PhD Fellowship in Automating Policy Analysis Using Agent-based Modelling

Gjøvik, Norway
11 Oct 2018
End of advertisement period
31 Oct 2018
IE 164-2018
Contract Type
Full Time

The Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering ( at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has a vacancy for a PhD candidate position at the Department of Computer Science (

The PhD appointment is for a term of 4 years, with duties equivalent to 25 %, or 3 years without duties. Duty work, if relevant for a candidate, will primarily be related to support of education tasks. This is a researcher training position aimed at providing promising future researchers the opportunity of academic development in the form of a doctoral degree.

Information about the department

The Department of Computer Science (IDI, employs around 30 professors, 53 associate/assistant professors, 21 adjunct professors, approximately 112 PhD students and post-doctoral/ researchers, and 24 technical/administrative staff.

Project Description

The advertised PhD fellowship is situated within a wider interdisciplinary project that explores the computational evaluation of policy changes using simulation techniques.

Understanding the impact of policy changes in areas such as environmental or trade regulation is important to understand the implications on economic performance and social cohesion in modern open societies. In this interdisciplinary project, we collaborate with researchers from the areas of institutional analysis, technologists and social scientists to explore the automated development of executable agent-based simulation models from policy specifications.

The successful PhD student will work with encoded policy datasets, collaborate in the development of coding specifications, conceptualise and implement technical solutions to automate the generation of corresponding simulation models. While the general scope of the project is well defined, the fellowship provides the successful candidate with the opportunity to focus on devising methodological contributions, the development of analytical toolsets, as well as the analysis of policy change in specific scenarios.

Relevant background:

Applicants are required to hold (or about to complete) a Masters degree in computer science or any other discipline relevant to this project. Since this project operates at the intersection of multiple disciplines, the candidate’s ability and interest in interdisciplinary thinking and research is of particular importance.

The candidate should have practical experience in professional software development, including (but not limited to) experience with the use of general-purpose programming languages (such as C++ and Java), the development of software frameworks, and the use of statistical toolkits such as R.

Experience in one or more of the following areas is desirable: natural language processing, agent-based modelling (and platforms), applied machine learning, large-scale data processing, logic programming.

Beyond the technical abilities, a focal aspect in the evaluation process is the candidate’s aptitude for the research theme, ability to think analytically and systematic problem solving, along with the fit into the project and research environment.

Emphasis in the evaluation of candidates is further put on initial research experience, ideally evidenced by relevant quality-assessed publications in English language.

For this project, it is important that the candidate is able to work independently, while professionally coordinating their tasks with the supervisor and other members of the project.

Fluency in the English language is essential for this fellowship (details below).


A master's degree in Computer and Information Science or equivalent with very good results is required, with an average grade B or better as measured in ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) grades, or an education at the equivalent level. Experience with international research projects and financial applications is preferable for all positions.

Applicants must provide evidence of good English language skills, written and spoken. The following tests can be used as such documentation: TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test), 92 (Internet-based test),
  • IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted),
  • CAE/CPE: grade B or A.

In extraordinary circumstances, formal documentation of language skills can be relinquished. In such cases, the candidate’s language skills will be assessed in a personal interview.

Formal regulation for PhD candidates

PhD appointments are made in accordance with the regulations in force regarding terms of employment for PhD candidates issued by the Ministry of Education and Research, with relevant parts of the additional guidelines for appointment as a PhD candidate at NTNU. Applicants must undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme of study during their period of employment. The person who is appointed must comply with the conditions that apply at any time to employees in the public sector. In addition, a contract will be signed regarding the period of employment, including duty work if relevant.

Applicants must be qualified for admission as PhD students at NTNU. See for information about PhD studies at IME, NTNU.

Salary conditions

The PhD positions are in code 1017 Stipendiat, salary grade range 50-62 in the Norwegian State salary scale, and typically in salary grade 50-57, gross NOK 436 900 – 490 900 per year, depending on qualifications. A deduction of 2% is made as a statutory contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

General information

We can offer

  • an informal and friendly workplace with dedicated colleagues
  • academic challenges
  • attractive schemes for housing loan, insurance and pensions in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund

The Faculty of Information Technology, Mathematics and Electrical Engineering wants to attract outstanding and creative candidates who can contribute to our ongoing research activities. We believe that diversity is important to achieve a good, inclusive working environment. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of the gender, disability or cultural background. The appointment is subject to the conditions in effect at any time for employees in the public sector.

Under Section 25 of the Freedom of Information Act, information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have his or her name entered on the list of applicants. The application must contain:

  • A Statement of Purpose. The statement should include the applicant’s motivation for the position and elaborate on how the applicant’s background fits into this project. The statement should address which aspects of modelling policy change the applicant deems most challenging, potential avenues of addressing those, and discuss how the applicant’s competence can contribute to solving these challenges (2 pages).
  • Curriculum vitae (CV) with information about prior education, training and work experience
  • Certified copies of transcripts and diplomas
  • 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
  • Contact information for at least 2 reference persons
  • 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
  • Selection of maximum two publications in English language (if applicable)
  • List of publications (if applicable)

The application should be written in English language. Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration.

The application must be sent electronically as one combined PDF file via this page (

For further information about the PhD position, please contact Associate Professor Christopher Frantz (E-mail:, or the Local Head of the Department Professor Marius Pedersen (E-mail:

For information about the processing of the application, please contact Senior Executive Officer Anne Kristin Bratseth (Phone +47 73 59 67 15, E-mail:

Deadline for application: 2018-10-31

Mark the application: IE 164-2018

About this job

  • Deadline Wednesday, October 31, 2018
  • Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Website
  • Municipality Gjøvik, Trondheim
  • Place of service Gjøvik
  • Jobbnorge ID 158062
  • Internal ID 2018/32694
  • Scope Fulltime
  • Duration Temporary

About applications

  • Applications on this job are registered in an electronic form on
  • You must complete: Standard CV
  • Please refer to where you first saw this job advertised!