Professor/Associate Professor in Assurance of Autonomous Systems

Trondheim, Norway
08 Apr 2019
End of advertisement period
05 May 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

In collaboration with the leading quality assurance and risk management company DNV GL, NTNU is establishing a new professorship in Assurance of Autonomous Systems.

Autonomous and self-learning systems are being introduced in safety-critical infrastructure across a growing number of industries. As these systems become increasingly responsible for making decisions that may ultimately affect the safety of personnel, assets, or the environment, the need to ensure safe use of such systems becomes a top priority. This includes the ability to understand the behaviour and functionality of autonomous systems, particularly the mechanisms and aspects affecting safety, and the ability to provide justified confidence in a system’s ability to operate safely. These are the main goals of this professorship.

The position will be affiliated with the Department of Engineering Cybernetics at NTNU’s Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering.

The position reports to Head of Department.

Work description

The professor/associate professor is expected to play a leading role in research and research-based education in assurance of autonomous systems in cooperation with the existing staff at ITK. She or he is also expected to establish collaboration with relevant colleagues at other departments at NTNU and within NTNU’s strategic research areas.

The term assurance is defined as being “ground for justified confidence”, and the level of required confidence depends on a system’s criticality. Confidence is established by providing evidence that the system meets defined requirements, and this evidence should be complete, correct, relevant and objective.

The challenges of being able to address assurance of autonomous systems is related to their inherent complexity, since their requirements call for advanced knowledge/model representations with mechanisms such as learning, adaptation, reasoning and optimization leading to complex software and human-machine interaction.

Together with specifications and requirements, performance metrics will form the basis for standards, rules, regulations, testing, verification, validation and certification. The professor should have competence and motivation for research in this area, with impact both on improving the performance of autonomous systems in terms of safety, robustness and reliability, as well as developing a solid foundation for testing, verification and validation of such systems.

In particular, research competence in the following areas is regarded as relevant for the position:

  • Autonomous systems, robotics and artificial intelligence
  • Optimization, systems and control theory
  • Big data analytics
  • Decision support systems
  • Human-machine interaction
  • Risk modelling, analysis and management
  • Safety and reliability engineering
  • Simulation technology
  • Software testing
  • Systems engineering
  • Embedded and real-time software engineering
  • Industrial computer systems

Research activities are expected to have a strong international profile and impact, with a long-term perspective and to be concentrated around basic challenges and enabling technologies with relevance and importance for applications and industry.

The department has strong relationships to Norwegian and international industry, with numerous joint research projects including applications in the maritime, offshore, energy, process, aquaculture and medical industries.

The research activities at the department rely mainly on external funding, and the development of educational programs may also receive external funding. The successful applicant is expected to engage extensively in applications for external research funding, e.g. from the Research Council of Norway, European research and educational agencies, the industry sector, and other available sources.

MSc and PhD candidates from the cybernetics study programs are expected to be competitive in an international job market. The professor/associate professor will contribute toward the department’s educational profile and promote an excellent learning environment, in collaboration with colleagues, students and external stakeholders. Specifically, the professor/associate professor is expected to teach one course of the department’s MSc program and a specialization course at MSc or PhD level. She or he should supervise MSc students, PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows.

In addition to research and education, the professor/associate professor is expected to disseminate relevant parts of the research to a wider audience.

The professor/associate professor is also expected to participate in the formal management of research, education and other relevant areas of activity in agreement with the head of department.

Qualification requirements

The applicant is required to have a doctoral degree or equivalent in a relevant area, and demonstrate professional qualifications in essential areas of assurance of autonomous systems as defined in the job description, with profound scientific competence within one or more of these areas.

For a position as associate professor, the applicant should have a good publication record in terms of papers in peer-reviewed journals and other relevant international publication channels. Successful acquisition of external research grants, experience with research leadership and relevant collaboration with industry should be documented and will be rated positively. The candidate should have a research potential which makes it likely to qualify for a full professorship within five years of employment, even with normal teaching duties.

For a position as professor, the applicant should demonstrate international experience and have a strong publication record in terms of papers in peer-reviewed journals and other relevant international publication channels. The applicant should document the ability to obtain external research grants from relevant funding sources, be internationally recognized and be able to initiate and lead research at a high international level.

