PhD Candidate in the area of Digital Twins and Artificial Intelligence for Improved Personal Health

Trondheim, Norway
Wednesday, 4 August 2021
End of advertisement period
Thursday, 30 September 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

About the position

At the Department of Computer Science, we have a vacancy for a PhD candidate in the area of Digital Twins and Artificial Intelligence for Improved Personal Health and a more Sustainable Health Care System.

The future health care system will increasingly be data-driven, the citizens will be more in charge of their own health (empowerment, prevention) and decision support will be an integrated part of the everyday clinical practice. Combined, this will relieve the health care system and make it sustainable also in the future with a more elderly population.

We envision that a digital twin ecosystem (One Citizen - One Digital Twin) could substantially contribute to the effective realization of such a health care system. A Digital Twin (DT) is a digital/virtual representation/model of the physical twin/counterpart (PT), often connected through sensor data from the PT that enables the DT to provide feedback and predictions to the PT. DT technology is increasingly being used in domains like construction and manufacturing and is expected to play a key role in the digital transformation of many areas in the coming years. In the case of health-related digital twins (DTs) this means that your own personal twin would look after you throughout life, that this twin, that you are in charge of, will know as much as possible about you, and that the combined data from all the twins are used to generate new actionable knowledge applicable in various fields to both yourself (self-management of health) and the health care system in general (e.g. decision support) through the functionally provided by your twin (i.e. bridging the gap between citizens and the health-care system). 

In the proposed PhD-project the candidate will contribute to the realization of a proof-of-concept DT ecosystem, focusing on wearables and state-of-the-art AI research connected to the analysis of vital signs and time series. You will also be given a unique opportunity to form how a future data-driven health care system might look like. To participate in these discussions, it will be beneficial to have a genuine interest and knowledge in some of the other key underlying DT technologies (in addition to machine learning), e.g. IoT, 5G, BigData, cloud computing, mobile/web development, GUI/HCI, synthetic health data, explainable AI, privacy (regulations, federated learning, differential privacy), information security and ethics. The project will be part of ongoing activity and related projects for health and medicine (e.g. wearables, distance follow-up, home hospital) among key NTNU faculties and departments with associated partners and collaborators.

This PhD project is a part of the PERSEUS doctoral programme: A collaboration between NTNU - Norway’s largest university, 11 top-level academic partners in 8 European countries, and 8 industrial partners within sectors of high societal relevance. 

Within PERSEUS we will recruit 40 PhD candidates who want to contribute to a smart, safe and sustainable future. We are looking for highly skilled PhD candidates motivated to approach societal challenges within one of the following thematic areas:

  • Big data and AI.
  • Digital Twins.
  • Internet of Things.
  • Extended Reality.
  • Information and Cyber Security.

All participants in the PERSEUS network bring unique and important qualities with them into the doctoral programme. The PERSEUS PhD candidates will have the opportunity to collaborate with researchers in the partner institutions and in other project consortia, and benefit from these collaborative research and education activities.

As part of the PERSEUS team you will work alongside other highly motivated and talented PhD candidates and researchers. You will also have access to the knowledge base, state-of-the-art research infrastructure, and impact orientation of the partners in the team.

In addition to your education and development within the thematic research area, you will gain transferable skills within project development and management, science communication, research ethics, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking, as well as basic university didactics.

As a PERSEUS PhD candidate, you will be employed by NTNU. During your stay, you will do a 2-3 month international stay and a 1-2 month national stay with one of the PERSEUS partners. This will allow you to extend your network within academia and industry, and to learn about your research area from an academic, innovation, and societal perspective.

The duration of the PhD employment is 36 months.

Starting gross salary is 491.200 NOK/year (equal to approx. 50.133 EUR/year by the exchange rate of May 2021).

We are looking for PhD candidates from all nationalities, who want to contribute to our quest to create knowledge for a better world. PERSEUS recruits candidates according to the EU’s mobility rule, i.e. applicants cannot have spent more than 12 months in Norway during the last 3 years.

We believe in fair and open processes. All applications will be considered through a transparent evaluation procedure, with independent observers involved.

The position's working place is NTNU campus in Trondheim. You will report to the Head of the Department.

We look forward to welcome you to the PERSEUS team.

