PhD position in Field of Fairness, an Ethical Dimension of Artificial Intelligent System

Trondheim, Norway
22 Jun 2020
End of advertisement period
10 Jul 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

We have a vacancy for a position as PhD fellow at the Department of Computer Science (IDI) in the field of fairness, an ethical dimension of Artificial Intelligent Systems.

Ethical aspects of AI systems are recognised as an important issue for the application of AI today, especially in the context of decision-making using machine learning. A model learned with biased data may generate unfair decisions while mitigating the bias may decrease the traditional measures of system accuracy. 

This project will investigate methods for the trade-off between predictive accuracy and fairness. Multi-objective optimisation methods together with evolutionary multi-agent techniques will be applied.  The research will be carried out in an interdisciplinary environment, involving philosophy and social science in addition to AI. 

The position report to the Head of the Department

Duties of the position

  • Develop a research plan for the PhD dissertation and conduct research accordingly
  • Write conference and journal papers 
  • Comply with the PhD training program of the Faculty
  • Participate in professional communities within areas relevant to the position

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, machine learning, applied mathematics, 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.

  • Relevant background and experience in Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning
  • Strong programming and mathematics skills
  • Programming experience in multiagent systems or evolutionary methods

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 language skills.
  • Applicants who do not master a Scandinavian anguage 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

  • Enthusiastic about interdisciplinary research 
  • Goal-oriented and ambitious about research
  • Able to think critically

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, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years without teaching duties or 4 years with teaching duties (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 Computer Science within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

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.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

The application must include:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV) with information about the candidate’s prior training, exams, and work experience.
  • A research statement (max. 2 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, address and contact information of 3 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.

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability.

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

  • 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.

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. 

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Pinar Öztürk, email, or the Head of the Department Professor John Krogstie, email:

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).

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

  • Assoc. prof. Pinar Øzturk (IDI), 
  • Prof. Pauline Haddow (IDI), and  
  • Prof. May Thorseth (Dept. of  Philosophy and Religious Studies)

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number 2020/14255 when applying.

Application deadline: 10.07.20

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 Computer Science 

We are the leading academic IT environment in Norway, and offer a wide range of theoretical and applied IT programmes of study at all levels. Our subject areas include hardware, algorithms, visual computing, AI, databases, software engineering, information systems, learning technology, HCI, CSCW, IT operations and applied data processing. The Department has groups in both Trondheim and Gjøvik. The Department of Computer Science is one of seven departments in the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering .

Deadline 10th July 2020
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service NTNU Campus Gløshaugen

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