PhD Candidate, Department of Engineering Cybernetics

Trondheim, Norway
20 Oct 2020
End of advertisement period
15 Nov 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

The position is for three years, with 18 months funded by NTNU and 18 months funded by CERN. The candidate will spend 18 months at NTNU and 18 months at CERN, and have PhD supervisors both at CERN and NTNU.

Duties of the position

Hyper-redundant robots for maintenance in Big Science Facilities: Nowadays, intelligent robotic systems are becoming essential for industry and harsh environments, such as the CERN accelerator complex. Aiming to increase safety and machine availability, robots can help perform repetitive and dangerous tasks which humans either prefer to avoid or are unable to do because of hazards, size constraints or the extreme environments in which they take place, such as outer space or radioactive experimental areas. In order to improve the operability, reliability, availability, maintainability and safety, and due to the presence of human hazards mainly produced by radiation, explosive atmosphere and high magnetic fields, machines like the LHC accelerator and many other experiments at CERN need to be inspected and maintained remotely using robotic devices. Different constraints like accessibility, long distances, objects with various pose and occlusion in cluttered areas will be present in these hot cells. To ensure the safety of personnel and the seamless operation of the machines, the robot needs to handle various kind of tasks, which require high dexterity.

Aim of the project :

  • To understand the needs of remote maintenance in big science facilities and to recognize the steps needed to overcome current state of the art.
  • To design, simulate and prototype robotic solution for dexterous remote maintenance in big science facilities.

Required selection criteria

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is that you have completed a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in Engineering Cybernetics/Control Engineering/Robotics or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic foundation. If you are unable to meet these criteria you may be considered only if you can document that you are particularly suitable for education leading to a PhD degree.

Master students in their final year are also invited to apply. Employment will then be postponed until the master degree is finished.

The candidate must be a citizen of a CERN member state or associated member state. I.e. the candidate must be a citizen of one of the member states AustriaBelgiumBulgariaCzech RepublicDenmarkFinlandFranceGermanyGreeceHungaryIsraelItaly, NetherlandsNorwayPolandPortugalRomaniaSerbiaSlovakiaSpainSwedenSwitzerland or United Kingdom, or one of the associated member states CyprusSloveniaCroatia, IndiaLithuaniaPakistanTurkey or Ukraine.

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.

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.

Other qualifications:

  • Good written and oral English language skills (as documented by TOEFL, IELTS, or similar).

Personal characteristics

We seek a candidate that is motivated and able to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration, have good communication and networking skills and, and who is also able to work independently.

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.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Engineering Cybernetics within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

Salary and conditions at CERN

While at CERN, the candidate will be a member of the CERN doctoral students programme, the conditions of which are described in this webpage.

About the application

Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available by 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

  • A motivation letter (0.5-2 pages), indicating how the applicant envisages her/his contribution within the project
  • CV (including list of publications and relevant former positions)
  • Certified copies of transcripts from Bachelor & Master degrees
  • Contact information for two references (including email addresses and telephone number)
  • English language proficiency documentation (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS, etc.). This requirement is waived for applicants whose mother tongue is English, as well as for applicants from Scandinavian countries.

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.

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.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

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

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.

Questions about the position can be directed to:

Project leader NTNU: Kristin Y. Pettersen, Professor, Department of Engineering Cybernetics, e-mail
Project leader CERN: Mario Di Castro, Section Leader, Engineering Department, e-mail

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.

By the Norwegian 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.

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.

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number 2020/34547 when applying.

Application deadline: 15.11.2020.

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 15th November 2020
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Project
Place of service Trondheim/CERN

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