Postdoctoral Position in Microstructure of Sea Spray Ice

Trondheim, Norway
Thursday, 18 June 2020
End of advertisement period
Wednesday, 12 August 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has a vacancy for a postdoctoral candidate with expertise in applied engineering and physics, in particular physics of porous media and X-ray nano- or micro-tomographic imaging techniques (XRT). The candidate will be part of the Norwegian research programme “Microstructure of sea spray ice. Prediction of icing on marine structures” (MICROSPRAY). The project aims for a novel understanding of sea spray ice and its physical properties, as well its adhesion to coatings and materials. This understanding is to be obtained by innovative XRT imaging approaches at the Norwegian Centre for X-ray Diffraction, Scattering and Imaging (RECX) and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF).

The position has a duration of three years, and includes a mandatory abroad stay of one year. The working place of the postdoctoral candidate will be at the Department of Civil and Transport Engineering at NTNU. During the abroad period, that shall start after about half year, the candidate will be hosted at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France.

About the MICROSPRAY project: Sea spray icing implies a considerable risk and safety problem for the shipping and offshore industries. In cold , stormy weather sea spray ice can form extremely rapidly on ships and offshore structures. This process is, in contrast to normal ice formation on the surface of the sea or a lake, difficult to predict. This is mostly due to three complex interacting processes. First, the sea spray flux depends on spray generation created by breaking waves the transport of droplets with the wind. Second, sea spray ice accumulation is also dependent on cold air and water temperatures, the geometry and surface properties of a structure on which the ice is accumulating. Third, but not least, accumulation rates depend on the amount of unfrozen seawater entrapped in the porous spray ice: this water can contribute to more than half of the sea spray ice loads. It is the latter contribution that currently makes predictions of sea spray ice formation uncertain. The present project focuses on the microstructure of sea spray ice and crystal growth processes during sea spray ice accumulation. 3D X-ray tomographic imaging will provide important novel knowledge about the microstructure and properties of sea spray ice. This will enable us to improve models and predictions of its accumulation, e.g. through better knowledge of its liquid fraction. We will also obtain important information about ice-surface contacts for different materials, providing fundamental data and insight for the development of anti-icing materials and coatings. Improving our understanding of icing processes in the sea, the project will contribute to improved safety and risk evaluation in ice-covered waters.

The project leader will be Dr. Sönke Maus, and the position reports to the head of the Department of Civil and Transport Engineering.

Duties of the position

The candidate will contribute to the 3D X-ray imaging of sea spray ice performed in the main project. The duties of the position include both experimental and theoretical work based on the concept of Digital Rock Physics image and compute:

  • conduct laboratory experiments with in situ XRT imaging of the 3D pore microstructure of ice forming from sea spray in the X-ray laboratory at NTNU
  • collect natural samples for XRT imaging during Arctic field work
  • perform 3D image processing, analysis, and computation of physical properties based on the 3D XRT imagery of sea spray ice  
  • during one year stay abroad: perform the Digital Rock Physics methodology at the ID19 beamline of the ESRF synchrotron facility, to explore and analyse the unique capabilities of a large-scale facility 
  • present results on conferences and publish in international journals

Required selection criteria

A postdoctoral research fellowship is a qualification position in which the main objective is qualification for work in academic positions. You must have completed a Norwegian doctoral degree in physics, applied mathematics or related fields (engineering, geosciences), or a corresponding foreign doctoral degree recognized as equivalent to a Norwegian doctoral degree.

If, for any reason, you have taken a career break or have had an atypical career and wish to disclose this in your application, the selection committee will take this into account, recognizing that the quantity of your research may be reduced as a result.

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.

Required section criteria are:

  • availability for a 12 month long abroad stay at the ESRF synchrotron in Grenoble
  • solid knowledge in programming (e.g. Matlab, Python)
  • Experience with 3D image analysis and processing, preferably based on X-ray micro-tomography
  • self-motivation, willingness and availability to one to two weeks long travels (field work in the Arctic, shorter synchrotron visits)
  • interest in the design of laboratory experiments as part of the scientific method
  • good written and oral English skills

Preferred selection criteria

  • background on project topics like physics of porous media, crystal growth, glaciology, sea ice
  • working expertise at synchrotron radiation facilities
  • experience with 3D image analysis and processing, preferably based on X-ray micro-tomography

Personal characteristics

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed personal suitability:

  • the successful candidate will be a team player in a group with professors, researchers, PhDs and scientists from the industrial sector
  • self-driven with a strong ability to work independently when required
  • the candidate is expected to contribute to a supportive and friendly working environment

We offer

Salary and conditions

The employment period is 3 years, with an abroad stay of one year at the ESRF European Synchrotron Radiation Facility. The position does not include teaching duties. The starting date is somewhat negotiable between September 2020 and January 2021. Due to the currently uncertain situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, the starting date may be changed to adapt to decisions of the Norwegian Directorate of Health.

Postdoctoral candidates are placed in code 1352, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 542 400 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

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.

The position is subject to external funding by the Research Council of Norway and EQUINOR ASA.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily. The candidate is also able to participate in field work and available for a 12-months abroad stay during which the working place will be the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) I Grenoble, France .

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

The application must include:

  • A cover letter outlining your research goals and how your experience complements the goals of MICROSPRAY
  • One letter of reference (with name and address)
  • Two more names and address of references
  • Your CV
  • Diplomas and doctoral certificates
  • A publication list including citation rates according to Google Scholar or Web of Science. Highlight up to five of the most significant and relevant publications.
  • Any other academic work you would like to be considered in the evaluation

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability.

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

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.

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Dr. Sönke Maus, phone number: +47 73594707, e-mail: If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Senior Executive Officer HR Hege Johansen, e-mail:

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).

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number IV-141/20 when applying.

Application deadline: 12.08.2020

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 Civil and Environmental Engineering

We conduct research and teaching in civil and transportation engineering, technical planning, structural engineering, water and wastewater engineering and hydraulic engineering. Graduates from our programmes become employees in both the public and private sectors  with a sustainability mindset combined with competitive knowledge and skills. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 12th August 2020
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Trondheim