Research Project Hole Cleaning Monitoring

Trondheim, Norway
02 Jun 2021
End of advertisement period
15 Jun 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

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We are looking for dedicated employees to join us.

You will find more information about working at NTNU and the application process here.

About the position

We have a vacant PhD position at the Department of Engineering Cybernetics in the field of oil and gas well drilling. The topic is on using a multi-disciplinary approach to modelling an aspect of the drilling process, by combining physics and data-driven approaches. The PhD position is a part of the research project Hole Cleaning Monitoring, managed by SINTEF and financially supported by the Research Council Norway and the industry companies TDE, AkerBP and Vår Energi.

Effective hole cleaning during the drilling process is one of the prerequisites to reducing the incurred economic and environmental cost when drilling for hydrocarbons or geothermal heat. Current practice is mostly based on sophisticated physics-based calculations done before the operation starts, in many operations with real-time update during operations, and on human assessment of a limited number of measured parameters. Introduction of high bandwidth data transmission from sensors at many positions along the string, calls for methods that make full use of the increasing number of measured parameters to determine hole cleaning status more accurately and reliably in real time. Accordingly, this project proposes to develop novel hybrid modelling approaches that will combine the interpretability, robust foundation and understanding of a physics-based modelling approach with the accuracy, efficiency and automatic pattern-identification capabilities of advanced data driven modelling methods.

The work will also be of general interest for other domains, where many processes suffer from measurements far too scarce to represent the full complexity and variation of the physical system, but still have a large value when used in combination with a priori knowledge and experience.

Supervisor will be professor Adil Rasheed from NTNU, who has specialized on combining physics-based approaches with data-driven methods in ways that a suited for real-time monitoring and control of industrial processes in many different areas. There will also be two co-supervisors, assistant professor Omer San from Oklahoma State University who has specialized on similar topics as professor Adil Rasheed, and Senior Research Scientist Knut S. Bjørkevoll from SINTEF, who is a specialist on development and use of physics-based models in drilling.

A one-semester stay at the Oklahoma State University will be offered.

You will report to Morten Breivik (Head of the Department of Engineering Cybernetics at NTNU).

Duties of the position

  • Take part in the mandatory PhD research education program
  • Gain sufficient knowledge and understanding of physics-based models and equations to adapt them to and make use of them in the hybrid algorithms.
  • Development of new data-driven, physics-driven and hybrid algorithms using the application real-time monitoring of hole cleaning during drilling as a central use case.
  • The candidate will be expected to disseminate the findings through reputed journals and conference proceedings. More information about our related activities can be found on
  • The candidate must engage in the project activities and collaboration meetings as and when required

Required selection criteria

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions.

  •  Academic results, publications, relevant specialization, work or research experience, personal qualifications, and motivation will be considered when evaluating the applicants. 
  • Completed a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in : Mathematics, Physics, Petroleum engineering or Cybernetics or a related discipline 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. Applicants that expect to complete their master’s degree studies by summer 2021 can apply.
  • To be able to address both components in the hybrid approach, the candidate should have a solid understanding of partial differential equations and linear algebra, as well as a familiarity with statistics, data assimilation and numerical methods. Knowledge of constrained optimization will be a plus. 
  • The candidate should be familiar with programming and would be expected to know or be willing to learn Python. Some experience with commonly used machine learning algorithms like Pytorch and Tensorflow will be seen as an advantage
  • 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.

Personal characteristics

  • Be structured, targeted and solution-oriented
  • The successful candidate will be a team player in a group with the project consortium, professors, researchers, PhDs and scientists from the industrial sector
  • Self-driven with a strong ability to work independently when required
  • Proven ability to work with an interdisciplinary team
  • Have good dissemination skills
  • Personal skills like a positive and friendly attitude, and contributing to a sustainable social environment will also be valued

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 or 4 years with duty work.

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.

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 subject to external funding of “Hole Cleaning Monitoring in drilling with distributed 
sensors and hybrid methods”.

It is a prerequisite 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 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 (summarising education, positions, pedagogical experience, administrative experience and other qualifying activity).
  • Copies of educational certificates, academic transcript of records. Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement ( ) or a similar document, which describes in detail the study programme and grading system.
  • Research plan or project proposal 
    • A short presentation of the motivation for a PhD study. 
    • Why the applicant is suited for the position.
    • The applicant’s view of research challenges for the PhD position, as well as his/her theoretical and methodological approach to the challenges.
  • Academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment (up to 5 works)
  • The English language proficiency
  • Name and address of three referees

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.

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.

In accordance with The Public 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.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact professor Adil Rasheed (

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 2021/22346 when applying.

Application deadline: 15.06.2021.

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 15th June 2021
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Project
Place of service Trondheim

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