PhD Position in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision for Applications in Fish Welfare

Trondheim, Norway
04 Nov 2020
End of advertisement period
29 Nov 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

The Department of Engineering Cybernetics is looking for a PhD candidate in Aquaculture technology - Artificial intelligence and computer vision for applications in Fish Welfare monitoring - a NTNU-SINTEF-cooperation .

The PhD position is related to the interdisciplinary SINTEF ACE project “RACE WELFARE” that started in June 2020, and which targets fundamental research questions important for aquaculture applications in the fields of Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cybernetics and Fish Welfare.

This PhD project will build upon state-of-the-art machine learning methods including Deep Convolutional Neural Networks (Deep Learning) to differentiate the behaviour of salmon in commercial fish cages based on observations/measurements made by different sensors including for example underwater cameras, current flow meters, echosounders and other environmental measurements. Thereby, a large amount of different types of data will be gathered ranging from environmental parameters, fish distribution to underwater video streams.

Labelling, alignment and fusion of such data may require classification support from a biological expert along with the development of dedicated and efficient tools for these tasks.

The project will initially focus on the recognition of different fish behaviour patterns at specific time periods during the salmon production cycle i.e. post-smolt period, summer, winter and/or periods with harsh weather conditions.

Other important research questions include how to obtain representative sample data from the set of different sensors (How to optimally distribute sensors spatially and when to record?) and how to relate these measurements to fish health and welfare.

Duties of the position

It is anticipated that the candidate will contribute to achieving the goals of RACE WELFARE. This may include: 

  • Develop mathematical or numerical dynamic models of the fish that mirror the apparent/measured motion of swimming fish 
  • Fit the model parameters to observed states to determine and classify the underlying fish behaviour
  • Use mathematical optimization to determine how a measure of the true fish distribution (ground truth) can be obtained using multiple cameras
  • Develop Machine Learning and Computer Vision based analysis to understand the swarm behaviour of the fish based on video streams
  • Disseminate results through peer-reviewed conferences/journals
  • Collaborate with students/researchers at NTNU/SINTEF

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 grade of B or better in terms of NTNU's grading scale in one of the following fields, robotics, mathematics, physics, cybernetics or equivalent education with a strong background in mathematical modelling and control. 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.

Applicants must have significant programming experience ideally in C, C++ and/or Python and should participate in and organise field activities. Moreover, since the goal of the project is to bring the concept of new technological solutions into the fish farms by simultaneously advancing and merging different scientific fields, the PhD student will have to work with other PhD students as a closely cooperating team.

Excellent English skills, written and spoken, are required. Applicants from non-European countries where English is not the official language must present an official language test report. 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.

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.

Academic results, publications, relevant specialization, work or research experience, personal qualifications, and motivation and a desire to make an impact on critical societal problems will be considered when evaluating the applicants.

Other qualifications

Despite our research having civilian objectives, the research project uses equipment that is restricted by export licenses and ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations). Applicants that are citizens of Norway, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, EU or NATO countries are eligible. Other applicants, instead, in order to be considered for the position are required to provide evidence of eligibility to use such equipment and attach this evidence in their application.

Personal characteristics

We seek a candidate who is curious, has the ability to work independently as well as collaboratively and is strongly committed to keep an open, honest and professional interaction with the colleagues at NTNU and SINTEF, based on mutual respect, trust and good-will.

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 482 200 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 or 4 years (with or without required duties at NTNU). Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in in Engineering Cybernetics ( 

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

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

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
  • Short statement from a former supervisor/tutor/teacher
  • Contact information for two references (including email addresses and telephone number)
  • English language proficiency documentation (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS)                   

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 and personal characteristics specified above.

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. 

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.

The position is available from the 01.01.2021. However, applicants that expect to complete their Master’s degree summer 2021 can also apply.

Questions about the position can be directed to Annette Stahl, phone number +47 73594369, e-mail .

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).

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number 2020/37516 when applying.

Application deadline: 29.11.2020.

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 29th November 2020
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Project
Place of service Trondheim

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