PhD Candidate in Online Risk Modeling of Autonomous Ships

Trondheim, Norway
Oct 29, 2020
End of advertisement period
Jan 10, 2021
IV 220/20
Contract Type
Full Time


About the position

We have a vacancy for a PhD Candidate in researching and developing online risk models for autonomous ships at the Department of Marine Technology.

The position is funded by SFI AutoShip (, the new 8 year research-based innovation Centre in autonomous ships. Here, we are joining forces with more than 20 partners from industry, public sector, universities and research institutes. Research areas cover competences that the Norwegian maritime industry needs in autonomy, digital infrastructure, maritime transport, safety and risk analysis, maritime law, human-machine interaction, and cyber security.

The position reports to Professor Ingrid Bouwer Utne as the main scientific supervisor of the research.

There are several PhD positions announced for SFI Autoship, and you are encouraged to apply for more than one position if they fit your background and interests.

Why apply for a PhD position?

A PhD position is a paid education for 3 years where you end up with a PhD degree. In this period, you are no longer a regular student, instead you are employed at the NTNU and in this case also part of a larger Center, the SFI AutoShip.  In a PhD position, you develop skills to solve complex problems beyond what you learnt in your master study. Norwegian industry needs this type of competence to stay competitive and develop new jobs for the future.

For this PhD position, we would like to promote that:

  • You are included in the multi-disciplinary team of SFI Autoship with other PhD students, master students, researchers, and industry experts.
  • You will relate your work with practical use cases like autonomous ferries, autonomous container ships, and autonomous surface vessels for marine operations, in close collaboration with the industry partners.
  • You will have a set of mentors around you (your supervisor team), in addition to your colleagues.

The PhD degree opens up new attractive career opportunities. Depending on your interest, you can qualify for being a scientific expert or manager in small and large industrial companies or continue as a researcher at a university or a research institute.

Duties of the position

Online risk modeling and decision support related to autonomous systems can occur in two complementary ways, depending on a system’s autonomy level, i.e., (i) risk modeling of the autonomous system from the perspective of the human operator(s) needing decision support; (ii) risk modeling from the perspective of the autonomous system itself, which is increasingly important in the higher levels of autonomy. The latter is the main focus of this project even though both perspectives need to be taken into account.

The focus of the position will be on: 

  • Developing online risk models for autonomous ships, including principles, requirements and use of different types of input data (historical, experience, simulations, real-time)
  • Analyze system missions and tasks, determine critical states, conditions, and potential consequences, and derive operational safety envelopes, in close cooperation with the use cases in the centre.

Required selection criteria

  • 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 written and oral English language skills
  • Excellent programming skills (MATLAB, Phyton)
  • For applicants that do not hold a Norwegian citizenship: Ability to be approved according to regulation on Control of the Export of Strategic Goods

Preferred selection criteria

  • Experience in risk analysis and risk modeling (any sector)
  • Experience with maritime systems
  • Knowledge about marine technology
  • Mastering of a Scandinavian language

Personal characteristics

  • Able to take own initiatives, and be able to work independently as well as in collaboration with others
  • Able to prepare and present organized status reports on own research
  • Willing to attend and follow up meetings in relation to the Centre activities
  • Able to structure own ideas in a logical and systematic manner
  • Eager to disseminate research results through publications and presentations at international conferences

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

About the application

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. Preferably, all attachments should be combined into a single file.

The application must contain:

  • CV including information relevant for the qualifications and contact information for at least 2 reference persons
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and transcripts.
  • Applicants from universities outside of Norway are 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.
  • A short research statement (max. 3 pages) including:
    • A short presentation of the motivation for a PhD study
    • The applicant’s view of research challenges for the PhD position.

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.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Candidates found relevant for the position will be contacted.

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 Ingrid Bouwer Utne, telephone +47 98222465 email If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Marit Gjersvold, 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 220/20 when applying.

Application deadline: 10.01.2021

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 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 10th January 2021
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Permanent
Place of service

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