Funding Opportunity: Doctoral Research Fellowship in Russian Linguistics (University of Tromsø)

Deadline for Applications: August 18, 2016

Doctoral Research Fellowship in Russian Linguistics

Ref.: 2016/4945
Application website:

One Doctoral Research Fellowship (PhD) in Russian Linguistics is available in the Department of Language and Culture at the University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway (UiT). The position is affiliated with the CLEAR (Cognitive Linguistics: Empirical Approaches to Russian) research group. The appointment is a fixed term position for a period of four years.

The purpose of the PhD Research Fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a doctoral dissertation to be defended publicly. The candidate will be affiliated with the Faculty’s organized research training, and the academic work must result in a doctoral thesis aiming to obtain the degree of PhD within the period of employment. Admission to a PhD programme is a prerequisite for employment, and the programme period starts on commencement of the position.

The successful candidate must meet the requirements for admission to the Faculty’s PhD program, cf. § 6 of UiT PhD regulations. Moreover, the applicant must prove English language proficiency equivalent to the standards of Norwegian Higher Education Entrance Qualification, see PhD Regulations UiT. For more information, see also

For further information about the position (and the project), please contact professor Laura A. Janda, +47 77 64 56 80, email: and Head of Department of Language and Culture Eystein Dahl, phone +47 77 64 42 90, e-mail:


The position is affiliated with the Department of Language and Culture (ISK). The Department consists of 75 permanent employees, 10 adjunct professors, and approximately 30 PhD fellows. Additionally, the Department has approximately 25 temporary research and teaching positions. The Department’s core activities are research, teaching, and dissemination within linguistics, literature, art history, and
media and documentation studies. The Department has a very active and diverse research profile. It houses one of the world’s most excellent research communities in linguistics, with research groups within cognitive linguistics (CLEAR), Sami language technology (Giellatekno and Divvun), sociolinguistics
(LAIDUA), language acquisition (LAVA), and theoretical linguistics (CASTL-FISH). The Department’s research communities within literature, art history, and media and documentation studies are nationally highly competitive, and are organised into research groups such as Health Art Society (HAS), Russian Space, and WARGAME. ISK offers one-year programme education, Bachelor, and Master programmes within general linguistics, literature, art history, media and documentation studies, English, French, Kven, Finish, Scandinavian, Russian, Sami, Spanish, and German. It also offers PhD education within cultural/literary studies, art history, media and documentation studies, and linguistics.
CLEAR (Cognitive Linguistics: Empirical Approaches to Russian) is a research group led by two professors (Laura Janda and Tore Nesset) that includes members at the associate professor, researcher, postdoc, and PhD levels. CLEAR focuses primarily on the linguistic analysis of Russian from the perspective of cognitive linguistics. CLEAR is engaged in linguistic research on Russian that leads to publications, presentations at international conferences, language resources such as the TOROT historical corpus of Russian ( and the Exploring Emptiness database (, textbooks and teaching materials, and language technology applications. CLEAR has received three grants from the Norwegian Research Council, a grant from the Centre for Advanced Study in Oslo, and several grants from SIU (Senter for internasjonalisering av utdanning). CLEAR holds weekly meetings at which members critique each other’s manuscripts prior to submission to journals (internal peer review), “rehearse” presentations for upcoming conferences, discuss major relevant publications and events, and attend to administrative necessities (budget, reporting, etc.).

The position’s field of research/research project (and other duties)
This PhD position will undertake innovative research on Russian grammar and how it can be taught to second language learners. Among the greatest challenges facing a learner of Russian is a grammatical category called aspect. Russian verbs express either perfective or imperfective aspect, referring to the way in which an event is understood, roughly as either a complete whole or as an unbounded situation. This decision has to be carried out for virtually every sentence, since nearly every sentence contains at least one verb, and all forms of a Russian verb express aspect. It is extremely difficult both for linguists and for language teachers to explain when to select a perfective or an imperfective verb.

