Multi-Objective Optimization of Ship Trajectory in Close-Range Manoeuvring

Ålesund, Norway
05 Mar 2019
End of advertisement period
31 Mar 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

We have a vacancy for a Postdoctoral Fellow at The Mechatronics lab at Department of Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering.

This is a research position links to the Knowledge-Building Project for Industry (KPN) "Digital Twins for Vessel Life Cycle Service" to support the development of digital twins system for marine industry. The Postdoc candidate will be located at NTNU in Ålesund, together with the academic research group at the campus and research teams in the collaborative companies, to develop knowledge within the specified area of research:

Multi-objective Optimization of Ship Trajectory in Close-Range Manoeuvring

The position reports to Prof. Houxiang Zhang and Assoc. Prof. Guoyuan Li.

Job description

  • Maneuvering of surface vessels for maritime operations in close-range areas has become increasingly demanded in maritime industry. The limited vessel working space, the positioning and the heading requirements during operations and the maritime traffic nearby constitute a complex spatial environment. In addition, the presence of uncertainty, especially the environmental perturbations increases maneuvering complexity.
  • Trajectory planning, as a support means for ship maneuvering in close-range areas, is helpful for ship safety to some extent. The challenges for this type of optimization lie in three folds. First, the obstacles such as nearby ships are dynamic, which means the planning algorithm must fast enough to respond to the changes from the surroundings. Second, the sea current has a strong effect on the ship, when the current speed is close to the maneuvering speed. How to achieve efficient maneuvering by taking certain optimal metrics like minimal time or energy is worth to study. Third, the planning results should also comply with maneuvering regulations such as COLREGs, to make it more applicable in real situations. In addition, ship maneuverability should also be taken into consideration.
  • The Postdoc candidate will utilize optimization technology and focus on ship trajectory generation under different situations to support advanced maneuver in maritime operations. The Postdoctoral candidate will be guided and supported to develop optimization tools and integrate them into the framework of the KPN project.

Qualification requirements

Postdoctoral fellow:

A postdoctoral research fellowships is a qualification position in which the main objective is qualification for work in academic positions. Completion of a Norwegian doctoral degree in Applied Mathematics, Automation, Computer Science, or control and cybernetics or corresponding foreign doctoral degree recognized as equivalent to a Norwegian doctoral degree is required.

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, postdoctor and research assistant

( her kan det i tillegg legges inn øvrige krav og ønsker, som bl.a. relevant erfaring)

Other qualifications

Applicants have to strictly address the following selection criteria:

  • A highly motivated candidate with a PhD degree (or equivalent) in Applied Mathematics, Automation, Computer Science, or control and cybernetics
  • Experience with and good knowledge of optimization and control theory
  • Written and oral fluency in English. 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

Extra requirements:

  • Have knowledge in optimization technology, especially some multi-optimization methods.
  • Have experience in using optimization libraries

Personal characteristics

  • Keen interest in the wider context of own research, and an ability to engage in cross-disciplinary teams
  • A high level of personal responsibility, initiative, and ability to work in a project team and independently
  • Excellent communication skills with both technical and administrative staff
  • Devoted and internally motivated person to work within research and academy

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

Postdoctoral candidates are remunerated in code 1352, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 515 200 before tax per year. From the salary, 2 % is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

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. Houxiang Zhang, 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 IV - 115/19 when applying.

Application deadline: 31 March 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 Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering

We aim to be a hub of international knowledge and innovation in maritime operations. This involves education and research on the design of ships and marine equipment as well as on the operation of vessels. Maritime operations integrate technology, human factors and business. The interfaces between these areas often spark inspiration for innovation and new solutions. The Department of Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 31.03.2019
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Ålesund
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service NTNU Ålesund