For both position categories, the applicant should demonstrate the ability to develop educational activities and the learning environment. She or he should have experience with supervision of students or similar experience qualifying for such work.

The applicant should demonstrate communicative skills that qualify for excellent teaching, supervision and dissemination, and have good collaboration skills necessary for joint interdisciplinary projects.

Industrial experience and relevant collaboration with industry will be considered as highly beneficial.

Other requirements: 

Basic qualifications in the discipline of education are required. Anyone who is appointed without having formal basic qualifications in the discipline of education (formerly referred to as practical qualifications in teaching at university level) and who is unable to document equivalent qualifications is required to complete an approved course within two years of appointment. Uniped at NTNU offers qualifying courses. 

Pedagogical skills and qualifications will be emphasized. The evaluation will be based on documented material related to teaching, forms of presentation for the academic works, experience in teaching, supervision of doctoral and master’s degree subjects as well as other types of pedagogical background. Applicants with teaching experience at university level will be preferred. Quality and breadth will be evaluated.   

Employees who do not have formal qualifications in teaching at university level and who cannot provide documentation of equivalent qualifications must complete an approved pedagogical development programme within two years of appointment. 

The person appointed must comply with the decisions about changes due to developments in the subject area, and the organizational changes that may result from decisions regarding the university's activities. 

Proficiency in the English language must be documented. Proficiency in a Scandinavian language will be rated positively. It is a prerequisite that within three years of appointment new employees who do not speak a Scandinavian language can demonstrate skills in Norwegian or another Scandinavian language equivalent to level three in the course in Norwegian for speakers of other languages at the Department of Language and Literature at NTNU.  

Please see the Regulations concerning appointment and promotion to teaching and research posts for general criteria for the position. 

Personal characteristics

  • strong analytical skills
  • good communication skills, both oral and written.
  • good teamwork skills
  • flexible mindset to work on both fundamental and applied research
  • ability to work structured
  • solution and result orientation
  • interest and ability to work with students

In the assessment of the best qualified applicant, education, experience and personal suitability will be emphasized, as well as motivation for the position.

We offer 

Salary and conditions

The gross salary for the position of Professor code 1013 is normally from NOK 631 700 - 1 290 000 before tax per year, depending on qualifications and seniority. The gross salary for the position of Assosiate Professor code 1011 is normally from NOK 607 700 - 754 900 before tax per year, depending on qualifications and seniority.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. 

The person appointed must live in a location enabling him/her to be present at and available to the institution.

About the application

The application and description of the academic works to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.  
The application must include:

  • CV including information relevant for the qualifications and a full list of publications with bibliographical references
  • Diplomas and references
  • The most important publications that are relevant for the evaluation of the applicant’s qualifications (maximum 10 publications)
  • A brief description of the scientific/technological relevance of the candidate's research
  • Research proposal for the first five years of employment (maximum 10 pages)
  • Information about educational experience, including development of study programs, curricula, teaching experience, and development of teaching methods and the learning environment. See “Documentation of an applicant’s pedagogical qualifications”:
  • Information about dissemination activities
  • Other documents which the applicant would find relevant

Joint works will also be evaluated. If it is difficult to identify the contributions from individuals in a scientific collaboration, applicants are to enclose a short summary of her/his contribution.

Following the application deadline, a shortlist of applicants will be drawn up, and all applicants will be informed whether they are placed on the shortlist. Shortlisted applicants will be evaluated by an international expert committee. The top candidates from this evaluation will be invited for interviews and trial lectures. The evaluation will take into account not only the accumulated academic production but also the applicant’s potential for scientific development and personal qualities. Young researchers are therefore encouraged to apply.

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. NTNU wishes to increase the proportion of women in its academic positions, and women are therefore encouraged to apply. 

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 obtained from Head of Department Morten Breivik, e-mail:

Submit your application via Applicants invited for interview must bring certified copies of certificates and diplomas. Mark the application with reference number: 2018/4009

Deadline for applications: 05.05.2019.

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 Engineering Cybernetics (ITK)

Engineering cybernetics is the study of automatic control and monitoring of dynamic systems. We develop the technologies of tomorrow through close cooperation with industry and academia, both in Norway and internationally. The Department contributes to the digitalization, automation and robotization of society. The Department of Engineering Cybernetics is one of seven departments in the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering.

Deadline 05.05.2019
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Permanent
Place of service Trondheim