PhD Position, Department of Structural Engineering

Gløshaugen, Norway
13 Mar 2019
End of advertisement period
26 Mar 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

The Department of Structural Engineering has a vacancy for a PhD using numerical simulations and measured traffic loads in fatigue life estimation of existing railway bridges

NTNU is working with the Norwegian Railway Directorate and Bane NOR on challenging engineering projects for future railway systems. This work also considers our critical infrastructure such as existing railway bridges. Using numerical simulations and field measurements, we can improve our understanding and predictions methods of remaining fatigue life of railway bridges. This can also help to improve the design procedures and railway traffic loads used in relevant Eurocodes.

The Norwegian Railway Directorate is running a project with focus on existing infrastructure. A growing problem with infrastructure in the world today is aging and deterioration. Bridges are essential components of the infrastructure and these structures are reaching the technical life. The infrastructure owners need to ensure that components making up their infrastructure has a satisfactory standard in regards to serviceability and safety. The infrastructure owners rely on inspections and service life estimations to ensure that the bridges have satisfactory standard. Current inspection regimes are not robust enough to detect serious faults reliably under general conditions, typically cracks in the material due to fatigue or overloading. In these cases, augmented inspection by different types of sensor technology is necessary, reliably detecting failure modes.

The Structural Dynamics Group has had a great development over the last 10 years with a specific focused on dynamic simulations, field measurements, system identification, load modelling, remaining life estimation, bridge aerodynamics in field and by wind tunnel experiments. The Structural Dynamics Group works with all types of structural dynamics but has particularly experience from critical infrastructure of road and rail. The group has had a great focus on field measurements used for verification of load and response models.

The position reports to supervisor professor Anders Rønnquist.

Job description

The remaining service life of existing railway bridges must be determined to ensure safe and reliable operation of the bridges and allow efficient distribution of limited funds for maintenance and renewal of the railway infrastructure. Material fatigue is the primary damage mechanism in steel bridges and is determined by traffic loads at the bridge site. NTNU, the Norwegian Railway Directorate and Bane NOR are collaborating in a project to improve service life estimates of steel railway bridges by enhanced traffic load modelling.

The PhD candidate is expected to perform the following task during the study:

  • establish finite element models of existing bridges for global and local response analysis.
  • estimate stress response in railway bridges by numerical simulation of train passages.
  • conduct fatigue life estimation of critical bridge details with cumulative damage analysis.
  • perform load measurements of regular traffic on the railway infrastructure.
  • evaluate and enhance existing load models for fatigue life estimation of steel railway bridges.
  • participate in national and international scientific conferences and publish results academic journals.

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 Structural Engineering 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, postdoctor and research assistant

Other qualifications

  • suitable background (master’s degree) would be within structural engineering, bridge engineering, and structural dynamics.
  • experience in experimental research and to develop numerical models within the scope
  • experience from programing using such as Matlab and Python
  • good written and oral English, Norwegian language skills is appreciated

Personal characteristics

  • motivated and ambitious students with excellent grades
  • proficiency to carry out goal-oriented work and good cooperation abilities will be emphasize
  • excellent communication skills in scientific writing and oral presentation

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 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 3 years. Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in Engineering. 

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 please contact Professor Anders Rönnquist, Department of Structural Engineering, NTNU, Trondheim. 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-125/19 when applying.

Application deadline: 26.04.19

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 Structural Engineering

We teach mechanical engineering, engineering and ICT, and civil and environmental engineering. The Department conducts internationally leading research and participates in several large national research projects. The Department of Structural Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 26.03.2019
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Gløshaugen