PhD Candidate in Artificial Intelligence

Trondheim, Norway
22 Dec 2020
End of advertisement period
01 Mar 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

We have a vacancy for 3 (three) PhD fellows at NTNU’s Trondheim campus. 

The fellows will be affiliated with the Norwegian Open AI Lab. They will perform research on next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) methods, taking advantage of recent advances in machine learning (ML), stochastic optimization, and probabilistic graphical models. The research results are expected to be applicable in several domains, such as geoscience, natural language, Internet of things (IoT), telecommunications, etc. 

PhD Fellow 1

The first PhD fellow will be in the area of AI for geoscience.  Here, the focus will be on development of methods and algorithms at the interface of mathematical statistics, ML, and AI. Within a probabilistic Bayesian approach for modeling and data assimilation, models will be developed from geological and geophysical principles for the purpose of reliable geophysical forecasting. Potential areas of research include interpretable analysis of cause and effect, probabilistic graphical models including Bayesian networks, machine learning, alarm detection systems, and event-based monitoring systems.  The fellow will be affiliated with the Centre for Geophysical Forecasting.

PhD Fellow 2

The second PhD fellow will be in the area of AI for natural language processing. Here, the focus will be on automatic topic classification and summarization from auto-generated transcripts of spoken Norwegian.  For spoken Norwegian, for example as generated in Norway’s public broadcaster NRK, capabilities for automated creation and utilization of metadata need to be strengthened. Potential areas of research include transcription quality usability requirements, ML methods, and topic learning and classification to improve speech recognition performance.

PhD Fellow 3

The final PhD fellow will be in the area of AI for stochastic optimization.  The emphasis will be on evolutionary algorithms and/or stochastic local search, with a focus on both theory and applications.  Potential areas of research include multi-objective optimization, optimization for machine learning, explainable AI, decision support, and human computer interaction. 

A PhD candidate will be responsible for undertaking one of these research projects under the supervision of appointed supervisors and will report to the Head of Department. 

Duties of the position

  • Develop a research plan for the PhD dissertation in one of the three areas highlighted above and conduct research accordingly.
  • Write conference and journal papers, under the guidance of NTNU supervisors, in the relevant area of research. 
  • Comply with the PhD training program of NTNU. 
  • Participate in professional communities within areas relevant to the position.
  • Write up the dissertation and publicly defend it at the end of PhD study. 

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 Artificial Intelligence, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Machine Learning, (Applied) Mathematics, Statistics, 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 suited to 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.

A candidate should have the following qualifications:

  • Strong background and experience in one or more of artificial intelligence, computer science, machine learning, or optimization
  • Strong applied mathematical skills – in one or more of discrete mathematics, mathematical modelling, optimization theory, probability, statistics, or theoretical computer science
  • Excellent programming skills - in one or more of: C++, Java, Julia, Lisp, Matlab, Python, R, or Scala
  • Good written and oral English language skills
  • Motivation and ability to define research goals, a research plan, and work independently as well as collaboratively

Preferred qualifications

The following qualifications will be considered as an advantage:

  • One or more publications relevant to the position.
  • Hands-on expertise in artificial intelligence or machine learning projects.
  • Strong written and oral Scandinavian language skills.
  • An interest in technology-based innovation. 

Applicants who do not master a Scandinavian language 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 as follows:

  • TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test), 94 (Internet-based test); 
  • IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted); or 
  •  CAE/CPE: grade B or A.

In extraordinary circumstances, formal documentation of language skills can be relinquished. In such cases, the candidate’s language skills will be assessed in a personal interview.

Potentially successful candidates may be interviewed in person, via Skype (or similar), or via other means.

Personal characteristics

  • Excellent analysis skills, ability to think critically, capabilities for abstract thinking as well as programming and working with data from experiments and applications.
  • Excellent writing skills, capable of synthesizing and expressing complex ideas clearly.
  • Team player, collaborative, respectful; values the inputs and opinions of others.
  •  Self-motivated, ambitious, resilient, resourceful, result-oriented, and independent.

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 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 at NTNU.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Computer Science at NTNU in Trondheim  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 that 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 at 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 contain:

  • One-page cover letter including an explanation of how the candidate’s research interests and background would fit the fellowship or fellowships being applied for.
  • Information about education and relevant experience (academic CV). 
  • Copies of academic diplomas, transcripts, and certificates. The documents must be translated to English unless they are in Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, or English.
  • Applicants with education from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to include a document describing in detail the study and grading system and the rights for further studies associated with the candidate’s obtained degree. 
  • A short project proposal (2-3 pages) describing the main research challenges for the relevant area of research discussed under “About the position” as well as corresponding research goals and an initial project plan. 
  • Any publications relevant to the area of research and any other work which the applicant wishes to be taken into account – they should clearly indicate the applicant's contribution.
  •  If you have taken or are taking a master’s degree with thesis: A copy of the thesis (in PDF format), or, for those who are near completion, an extended abstract combined with a statement of how and when the applicant plans to complete the thesis.
  • Names and contact information of 2-3 references. 

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 candidates are 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.

  • Pakistani applicants are required to provide information of Master Diploma from Higher Education Commission (HEC).
  • 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).
  • 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 enclosing 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.

Under the Freedom of 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 positions can be directed to Prof. Ole Jakob Mengshoel (main supervisor), at e-mail, or to Prof. John Krogstie (Head of Department), at e-mail Professor Mengshoel is affiliated with the Norwegian Open AI Lab and holds appointments in CS at NTNU  and in ECE at CMU.

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. 

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number 2020/46323 when applying.

Application deadline: 01.03.2021

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 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 1st March 2021
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime (3 jobs)
Duration Temporary
Place of service Campus Gløshaugen

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