PhD position on Statistical Sampling, Robotics and AI for Ocean Observation

Trondheim, Norway
17 Dec 2020
End of advertisement period
31 Jan 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

The Department of Mathematical Sciences (, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Norwegian Univ. of Science and Technology, Trondheim, has a vacancy for a PhD position on Statistical Sampling, Robotics and AI for Ocean Observations.

MASCOT (Maritime Autonomous Sampling and Control) is a research project financed by the IKTPLUSS program of the Norwegian Research Council. The project is a collaboration between NTNU, SINTEF Ocean and the Univ. of Porto, Portugal.

The primary aim of the MASCOT project is to expand current knowledge on Statistical Sampling for the global ocean in a multi-disciplinary manner through the enabling sciences of mathematics, statistics, control engineering and autonomous systems. The ocean holds extremely important resources for the Norwegian society, and new knowledge to sustain this environment while being innovative in developing new domains of the changing economy is of utmost importance.

Duties of the position

Together with other PhDs and faculty on the MASCOT project, this PhD candidate will build on realistic spatio-temporal statistical models and methods for environmental sampling and control for embedded decision-making on Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). Principally, this will involve working within a well-known embedded AI Planning and Execution framework to embed statistical methods for decision-making and control of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). The methods to be developed will take advantage of recent advances in computational and spatial statistics, coupled with new ideas for robotics and automated planning/execution systems.  And in doing so it will increase our knowledge of dynamic environments in the upper water-column, by the design of observational strategies in spatio-temporal domains that enable robots to decide where and when to make measurements. 

Required selection criteria

The PhD-position's main objective is to generate new knowledge in how autonomous robots can aid and impact our understanding of the changing ocean. A secondary objective is to increase understanding of how Sampling Theory can be embedded into symbolic decision-making for robotic systems. The qualification requirement is that the candidate have completed a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in a related field (see below) with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. The candidate under all circumstance needs to document that s/he is particularly suitable for academic research leading to a PhD degree.

  • Suitable candidates for the PhD positions should have a Master degree in Statistics, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, Robotics, Control Engineering, or equivalent.
  • The applicant must satisfy the requirement for entering the PhD program at NTNU (see The admission to a PhD program requires an average grade of A or B within a scale of A-E for passing grades (A best) for the last two years of the Master degree, and C or higher for the Bachelor degree.
  • Programing skills in C/C++, python, Matlab and one or more other programming languages is highly desirable.
  • The ideal candidate should be highly motivated with a strong desire to learn across diverse multidisciplinary-driven scientific fields.

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. 

It is possible to apply for an integrated PhD position for students at the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, NTNU. Students can then start on their thesis work before delivering the MSc degree ( 

The applicants who do not master a Scandinavian language must document a thorough knowledge of English (equivalent to a TOEFL score of 600 or more).

Personal characteristics

  • Highly self-motivated with a desire to think ‘outside the box’
  • Intrinsic curiosity and open-minded attitude
  • Independent working style
  • Excellent communication skills, good in collaborating with several partners and a team player

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 years with no teaching, but the Department may offer a 4th year with teaching and other duties for approximately 25% of the entire 4-year period. 

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Mathematical Sciences (see for information about the PhD programme at NTNU) 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.

The position is funded by external funding from the Norwegian Research Council.

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

About the application

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:

  • CV which includes information about education background and work experience.
  • Certified copies of relevant transcripts and diplomas. 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.  
  • Documentation of fluency in the English language. 

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. Applicants who have been short-listed will be invited for interviews.

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to

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.

Questions about the position can be directed to Jo Eidsvik ( or Kanna Rajan (  

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 2020/46013 when applying. 

Application deadline: January 31st 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 Mathematical Sciences 

We are Norway’s largest university environment in mathematical sciences. The Department has a particular responsibility for all basis education in mathematical sciences for engineering and natural science students at NTNU. We focus on long-term basic research and applied research at a high international level. 
Our aim is to meet the society’s needs for mathematical and statistical expertise in business and public administration as well as in the research and education sector.  The Department of Mathematical Sciences is one of seven departments in the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering .

Deadline 31st January 2021
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Project
Place of service Trondheim

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