PhD Fellowship in Literacy

Job description

The University of Stavanger invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in literacy at the Faculty of Arts and Education, Norwegian Reading Center. The position is vacant from October 2020.

This is a trainee position that will give promising researchers an opportunity for academic development leading to a joint doctoral degree conferred by the University of Stavanger, Norway and Trnava University, Slovakia.

The appointment is for three years with research duties exclusively.

Vegg Kjølv Egelands hus

About the ELIT Training Network

The scientific goal of ELIT is to train a new generation of innovative researchers in the empirical study of literature.

As there are currently no inter- and transdisciplinary doctoral programs available across Europe within this thematic field, ELIT provides a new program offering comprehensive and integrative training that emphasizes the multidimensionality of reading.
ELIT stimulates true transdisciplinary research: our doctoral candidates combine theory-driven approaches with various empirical methods, and we are collaborating closely with a range of non-academic partners to draw in valuable insights about how reading can fulfil certain societal needs. ELIT consists of nine European Universities that are at the forefront of the empirical study of literary reading literature.

In addition, the network includes twelve non-academic partners from domains such as literacy (i.e., literacy associations, reading foundations, educational policymakers), bibliotherapy (i.e., reading groups, libraries), production (i.e., publishing houses), and research (i.e., eye tracking companies, international research networks).

ELIT comprises 10 PhD positions in three Work Packages (WPs): WP1 Fundamental processes underlying literary reading, WP2 Narrative empathy during literary reading, and WP3 Effects of literary reading on well-being.

This announcement is for ELIT ESR 9 which is a project in WP3, titled “Shared literary reading and mental well-being in the digital age”

Project objectives and Academic Secondment

This project will explore ways in which literary reading may positively affect aspects of mental well-being. The goal of the project is to assess the short-term effects of the shared reading program carried out in selected samples in and around Stavanger. Combining experimental methods and concepts from psychology (e.g., rating scales, working memory tests) with perspectives from literary text analysis (e.g., perspective-taking), the proposed project will carry out an empirical study of shared reading sessions over an extended period (approx. one year).

Focus will be on the interplay between the literary texts, the discussion/dialogue in the group, and participants’ experiences of the texts and the dialogues, during and after reading. Plausible methods include rating scales, memory tests, observation, surveys and interviews, in addition to qualitative text analysis.

Main supervisor at University of Stavanger is Prof. Anne Mangen.Co-supervisors: Prof. Frank Hakemulder and Assoc. Prof. Erin McTigue.

Planned Secondments:

Second supervisor and Academic Secondment at TRUNI: development, implementation and evaluation of shared reading programs in educational settings. Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Zuzana Petrová.  Length: 12 months (months 19-30)

Non-academic Secondment hosted by Læseforeningen: collaboration in identifying clinical and non-clinical samples to assess short-term effects of shared reading programs. Development of materials used to promote reading in reading groups, planning and implementing shared reading programs, and facilitating discussions and reflections about texts in the shared reading practice. Mentor: Dr. Mette Steenberg. Length: two months (months 32-33).

Enrolment in Doctoral Programmes: University of Stavanger (UIS) and Trnava University (TRUNI).

Project proposal

Part of your application packet is a short document/project proposal (max. three pages) describing how you would approach the research. This document is meant to reflect your writing ability, creativity and grasp of theory and research. It is therefore crucial that you make your best effort toward making the document reflective of your true abilities. When composing your proposal you may want to consider:

  • Which aspects of literary texts do you consider most relevant in nourishing mental well-being?
  • Why do you consider these textual aspects important?
  • How would you approach, define and operationalize such features/variables in an empirical/experimental setting?
  • What are your thoughts and perspectives on associations between literary reading, mental well-being and digitisation? 

You may find the following texts useful to help you draft your proposal:

  • The ELIT proposal (the academic parts) with special attention to WP3.

The following articles/book chapters/books:

  • Bálint, K., Hakemulder, F., Kuijpers, M., Doicaru, M., & Tan, E. S. (2016). Reconceptualizing foregrounding. Scientific Study of Literature, 6(2), 176-207.
  • Billington, J. (2016). Is Literature Healthy? Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Billington, J. (Ed.). (2019). Reading and Mental Health. (In particular, Chapters 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 15). Springer Nature.
  • Koopman, E. & Hakemulder, F. (2015) Effects of Literature on Empathy and Self-Reflection: A Theoretical Empirical Framework. Journal of Literary Theory, 9(11): 79-111.
  • Kuzmičová, A. and Bálint, K. (2019) Personal relevance in story reading: A research review. Poetics Today, 40(3), 429–451.

Qualification requirements and eligibility

We are looking for applicants with a strong academic background who have completed a Master degree (normally, five-years) master degree within relevant SSH disciplines (e.g., psychology, literary studies, media studies, literacy, linguistics, educational science) or cognitive science.

To be eligible for admission to the doctoral programmes at the University of Stavanger, both the grade for your master’s thesis and the weighted average grade of your master’s degree must individually be equivalent to or better than a B grade. If you finish your education (Master’s degree) in the spring of 2020 you are also welcome to apply.

Applicants with an education from an institution with a different grade scale than A-F should attach a confirmed conversion scale in English that shows how the grades can be compared with the Norwegian A-F scale.

