PhD Fellow in the Field of Artificial Intelligence for Public Health Applications

Trondheim, Norway
Aug 13, 2020
End of advertisement period
Sep 15, 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

The Norwegian Open AI Lab and Data and Artificial Intelligence group currently has a vacancy for two 3-year (or 4 with optional academic duties) in the field of Artificial Intelligence for Public Health. The positions are part of a research collaboration between the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Public Health and Nursing at NTNU.

In this collaboration we are a research team with a number of projects that bridges between AI and Public Health research. We have an open and interactive research environment with PhDs, postdocs and professors working together on novel concepts on how to utilize technology in societal challenges.

The position reports to Head of the Computer Science Department.

Duties of the position

Both positions will conduct applied research in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Public Health datasets. 

PhD1 (AI + HUNT) is part of a collaborative project investigating the relationship of objectively measured physical activity and sleep with various health outcomes. We have a dataset of 35 000 people that recorded their physical activity and sleep using accelerometers over a period of up to 7 days. This position will further develop existing machine learning models to detect specific physical activities and sleep characteristics from accelerometer data as well as to identify overall physical activity and sleep patterns. This unique dataset will be used to develop hypothesis and test them in an interdisciplinary setting of AI and Public Health researchers. We will experiment with state-of-the-art machine learning models and develop end-to-end machine learning pipelines to be tested on real-world data.

The candidate for position PhD1 must have profound knowledge of modern machine learning methods, frameworks and tools. Ideally, the candidate has a master’s thesis in this field. Moreover, the candidate needs to be open and can communicate technical details to non-technical collaborators. 

PhD2 (CBR + Health) is part of a recently started collaborative research project that investigates the use of Case-Based Reasoning (CBR) in musculoskeletal pain complaints for knowledge sharing among physiotherapists and their patients. We have developed an initial CBR system that provides decision support for clinical practice and, as part of this position, needs to be further developed. In this position we will investigate knowledge acquisition techniques for adjusting the knowledge containers over time. Furthermore, we plan to extend the existing CBR tool, myCBR, which required a profound knowledge of Java and Java-based development frameworks. 

The candidate for position PhD2 must have knowledge (theoretical or practical) of CBR and the existing frameworks and tools. Ideally, the candidate has a master’s thesis in this field. Moreover, the candidate needs to be open and can communicate technical details to non-technical collaborators.

Main duties and responsibilities for both positions

  • Develop research prototypes within collaborative, interdisciplinary research projects
  • Work in close collaboration with researchers in public health
  • Test and evaluate the solution in simulated and real environments
  • Disseminate results

Required selection criteria

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research. The qualification requirement is completion of a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in Artificial Intelligence and/or Machine Learning 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.

The candidate for PhD1 (AI + HUNT) should have the following qualifications:

  • Strong background in one or more of the following areas: artificial intelligence, computer science or machine learning.
  • Excellent programming skills - in one or more of the following languages: Python, Matlab, Java
  • Knowledge of modern machine learning methods, frameworks and tools such as SciKit Learn or TensorFlow

The candidate for PhD2 (CBR + Health) should have the following qualifications:

  • Strong background in one or more of the following areas: artificial intelligence or computer science
  • Excellent programming skills - in one or more of the following languages and/or frameworks: Java, Python, SpringIO, ElasticSearch
  • Knowledge (theoretical or practical) of CBR

For both positions, the following qualifications will be considered as an advantage:

  • Experience with modern machine learning
  • To efficiently communicate with external project partners, excellent written and oral English language skills are required
  • Research-oriented master thesis within the area

Personal characteristics

  • Ability to take initiative and work independently 
  • A positive and professional attitude as well as being a good team-worker
  • Social adaptability and communication skills
  • Willingness to learn new skillsets 

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 (or 4 with optional academic duties).

Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in Computer Science. 

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Computer Science (AI focus) 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.

The position PhD2 (CBR + Health) is subject to external funding from the Research Council of Norway.

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. 

The application must contain:

  • An explicit indication of which of the two positions (PhD1 or PhD2), the applicant applies for. If an applicant’s background and experience justify it, one can apply for both positions. In that case, the applicants’ research  statement should reflect information pertaining both positions. 
  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement or a similar
  • describes in detail the study and grading system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree.
  • Research statement (max. 3 pages) including
  • A short presentation of the motivation for a PhD study
  • How the applicant sees his/her background suitable
  • The applicant’s view of research challenges for the selected PhD position, as well as his/her theoretical and methodological approach to the challenges.
  • Names and contact information of three referees
  • 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 1 page, delivery of master thesis no later than September 30th 2020)

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.

Under 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.

The national labour force must reflect the composition of the population to the greatest possible extent, and NTNU wants to increase the proportion of women in its scientific posts. Women are encouraged to apply.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Kerstin Bach, +47 735 97410,, or the Head of the Department Professor John Krogstie, 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 2020/22026 when applying. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Application deadline: 15.09.2020

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 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 15th September 2020
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime (2 jobs)
Duration Temporary
Place of service Campus Gløshaugen

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