Textbooks devote considerable space to “rules” for using aspect, but nearly all such rules admit exceptions. These rules present various “triggers” for use of aspect, such as: “use perfective aspect in the presence of uže ‘already’”, or “use imperfective in the presence of vsegda ‘always’”. Recent research shows that the triggers for the supposed rules are actually fairly rare in authentic texts: CLEAR-group member Reynolds (2016) finds that such triggers co-occur with only about 2% of verbs in a Russian corpus. While the triggers are generally good indicators of aspect (yielding over 90% correct guesses according to rules), they aren’t plentiful enough to be useful. In other words, by focusing on the triggers, we are failing both as linguists to fully describe the phenomenon and as instructors to give our students adequate guidance. The aim of this PhD position is to promote a new line of research on Russian aspect that builds on the scholarly findings of the CLEAR group and will also yield an important resource for learners of Russian.

Qualification requirements

Applicants should have a Master’s degree in Russian Linguistics.
The successful applicant will work with topics in the field of Russian linguistics that will interface with existing research in the CLEAR group at UiT. The successful applicant will have conducted research on Russian linguistics and have excellent knowledge of both Russian and English. The ideal candidate will also have excellent knowledge of cognitive linguistics and a strong track-record indicating publication potential. The applicant must provide a project proposal with a progress plan encompassing the project’s main activities (approximately 3 pages total). It is a prerequisite that the applicant will be able to complete the project within the period of employment. Personal suitability will be emphasized.

Working conditions

The normal period of employment is four years. The nominal length of the PhD programme is three years. The fourth year, distributed as 25 % of each year, is reserved for teaching or other academic duties within the university. Please consult PhD Regulations UiT for further information. The position will especially be assigned teaching duties in Russian. A shorter period of appointment may be decided upon if the applicant has already completed parts of his/her research training programme or if the appointment is based on a previous qualifying position (PhD Candidate, research assistant, or the like) in such a way that the research training amounts to a total of three years. Remuneration for the position of PhD Candidate is in accordance with the State salary scale code 1017. A compulsory contribution of 2 % to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted.


The application must be submitted electronically via the application form available on Applications by e-mail will not be accepted. The application must include the following attachments:
-letter of application
-project description. Please see further information concerning the template for project description
-CV (containing a complete overview of education, supervised professional training and professional work)
-diploma and transcript of records from Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
-diploma and transcript of records from Master’s degree or equivalent
-diploma supplement for other completed degrees
-documentation of English language proficiency
-list of 2-3 academic referees, including contact details (name, relation to applicant, e-mail address and phone number)
-Master’s Thesis
-other works (published or unpublished) which the applicant wishes to be taken into consideration during the assessment process and a description of these.

The list of works should contain the following information:
-author(s), title of work
-for articles: the name of the journal and volume, first and last page of the article, year of publication
-for book or other independent publications: publisher, place of print, year of publication, number of pages

All documentation must be certified and translated into English or a Scandinavian language in order to be assessed. Information and material to be considered during the assessment must be submitted within the stipulated deadline.


The applicants will be assessed by an expert committee. During this assessment process, emphasis will be attached to the applicant’s potential for research as shown by: Master’s Thesis or equivalent, other academic works, and project description In addition, consideration may be given to work experience or other activities of significance for the implementation of the PhD research. This includes teaching education, teaching experience, experience from popular outreach and experience/education from other types of
dissemination. The best qualified applicants will be selected for interviews. The interview shall among other things aim to clarify the applicant’s personal suitability for the position.

Other information

Applicants shall also refer to the supplementary regulations for appointment to postdoktor (postdoctoal Research Fellow), stipendiat (PhD) and vitenskapelige assistent (Research Assistant) positions at the UiT and to the

Questions concerning the organisation of the working environment, such as the physical state of the place of employment, health service, possibility for flexible working hours, part time, etc. as well as questions about the PhD programme may be directed to the telephone reference in this announcement. UiT’s HR policy objectives emphasises diversity, and encourages all qualified applicants to apply regardless of gender, functional ability and national or ethnic background. UiT is an IW (Inclusive Workplace) enterprise, and will make the necessary adaptations in order to facilitate for employees with reduced functional ability. Personal data given in an application or CV will be processed in accordance with the Act relating to the processing of personal data (the Personal Data Act). In accordance with Section 25 subsection 2 of the Freedom of Information Act, the applicant may request not to be registered on the public list of applicants. However, the University may nevertheless decide to publish the applicant’s name. The applicant will receive advance notification in the event of such publication.