PhD Position in Digital Twin for Safety Demonstration

Trondheim, Norway
Friday, 22 November 2019
End of advertisement period
Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

This is NTNU

At NTNU, creating knowledge for a better world is the vision that unites our 7 000 employees and 40 000 students.

We are looking for dedicated employees to join us.

About the position

One of the enabling technologies for subsea is all-electric systems for subsea valve actuation. It involves replacing hydraulic spring-based fail-safe actuators with battery powered electrical actuators. Electrical actuator technology allows for significant cost reduction of installation and operation, no environmental impact and the ability to operate in deep waters. All-electric activation can also improve safety, as the electric actuation solution allows for continuous monitoring of critical components as opposed to what is possible for mechanical and hydraulic components. The battery-assisted fail-safe operation requires extensive software functionality to ensure that safety valves will close upon loss of communication or power from connected facilities. The main challenge from a safety perspective is the qualification of the safety function under the consideration of the incorporated software modules under all conditions.

Main duties and responsibilities

The main objective of this PhD position is to research and develop a digital twin to assist safety-demonstration of all electric control systems, including battery assisted fail-safe functionality. The digital twin shall be used in all lifecycle phases - including design as well as operation of the system. In design phase, the digital twin will support the validation of the application program (software) including the interaction with the safety valves, and the impact of battery architecture and degradation phenomena of the system. In the operation phase, the digital twin will interface available monitoring data and support validation of application program updates and impact of detected faults. The research shall include the study of the capability and confidence level of the digital twin when it is used for the safety demonstration and validation.

This PhD position is part of the Centre for research-based innovation named subsea production and processing (SUBPRO). The Norwegian oil and gas industry is in the forefront with respect to subsea field developments, but new and innovative solutions are still required to meet current and future challenges. To accelerate the level of innovations within subsea production and processing, SUBPRO was established at NTNU in 2015. The Centre is supported by the Research Council of Norway and several international industry partners. For more information about SUBPRO, please visit our website:

The main supervisor for the PhD project is Professor Mary Ann Lundteigen (NTNU), with co-supervision by Gunleiv Skofteland (Equinor/NTNU) and Markus Glaser (Aalen University, Germany).

The start-up of the position is spring/summer 2020. The duration of the PhD position is 3-years, and includes a research stay with Aalen University (Germany) during this period.

The PhD position will be an integral part of the SFI SUBPRO, and it means that there will be a focus on understanding the whole picture, beyond the scope of own research focus. The research includes presenting at international conferences, in scientific journals, involving industry partners in ongoing research, and sharing results in collaboration arenas in the SUBPRO Centre.

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: Engineering Cybernetics, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety (RAMS) Engineering with a grade of B or better according to 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 position is also open for an integrated PhD for NTNU students starting the final year of their master's degree in autumn 2020; see for information about the integrated PhD.

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.

Other qualifications:

  • Some background in risk and/or reliability theory and methods
  • Some background in control theory and mechatronics
  • 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.
  • It is an advantage if the applicant can document previous dissemination activities (industry guidelines, scientific papers, presentations).

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

Personal characteristics

Required personal characteristics:

  • Excellent collaboration and communication skills
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Creativity and ability to organize own work

The motivation/cover letter must identify clearly how the candidate meets each of the qualification requirements listed above with references to relevant parts of the CV, transcripts and other attached documents. In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement.

We offer

Salary and conditions

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 3 years (without required duties). Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in Engineering Cybernetics.

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

Working at NTNU

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.

The national labour force must reflect the composition of the population to the greatest possible extent, NTNU wants to increase the proportion of women in its scientific posts. Women are encouraged to apply. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life ( Having a population of 200 000, Trondheim is a small city by international standards with low crime rates and little pollution. It also has easy access to a beautiful countryside with mountains and a dramatic coastline.

Questions about the position can be directed to Professor Mary Ann Lundteigen, e-mail .

About the application:

The application must include:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV) with information about the candidate’s prior training, exams, and work experience
  • Certified copies of transcripts and diplomas for the whole bachelor and master’s degree. An English translation of all education documents is required unless the documents are in Norwegian.
  • For applicants from universities outside Norway: A diploma supplement or a similar document that describes in detail the study and grading system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree
  • Motivation letter that clearly identifies how the applicant meets each of the qualifications mentioned in the section "Qualification requirements".
  • Research statement (no more than 2 pages), where the research interests within the given scope of the announced position are elaborated.
  • 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.
  • Name and contact information of at least two reference persons
  • Attachments of any other relevant documents (beyond what is listed above, including publications, certificates, diplomas, reference letters).

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. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI):

Applicants invited for interview must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number 2019/37754 when applying.

Application deadline: 15.01.2020.

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 Engineering Cybernetics (ITK)

Engineering cybernetics is the study of automatic control and monitoring of dynamic systems. We develop the technologies of tomorrow through close cooperation with industry and academia, both in Norway and internationally. The Department contributes to the digitalization, automation and robotization of society. The Department of Engineering Cybernetics is one of seven departments in the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering.

Deadline 15th January 2020
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Project
Place of service Trondheim

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