Phd Candidate at NTNU and University of Iceland, Department of Physics

Trondheim, Norway
20 Feb 2019
End of advertisement period
18 Mar 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

A PhD candidate position is available at the Department of Physics in the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The appointment has a duration of 3 years with the possibility of 1-year extension with 25% teaching duties in agreement with the department. The position includes a close collaboration with the University of Iceland (Faculty of Sciences) with extended research visits and it offers joint doctoral degrees in both institutions.

We seek applicants with the expertise and motivation to develop computational modeling of electrochemical reactions based on density functional theory (DFT) and atomistic simulations. To optimize the synergetic efforts of NTNU and Uni Iceland, we seek a candidate with a strong theoretical background in condensed matter physics / physical chemistry as well as expertise in electronic structure calculations and programming. The candidate should contribute actively to the bilateral project of the two universities by carrying out DFT simulations of basic electrochemical reactions and participating in method development. The project objectives are threefold: (i) Better understanding of basic electrochemical reactions relevant for renewable energies (fundamental science), (ii) contributing in materials design for better catalyst materials – in particular in terms of platinum-replacement (sustainability), and (iii) methodology development to incorporate the effects of applied voltage and the presence of electrolyte in reaction modelling. 

The position reports to Prof. Jaakko Akola at NTNU and Prof. Hannes Jónsson at Uni Iceland.

Job description

The position considers electrochemical simulations at the DFT level by using existing software packages and focuses on the following aspects:

  • Properties of electrode / nanoparticles interface (catalyst)
  • Mapping of molecular adsorption on catalyst model structures and search for descriptors
  • Reaction path modelling of CO2 reduction and coupling this information with the descriptors

Method development / testing will be carried out for a better description of the electrode/electrolyte interface to include external fields and the presence of the solvent (e.g. by polarizable force field embedded in a QM/MM scheme). In the first place, the benchmark reactions are HER and OER.

In addition, the candidate will participate in the development of machine learning algorithms for descriptor-based materials screening as well as atomization work flows and scripts for high-throughput simulations.

Qualification requirements

PhD candidate:

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is completion of a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in theoretical condensed matter physics/computational chemistry or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. Applicants with no letter grades from previous studies must have an equally good academic foundation. Applicants who are unable to meet these criteria may be considered only if they can document that they are particularly suitable candidates 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.

Other qualifications specific for the PhD position in question

A documented background in computational physics/chemistry is required with a focus on atomistic modelling (density functional theory and/or molecular dynamics).

The applicant must have good programming skills in at least one of the following programming languages: C/C++ and/or Python.

Experience from machine learning algorithms will be considered as an advantage.

The position requires spoken and written fluency in the English language. Applicants from non-English-speaking countries outside Europe must document English skills by an approved test.

Personal characteristics

  • The successful candidate should be creative, with a strong ability to work problem oriented.
  • He/she should also enjoy interdisciplinary research and take keen interest in learning and working in a team. In accordance with the bilateral project, the candidate is expected to make extended research stays in the University of Iceland.
  • 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. Female applicants are strongly encouraged to apply.

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidate:

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 449 400 before tax per year. From the salary, 2 % is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 4 years (with 25% teaching responsibility). Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme

As a PhD candidate, you undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. A condition of appointment is that you are in fact qualified for admission to the PhD programme within three months.

Appointment takes place on the terms that apply to State employees at any time, and after the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

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. Under the Freedom of Information Act (offentleglova), information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have their name entered on the list of applicants.

Questions about the position can be directed to Prof. Jaakko Akola, e-mail:

About the application:

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

Please refer to the application number 21/19 when applying.

Application deadline: 18.03.2019

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 Physics

Our research and teaching are both experimental and theoretical, covering a wide range of disciplines. Our activities contribute to development of new medical technology and to finding solutions for the next generation’s communication technology, energy utilization and development of materials. The Department of Physics is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

Deadline 18.03.2019
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Trondheim and Iceland

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