PhD Candidate within Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

Trondheim, Norway
Feb 20, 2020
End of advertisement period
Mar 31, 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

We have a vacancy for a PhD fellowship at the Department of Marine Technology

The PhD position is related to the topic “Bio-inspired flow sensing for articulated intervention autonomous underwater vehicles”.

You will report to Professor Marilena Greco, Department of Marine Technology, NTNU, Trondheim. Email:

Job description

This position is

  • Connected with the IKTPLUSS project “Autonomous Robots for Ocean Sustainability (AROS)” involving the collaboration of Engineering Cybernetics, Computer Science and Marine Technology Departments at NTNU
  • Associated with the multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence NTNU AMOS on “autonomous marine operations and systems” through the project AROS

By bringing together a highly interdisciplinary team from engineering cybernetics, computer science and hydrodynamics, the AROS projects aims to make pioneering contributions to the overall vision of making underwater robots capable of performing long-term autonomous operations. Such autonomy demands superior capabilities for sensing and interpreting the surroundings, for unsupervised decision making, and for extracting energy needed for operation from the ocean itself. The main outcome of the project will be new methods and knowledge constituting a significant step toward true autonomy.

Specifically, for this PhD study:

  • Motivation: Our hypothesis is that the surrounding unsteady environment can be identified through bioinspired or biomimetic sensing. Nature-inspired devices can mimic an artificial fish lateral line to sense the flow and relate this to the relevant features of the 3D image of the environment surrounding the articulated intervention-AUV (AIAUV).  
  • Research methodology and outcomes: Physical tests will be carried out on an AIAUV-like robot without thrusters and with prescribed bioinspired lateral oscillations (A) leading to a given locomotion in isolated conditions and (B) in a steady current and with an upstream blunt obstacle. Off-the-shelf and innovative flow sensors will be distributed along the robot to measure the local acceleration, velocity and pressure gradient. The robot geometry and its flexible motion will be modelled numerically with an advanced fluid dynamics method. The simulations will be validated against the experiments and will be used to identify in scenario (A) a link between body locomotion and measurements from the bioinspired flow sensors and in scenario (B) a link between the wake signature of an obstacle and the measurements from the bioinspired flow sensors.

Qualification requirements

Our research has civilian objectives. However, equipment restricted by export licenses and ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) is being used in the research project. Applicants that are citizens of Norway, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, EU or NATO countries are eligible. Other applicants are required to provide evidence of eligibility to use such equipment for their application to be considered/in their application.

  • The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is that you have completed a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in [subject area] or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic foundation. If you are unable to meet these criteria you may be considered only if you can document that you are particularly suitable 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.

  • Excellent English skills, written and spoken, are required. Applicants from non-English speak countries outside Europe must present an official language test report. The acceptable tests are TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Minimum scores are:
    • TOEFL: 600 / writing 4.5 (paper-based test), 92 / writing 22 (internet-based test)
    • IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted)
    • AE/CPE: grade B or A.

Other qualifications

  • Master students graduating summer 2020 can apply.
  • Master students graduating by the end of June 2021 may apply for admission as integrated MSc and PhD.

Personal characteristics

  • Hard working and dedicated
  • Highly motivated to perform interdisciplinary research using different research tools (experimental/ numerical/ theoretical)
  • High skills in physical understanding and mathematical modelling
  • Strong ability to express research work and results in English, both written and orally
  • Flexible and dependable
  • Collaborative

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

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, depending on qualifications and seniority. 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 Marine Technology ( 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.

About the application

The application should contain information of educational background and prior training, exams, and work experience. Certified copies of academic diplomas and transcripts must be attached. Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement or a similar document, which describes in detail the study and grading system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree.

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. A brief outline of possible research topics/strategies, relevant for the present call, may be included.

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 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.

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 are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters.

Please refer to the application number IV-82/20 when applying.

Questions about the position can be directed to Professor Marilena Greco, e-mail:

Application deadline: 31.03.2020

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 Marine Technology

We develop methods and technology related to the blue economy: oil and gas extraction at sea, ship technology and the equipment industry, fisheries and aquaculture. We also have a strong commitment to the development of sustainable solutions for offshore renewable energy, coastal infrastructure, and marine robotics. Marine technology helps to solve major global challenges related to the environment, climate, energy, food and efficient transport. The Department of Marine Technology is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 31st March 2020
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Department of marine technology

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