Emphasis is also placed on your

  • motivation and potential for research in the field of empirical literary studies
  • ability to work independently and in a team
  • ability to work structured and to handle a heavy workload
  • good command of English, both orally and written

Oral and written fluency in one of the Scandinavian languages is preferred. Eligible applicants who lack such skills are expected to acquire basic skills in Norwegian during the first year of their PhD.

The call is open to applicants of any age and nationality who meet the abovementioned local qualification requirements, as well as the following requirements at the recruitment date:

  •  Must hold a (Research) Master’s Degree (e.g., Master of Science or Master of Arts) which would grant them access to doctoral level studies in the country where the degree was conferred.
  • Must not already hold a doctoral title and must have less than 4 years (full-time equivalent) of research experience. Full-time-equivalent research experience is measured starting from the date the applicants obtained their Master’s degree or equivalent qualification entitling them to embark on a doctorate, even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged.
  • Must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting organisation (Norway) for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date (Mobility Rule).

We offer

  • varied duties in a large, exciting and socially important organisation
  • an ambitious work community which is developing rapidly. We strive to include employees at all levels in strategic decisions and promote an informal atmosphere with a flat organisational structure
  • salary in accordance with the State Salary Scale, 17.515, code 1017, NOK 479,600.- gross per year with salary development according to seniority in the position. The salary is according to Norwegian regulations, and is guaranteed to fulfil the regulations of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions for Early Stage Researchers.
  • automatic membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund, which provides favourable insurance- and retirement benefits
  • favourable membership terms at a gym and at the SIS sports club at campus
  • employment with an Inclusive Workplace organisation which is committed to reducing sick leave, increasing the proportion of employees with reduced working capacity, and increasing the number of professionally active seniors
  • “Hjem-jobb-hjem” discounted public transport to and from work
  • as an employee in Norway, you will have access to an optimal health service, as well as good pensions, generous maternity/paternity leave, and a competitive salary. Nursery places are guaranteed and reasonably priced
  • relocation programme in event of moving to Norway, including support and language courses for spouses

Other information

See “Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of post-doctoral research fellow and research fellow, research assistant and resident” at the University of Stavanger.

The appointee will be based at the University of Stavanger, with the exception of a stay abroad during the Academic and Non-Academic Secondments.

It is a prerequisite that the appointee has a residence which enables him or her to be present at/available to the academic community during ordinary working hours.

Applications are invited for full-time Early Stage Researcher (ESR) / PhD student positions in the ELIT (Empirical study of LITerature) Training Network. These positions will be funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network, Grant Agreement no. 860516. For more information, please visit

Are you interested in applying for more than one position? You can apply for a maximum of three ESR positions. In case of multiple applications, applicants should submit one application with a separate research statement for each position and specify the priority order in their personal statement.

The position is announced in both Norwegian and English. In the case of differences of meaning between the texts, the English text takes precedence.

Contact information

More information on the position can be obtained from Prof. Anne Mangen (main supervisor), tel: +47 518 33 264 / +47 902 91 022, e-mail:

Information about the appointment procedure can be obtained from HR-advisor Camelia Danaei, tel: +47 518 33 149 e-mail:


To apply for this position please follow the link “Apply for this job”. Register your application and CV including relevant education and work experience. In your application letter you must show your research interests and motivation to apply for the position.

The following documents must be uploaded as attachments to your application in separate files:

  • Personal statement detailing the applicant’s motivations and goals within the program
  • Detailed CV (max 2 pages) with emphasis on academic achievements
  • Project proposal/research statement (max 3 pages) detailing how the applicant would approach the research project (please refer to the respective suggested reading to prepare your project proposal/statement)
  • Copy of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree certificate and transcript of records
  • Diploma Supplement or List of courses, grade/rank, teachers (optional) 
  • A reference letter by the MA supervisor and one other academic (or professionally relevant) reference
  • Copy of ID document

The documentation must be available in English. For certificates and other official documents in any other language, an English translation of each one must be provided. If the total size of the attachments exceeds 30 MB, they must be compressed before upload. Information and documentation to be taken into account in the assessment must be submitted within the application deadline. 

Please note that information on applicants may be published even if the applicant has requested not to be included in the official list of applicants – see Section 25 of the Freedom of Information Act.

UiS only considers applications and attachments registered in JobbNorge.

Campus flyfoto

UiS – challenge the well-known and explore the unknown

The University of Stavanger (UiS) has about 12,000 students and 1,800 employees. We are the only Norwegian member of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities. The university has high ambitions. We will have an innovative and international profile, and will be a driving force in knowledge development and in the process of societal change. Together with our staff and students, we will challenge the well-known and explore the unknown.

The Norwegian Centre for Reading Education and Research (The Reading Centre) is a part of the Faculty of Arts and Education at the University of Stavanger. The Reading Centre is involved in research, Ph.D. education, teaching and academic supervision at the Faculty. The Reading Centre has a National mandate from the Ministry of Education and Research to contribute to improving the overall quality of reading education in Norway; by supporting both work with language, text and communication in kindergartens and the teaching and learning of reading as a basic skill in all subjects in school. The Reading Centre is the country’s leading professional environment in the fields of reading and reading education. The Centre leads and participates in a number of large research and development projects – closely linked to the field of practice, and in collaboration with national and international actors. The Reading Centre has around 60 highly competent and dedicated employees forming an ambitious and creative working community.

Read the job description at the university homepage

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15th June 2020

Post expires on Monday June 15th, 2020