PhD Candidate at the NTNU VISTA Centre for Autonomous Robotic Operations Subsea

Trondheim, Norway
25 Nov 2020
End of advertisement period
06 Jan 2021
Contract Type
Full Time


About the position

The position is for three years with the possibility of one-year extension for teaching assistant duties, and belongs to

NTNU VISTA Centre for Autonomous Robotic Operations Subsea

The NTNU VISTA Centre for Autonomous Robotic Operations Subsea (CAROS) is an interdisciplinary research centre between the NTNU Departments of Engineering Cybernetics and Marine Technology and Equinor on autonomous underwater robotic operations with focus on resident autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) that are supported by subsea docking systems for energy charging and communication. The VISTA Center is awarded by Equinor and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, funded for 5 years in collaboration with host institution NTNU.

Together with ground-breaking research on articulated underwater robots and autonomy we proceed towards a game changer in offshore oil and gas activities in terms of increased efficiency in marine operations and lower CO2 footprint. The proposed scope will contribute to higher uptime of subsea production units as well as higher marine environmental capabilities in case of incidents. The addressed research will also be of high relevance for ocean science and other marine industries such as maintenance and inspection of offshore wind installations and aquaculture. The methods will be demonstrated and tested on the NTNU snake robot Eelume, an articulated intervention-AUV (AIAUV), as well as the electric work class remotely operated vehicle (ROV) with manipulator (Minerva).

Duties of the position

Autonomous docking and intervention operations:

To achieve truly autonomous resident robots subsea, the research questions of autonomous docking and autonomous intervention need to be solved.  A permanent docking station on the seafloor, where the subsea robot can charge the batteries and transfer the results of a mission, will reduce the current need for frequent launch and recovery operations. For fully autonomous resident robots, autonomous docking is required.  Moreover, autonomous intervention is required for truly autonomous resident robots, while existing resident subsea robots are still remotely operated.

Aim of the project :

•    To develop accurate and robust methods for vision-based autonomous docking of subsea robots.
•    To develop methods achieving high-accuracy position and force control for autonomous intervention operations with light subsea robots, including small remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and articulated intervention-AUVs (AIAUVs).

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 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. 

Moreover, the engagement is to be made in accordance with 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.

Our research has civilian objectives. However, equipment restricted by export licenses and ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) is being used in the research project. Applicants that are citizens of Norway, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, EU or NATO countries are eligible. Other applicants are required to provide evidence of eligibility to use such equipment for their application to be considered/in their application.

Other qualifications:

  • Applicants who do not master a Scandinavian language and do not have English as mother tongue, must document a thorough knowledge of English (equivalent to a TOEFL score of 600 or more).

Personal characteristics

  • High self-motivation and high motivation for the project
  • Intrinsic curiosity and open-minded attitude
  • Independent working style
  • Very good communication skills, good in collaborating with others in an interdisciplinary research environment

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.

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. 

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 which includes information about education background and work experience.
  • Certified copies of transcripts from Bachelor & Master degrees. Candidates from universities outside Norway are expected to send a Diploma Supplement or similar documentation, which describes in detail the program of study, the grading system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree.
  • 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.

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

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.

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: Professor Kristin Y. Pettersen, Department of Engineering Cybernetics, 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 2020/39771 when applying. 

Application deadline: 06.01.2021.

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 6th January 2021
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Project
Place of service Trondheim

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