PhD position in Machine Learning for Cognitive Power Supplies in IoT

Trondheim, Norway
Friday, 13 September 2019
End of advertisement period
Sunday, 13 October 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

The Department of Information Security and Communication Technology has a vacancy for a position as a PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (IE), in the cross-disciplinary field of Internet-of-Things, Machine Learning and Electronics.

This is a researcher training position aimed at providing promising researcher recruits the opportunity of academic development in the form of a doctoral degree.

In Internet-of-Things applications, the energy available in embedded, wireless devices is a scarce resource that needs to be carefully managed. One aspect is the precise modelling of energy intake and energy buffering, so that IoT devices can make informed decisions about their sensing strategies. We call these cognitive power supplies.

The challenges with such approaches to power supplies are twofold: First, electronic instrumentation must be minimal and not introduce overhead that cannot be outperformed by the gained efficiency. This reduces the number of variables that can be observed. Second, the models need to be found and calibrated autonomously, and re-calibrate as the components age or the environment of the IoT device changes.

The position reports to the Head of Department.

Main duties and responsibilities

Within this project, we will design and validate approaches to realize power supplies that reveal more information about their current and future state, and that can be better controlled from software. The project is cross-disciplinary involving electronic design, software and statistical techniques and machine learning. Depending on the skills of the candidate, different aspects may be emphasized, for instance by focusing on

  • electronic design of self-monitored, hybrid power supplies,
  • statistical modelling of relevant effects,
  • transfer learning and model identification, and
  • explainability of machine learning models.

The research will be carried out in an interdisciplinary environment of several research groups, and under guidance of three supervisors,

  • Associate Professor Frank Alexander Kraemer from the Department of Information Security and Communication Technology (IIK), NTNU,
  • Associate Professor Kerstin Bach from the Department of Computer Science (IDI), NTNU,
  • Assistant Professor Bernd-Christian Renner from the SmartPort research group at the Hamburg University of Technology.

The research environments include

  • the NTNU Internet of Things Lab, which provides experimentation test beds for autonomous sensors and data that can be used as starting point for simulations.
  • The Norwegian Open AI Lab at NTNU, with expertise in machine learning, case-based reasoning and reinforcement learning.
  • The SmartPort research group at the Hamburg University of Technology, with experience in IoT energy management and access to relevant use cases.

Qualification requirements

The PhD position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is completion of a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in computer science, statistical machine learning, applied mathematics, communication- and information technology, electrical engineering, electronic engineering, or an equivalent education, with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. Applicants with no letter grades from previous studies must have an equally good academic foundation. Applicants who are unable to meet these criteria may be considered only if they can document that they are particularly suitable candidates for education leading to a PhD degree.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant.

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

Other qualifications

  • Publication activities in the aforementioned disciplines will be considered an advantage.
  • The applicant should have good communication skills and be willing to collaborate with other researchers in the cross-disciplinary group of people connected to this project.
  • Good written and oral English and Norwegian language skills. Applicants who do not master a Scandinavian language must provide evidence of good English language skills, written and spoken. The following tests can be used as such documentation: TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Minimum scores are:
    • TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test), 92 (Internet-based test)
    • IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted)
    • CAE/CPE: grade B or A.

Personal characteristics

  • Motivation for fundamental scientific research of practical relevance is essential.
  • High motivation for research work in a multidisciplinary way and ability to work independently.
  • Good organization and communication skills with interest in wider context of own research and ability.
  • Eagerness to disseminate research results through publications and presentations at international conferences. 

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, as well as motivation, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement.

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidate:

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 479 600 per annum before tax. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 4 years including 25% teaching assistance.

Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in Telematics ( As a PhD candidate, you undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. A condition of appointment is that you are in fact qualified for admission to the PhD programme within three months.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

General information

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. Under the Freedom of Information Act (offentleglova), information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have their name entered on the list of applicants.

Questions about the position can be directed to Frank Alexander Kraemer, via

About the application:
Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application. Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify the individual applicant's contribution to joint works, the applicant must include a brief description of his or her contribution.

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applicants invited for interview must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. 

The application must contain: 

  • Curriculum vitae (CV) with information about the candidate’s prior training, exams, and work experience.
  • A research statement (max. 3 pages), detailing research interests and initial plans with regard to the specific project description for this position provided above. The statement should also describe why the applicant is suited for the position, and how the project relates to previous education, research and competence.
  • Names and contact information of at least 2 reference persons
  • A copy of the master thesis (in PDF), or, for those who are near to completion of their MSc, an extended abstract combined with a statement of how and when the applicant plans to complete the thesis.
  • Certified copies of transcripts and diplomas of the bachelor and master’s degree. The documents have to be translated to English unless they are in Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, German or English.
  • Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement (for European Master Diplomas outside Norway) or a similar document that describes in detail the study and grading system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree.
  • Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI):
  • Pakistani applicants are required to provide information of Master Diploma from Higher Education Commission (HEC)
  • Applicants with degrees from Cameroon, Canada, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Nigeria, Philippines, Sudan, Uganda and USA have to send their education documents as paper copy directly from the university college/university, in addition to enclose a copy with the application.
  • Applicants invited for interviews must provide certified copies of transcripts and reference letters.

Incomplete applications will be rejected.

Application deadline: 13.10.2019.

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Information Security and Communication Technology

Research is vital to the security of our society. We teach and conduct research in cyber security, information security, communications networks and networked services. Our areas of expertise include biometrics, cyber defence, cryptography, digital forensics, security in e-health and welfare technology, intelligent transportation systems and malware. The Department of Information Security and Communication Technology is one of seven departments in the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering .

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