PhD Scholarship in Sustainable Design and Renewable Energy

Trondheim, Norway
13 Aug 2019
End of advertisement period
30 Sep 2019
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

This is NTNU

At NTNU, creating knowledge for a better world is the vision that unites our 7 000 employees and 40 000 students.

We are looking for dedicated employees to join us.

About the position

The Department of Design (ID) is offering a PhD-scholarship in the research area of sustainable design and renewable energy, for a period of 3 years.

At present, the Department of Product Design is engaged in research and education in the areas of Interaction Design, Design for Sustainability and Systems and Service Design. In 2011, ID established a research group in sustainable design, focusing among others on renewable energy, technology and stakeholder inclusion. Members of this group are currently responsible for two nationally funded research projects MSESSD and SAMAJ in Nepal (see below). The department wishes to strategically expand the research and teaching activities in this group.

The announced PhD position is within the Strategic Research Area ‘NTNU Energy’ ‘NTNU Energy’ suggests connecting research on energy-related projects in Low and Middle Income Countries in Asia and Africa. The position will relate to existing expertise from these projects and generate knowledge for NTNU ‘Energy’ and for the following projects.

  • NORAD/ EnPe project on Energy for Sustainable Social Development, MSESSD (Nepal) at ID,
  • NORPART mobility project on "Transdisciplinary Education for a Sustainable Society", SAMAJ(Nepal) at ID.
  • EnPe project on renewable energy (Capacity5 network project, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique.             
  • NORPART Mobility project on «Energy Technology» (Tanzania, University of Dar es Salaam).

The position comprises a comparative research and possible iteration or redesign of renewable energy systems in rural and peri-urban areas in Nepal and Tanzania. Background is the necessity for a balanced regional development in Nepal and Tanzania, where energy access is a basic enabler for poverty reduction, health improvement and economic progress.

Findings from the projects above show that

  1. technical skills and social responsiveness have equal importance when designing and implementing renewable energy solutions;
  2. renewable energy solutions have most impact when stakeholders are included;
  3. designers can facilitate this inclusion.

The position reports to Head of department, Ole Andreas Alsos.

Main duties and responsibilities

Renewable energy has been explored in a long-term collaboration between NTNU and African, as well as Nepalese Universities. The PhD position will be built on project experiences from design, renewable energy technology, and stakeholder collaboration activities in Nepal and Tanzania.

The candidate will be part of a research team comprising participants from the projects above. The main supervisor will be from Department of Design, the co-supervisor from the Department of Energy and Process Engineering. Experts from Nepal and Tanzania will supplement the team.

The PhD research should contribute to the following goals:

  • Explore cross country synergies from the Nepal and Tanzania experiences within the area of small-scale renewable energy systems.
  • Explore potentials for using similar technology in Nepal and Tanzania
  • Explore potentials for using similar strategies for stakeholder inclusion in Tanzania and Nepal. 
  • Promote Nepal-Tanzania collaboration on renewable energy challenges

Qualification requirements

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 sustainable design or rural renewable energy design, 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.

We wish specially to get in touch with applicants who can document previous experience in the areas of research design for renewable energy and stakeholder involvement. Candidates for the position should also be motivated to work in an interdisciplinary team, exploring renewable energy technology, and social aspects of solutions. This work comprises e.g. testing a particular institutional solar cooking system developed by the Department of Energy and Process Engineering at NTNU.

Applicants are asked to supply a letter of introduction describing the motivation for seeking a PhD study within the area of design and implementation of renewable energy solutions in rural areas of Low and Middle Income Countries.

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

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

Other qualifications

  • The successful applicant will be based at the NTNU’s Department of Design in Trondheim.
  • Applicants must be fluent in English and preferably also in a Scandinavian language.
  • Applicants are asked to supply a letter of introduction describing the motivation for seeking a PhD study within the area of design and implementation of renewable energy solutions in rural areas of Low and Middle Income Countries.

Personal characteristics

 The candidate should be committed to research, hard-working, and show a responsible attitude toward designing renewable energy solutions  
 for rural stakeholders.

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.

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 479 600 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, starting from 1 January 2020. Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in Design.

The PhD candidate participates in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. A condition of appointment is that the applicant in fact are qualified for admission to the PhD programme within three months.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criterias in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. 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.

The national labour force must reflect the composition of the population to the greatest possible extent, NTNU wants to increase the proportion of women in its scientific posts. Women are encouraged to apply. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life  Having a population of 200 000, Trondheim is a small city by international standards with low crime rates and little pollution. It also has easy access to a beautiful countryside with mountains and a dramatic coastline.

Questions about the position can be directed to Professor Martina Keitsch, phone number +47 41 01 84 34, 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. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).

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

Please refer to the application number AD-30/19 when applying.

Application deadline: 30.09.2019

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 Design

We are located in both Trondheim (industrial design) and Gjøvik (graphic design and web technology). Both groups have expertise in interaction design and share research interests in health and welfare technology. The design environment links many technology communities at NTNU, and nationally the Department has extensive collaboration with Norwegian industrial companies. The Department of Design is one of four departments in the Faculty of Architecture and Design.

Employer: NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality: Trondheim
Scope: Fulltime
Duration: Temporary
Place of service: Department of Design