Duties of the position

  • contribute to the overall design of the digital twin ecosystem;
  • further develop the knowledge generation engine with special focus on deep learning models for vital signs insights and time series analysis;
  • undertaking the necessary courses (30 ECTS) as part of the PhD programme; 
  • submitting an application for admission and a research plan no later than 3 months after the employment; 
  • conducting high quality research and report progress on a regular basis and in agreement with the supervisors.

Required selection criteria

  • International mobility requirements: Applicants of any age and any nationality will be eligible as far as they fulfil the mobility requirement of the COFUND programme, namely, the applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host organization (Norway) for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the call deadline of PERSEUS.
  • Education requirements: 5 years of higher education (BSC and MSC) or education equal to (300 ECTS). The grade requirements are B or higher (based on NTNU’s grading scale). Education will have to be documented by diploma supplement or equivalent documentation in English and include a description of the educational system. International Relations do require Chinese diplomas to be verified using CHSI. The NTNU Office of International Relations will evaluate degrees and diplomas.
  • Language skill requirements: The applicants will be asked to provide evidence of good English language skills, written and spoken. The following certificates may be used as such evidence: TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).
  • Export of Knowledge Control: The PhD candidates who, based on a comprehensive first-hand assessment, might come into conflict with legislation governing exports of knowledge, technology and services will not advance further from the first stage in the recruitment process. For further information, please refer to the Export Control Act. 

In addition, the candidate must have:

  • a master’s degree in computer science or equivalent with strong analytical skills (e.g. abstract and mathematical thinking),
  • relevant background and experience within AI / machine learning / deep Learning,
  • excellent programming skills and good knowledge of key programming languages and frameworks used in date science and machine learning,
  • fluent in the English language, excellent written and oral communications skills.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant  

Preferred selection criteria

  • ability to work independently as well as collaboratively in a cross disciplinary environment,
  • ability to interact and cooperate with actors in academia, public sector and industry,
  • ability to thrive and contribute to the work environment,
  • have a good understanding of the connection between technology, processes, and human interaction,
  • have an interest for health-related digital twins and possess skills related to some of the underlying DT technologies, e.g. IoT, bigdata, cloud computing, mobile/web development, GUI/HCI, explainable AI, privacy and information security.

Personal characteristics

  • self-motivated, focused and goal-oriented,
  • be innovation driven, enthusiastic and ambitious,
  • be scientifically curious and open to new research challenges,
  • demonstrate independence and persistence in addressing technical problems,
  • ability to work independently as well as being a team player (e.g. behave respectfully and value the inputs and opinions of others),
  • be committed and keep deadlines.

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017 and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 491 200 per annum before tax, however it may be negotiable (increased) depending on high level of qualifications and research experience of the candidate. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years. 

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Computer Science (IDI) within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. 

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.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution on a daily basis.

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. 

Please submit your application electronically via Jobbnorge website. Applications submitted elsewhere/incomplete applications will not be considered. Applicants must upload the following documents within the closing date:

  • A short cover letter identifying your motivation and suitability for the position (based on the stated selection criteria)
  • CV including information relevant for the qualifications, submitted together with an identification document.
  • Name, current affiliation and email address of at least 2 persons that will provide reference for you.
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and transcripts and the reference letter.
  • Applicants from universities outside of Norway will be requested to send a diploma supplement (or a similar document) which describes in details 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).
  • A research statement (maximum 2 pages) related to the topic of the proposed PhD position (i.e. health, AI and DTs), including a short description of the applicant’s current research interests and view towards future directions and challenges in the field (e.g. theoretical and methodological approaches).
  • Scientific publications (if any). 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.

According to the 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 Professor Frank Lindseth, telephone +47 92809372, email, or the Head of the Department Professor Heri Ramampiaro, email

If you are invited for an interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number 2021/37807 when applying. 

Application deadline: 30.09.2021.

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 Computer Science 

We are the leading academic IT environment in Norway, and offer a wide range of theoretical and applied IT programmes of study at all levels. Our subject areas include hardware, algorithms, visual computing, AI, databases, software engineering, information systems, learning technology, HCI, CSCW, IT operations and applied data processing. The Department has groups in both Trondheim and Gjøvik. The Department of Computer Science is one of seven departments in the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering 

Deadline 30th September 2021
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Campus Trondheim

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