • Excellent writing and communication skills (fluency in both English and a Scandinavian language) is a requirement
  • Experience with psychopharmacology, neuroimaging, pain, reward or addiction research is an advantage but not a requirement, and can be outweighed by other expertise
  • Strong methodological skills are an advantage (e.g. experimental psychology, statistics, programming, neuroimaging)
  • The candidate must be highly motivated, have good personal skills, able to work independently as well as in close collaboration with senior and junior researchers at different institutions

In assessing applications, particular emphasis will be placed upon the quality of the candidate’s personal suitability.

How to apply

The application must include:

  • Letter of application, 1 page maximum, explaining the motivation for applying
  • Short (1-4 pages) Curriculum Vitae summarizing education, positions and academic work
  • Names and contact details of at least two references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and telephone number).
  • International applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University’s grading system. All documents should be in Scandinavian or English.

We offer

  • A stimulating and friendly academic environment
  • Supervision and weekly project meetings
  • Competitive salary
  • Attractive welfare arrangements