PhD Research Fellowship in Machine Learning for Cognitive Power Management in IoT

Trondheim, Norway
13 May 2020
End of advertisement period
01 Jun 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

This is a researcher training position aimed at providing promising researcher recruits the opportunity of academic development in the form of a doctoral degree.

Bringing intelligence into Internet-of-Things systems is mostly constrained by the availability of energy. Devices need to be wireless and small in size to be economically feasible and need to replenish their energy buffers using energy harvesting. In addition, devices need to work autonomously, because it is unfeasible to operate them manually or change batteries there's simply too many of them. To make the best of the energy available, IoT devices should plan wisely how they spend their energy, that means, which tasks they should perform and when. This requires the development of policies. Due to the different situations, the various devices may find themselves in, it will also vary from device to device which policies are best, which suggests the use of machine learning for the autonomous, individual development of energy policies for IoT devices.

One special focus in this project is the modeling of the power supply of the IoT devices, that means, the submodule that combines energy harvesting and energy buffering. Both are processes that are highly stochastic and probabilistic and vary over time and with the age of the device yet have major impact on a devices ability to perform well. In addition, due to the constraints, the approach itself must be computationally feasible and not itself consume too much energy. Combining machine learning for power supplies with the application goals of the IoT device is therefore a research challenge.

Duties of the position

Within this project, we will design and validate machine-learning approaches to model power supplies to know more about their current and future state, and energy budget policies that allow IoT devices to perform better and autonomously. The project is cross-disciplinary involving electronic design, software and statistical techniques and machine learning. Depending on the skills of the candidate, different aspect may be emphasized, for instance focusing on statistical modelling of relevant effects, transfer learning and model identification, and explainability of machine learning models. Experience with electronics may be beneficial but are not strictly required.

The research will be carried out in an interdisciplinary environment of several research groups, and under guidance of three supervisors,

  • Associate Professor Frank Alexander Kraemer from the Department of Information Security and Communication Technology (IIK), NTNU,
  • Associate Professor Kerstin Bach from the Department of Computer Science (IDI), NTNU,
  • Assistant Professor Bernd-Christian Renner from the SmartPort research group at the Hamburg University of Technology.

The research environments include

  • the NTNU Internet of Things Lab, which provides experimentation test beds for autonomous sensors and data that can be used as starting point for simulations.
  • The Norwegian Open AI Lab at NTNU, with expertise in machine learning, case-based reasoning and reinforcement learning
  • The SmartPort research group at the Hamburg University of Technology, with experience in IoT energy management and access to relevant use cases.

Required selection criteria

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 computer science, statistical machine learning, applied mathematics, communication- and information technology, electrical engineering, electronic engineering, or an 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.

Preferred selection criteria

  • Motivation for fundamental scientific research of practical relevance is essential.
  • Publication activities in the aforementioned disciplines will be considered an advantage.
  • The applicant should have good communication skills and be willing to collaborate with other researchers in the cross-disciplinary group of people connected to this project.
  • Good written and oral English and Norwegian language skills. Applicants who do not master a Scandinavian language must provide evidence of good English language skills, written and spoken. 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.

Personal characteristics

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

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 479 600 per annum before tax. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 4 years including 25% of teaching assistance. Students at NTNU can also apply for this position as part of an integrated PhD program ( Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in Information Security and Communication Technology ( 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.

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 criteria 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.

About the application

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates (all in one combined PDF file). Applications submitted elsewhere or incomplete applications will not be considered.

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.

The application must contain: 

  • Curriculum vitae (CV) with information about the candidate’s prior training, exams, and work experience.
  • A research statement (max. 3 pages), detailing research interests and initial plans with regard to the specific project description for this position provided above. The statement should also describe why the applicant is suited for the position, and how the project relates to previous education, research and competence.
  • Names and contact information of at least 2 reference persons
  • A copy of the master thesis (in PDF), or, for those who are near to completion of their MSc, an extended abstract combined with a statement of how and when the applicant plans to complete the thesis.
  • Certified copies of transcripts and diplomas of the bachelor and master’s degree. The documents have to be translated to English unless they are in Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, German or English.
  • Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement (for European Master Diplomas outside Norway) or a similar document that describes in detail the study and grading system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree.

Applicants invited for interviews must provide certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number 2019/29020 when applying.

  • Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI):
  • Pakistani applicants are required to provide information of Master Diploma from Higher Education Commission (HEC)
  • Applicants with degrees from Cameroon, Canada, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Nigeria, Philippines, Sudan, Uganda and USA have to send their education documents as paper copy directly from the university college/university, in addition to enclose a copy with the application.

Application deadline: 1 June 2020

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 Frank Alexander Kraemer, via

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 Information Security and Communication Technology

Research is vital to the security of our society. We teach and conduct research in cyber security, information security, communications networks and networked services. Our areas of expertise include biometrics, cyber defence, cryptography, digital forensics, security in e-health and welfare technology, intelligent transportation systems and malware. The Department of Information Security and Communication Technology is one of seven departments in the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering.

Deadline 1st June 2020
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Campus Gløshaugen

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