PhD Candidate in Smart Soil Stabilisation

Trondheim, Norway
12 Jan 2022
End of advertisement period
15 Feb 2022
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at NTNU has an open position for a PhD candidate in smart soil stabilisation. It focuses in evaluating non-destructive monitoring techniques for soil stabilisation using laboratory and field trials.

The PhD position will be affiliated to the Geotechnical Engineering group which focuses on computational geotechnics complimented by extensive field work and advanced field and laboratory testing of geomaterials. The research of our group aims for safe, environmentally sound, and cost-effective solutions for the built infrastructure. Research encompasses roads, railways, harbours, and complex deep-underground city construction.

A key aspect of soil stabilisation is to evaluate the strength and deformation properties of the improved ground in the field. Today's methods are based on destructive methods where the stabilised soil is either tested in the field using a penetrating device or sampled and transferred to the laboratory. These methods are limited in terms of their spatial and temporal resolution. Consequently, a significant amount of uncertainty on the properties of stabilised soil exist which is reflected in conservative design solutions. Better methods to assess the properties of stabilised soil in the field could have a significant impact on industry practice by reducing design uncertainties; thus, minimising the use of materials, energy, and labour.

The successful PhD candidate will be conducting research on non-destructive monitoring techniques for soil stabilisation using laboratory and field trials. First, this research will involve physical modelling experiments to investigate the performance of techniques such as distributed fibre optic sensing (DFOS) and S-wave velocity measurements in a controlled environment. Second, the developed methods will be tested at full-scale using field trials at the Norwegian GeoTest Sites[PPL1]  (NGTS,, RCN grant No. 245650/F50). Third, the candidate will be involved in research on utilising industry by-products such as bioash, steel slag, wastepaper sludge ash and biochar as alternative materials to stabilise soil. Finally, the successful applicant will explore data mining techniques to identify correlations between execution parameters, monitoring data and engineering properties of stabilised soil.

This role will be part of an international research project, called GOAL (Green sOil stAbiLisation, RCN grant No. 328767),[SR2] ), which is funded by The Research Council of Norway (RCN). The primary objective of this project is to transform soil stabilisation technologies using latest sensing and monitoring techniques, automated data‐driven design solutions and more sustainable materials. GOAL consists of the following team: Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), Keller Geoteknikk, Lindum, Bergene Holm, Celsa Armeringsstål, Norske Skog Skogn, University of California Berkeley, University College Dublin and the Technical University of Denmark. The PhD candidate will conduct research in close collaboration with the consortium partners. Research stays at the academic consortium partners such as NGI, UC Dublin and University of California Berkeley are foreseen.

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the target is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree.

The position has a duration of 3 years. Starting date for this PhD position is 1st of April 2022. The PhD candidate will report to the main supervisor.

Associate Professor Priscilla Paniagua from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will be the main supervisor of the PhD candidate. Professor Mike Long at UC Dublin and Dr Stefan Ritter at NGI will be Co-supervisors. A strong collaboration and support from the GOAL consortium partners is anticipated.

Duties of the position

  • Develop, set-up and perform innovative laboratory experiments to study techniques to monitor spatial and temporal changes of stabilised soils
  • Contribute to full-scale field experiments and integrate monitoring techniques tested in the laboratory.
  • Evaluate the performance of industry by-products to stabilise soil.
  • Adopt data mining techniques to identify correlations between soil stabilisation execution parameters, monitoring data and engineering properties of stabilised soil.
  • Disseminate research findings using typical academic channels (e.g., presentations at conferences/workshops and peer-reviewed publications).
  • Collaborate and exchange knowledge with the GOAL consortium partners.
  • Research stays at the academic GOAL consortium partners (i.e., NGI, UC Dublin and UC Berkeley)

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a professionally relevant background in geotechnical engineering
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level 
  • You must have a strong academic background from your previous studies and an average grade from the master's degree program, or equivalent education, which is equal to B or better compared with NTNU's grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic basis. If you have a weaker grade background, you may be assessed if you can document that you are particularly suitable for a PhD education
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty's doctoral program (

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant  

Preferred selection criteria

  • Experience and a strong research interest in soil stabilization, instrumentation and monitoring and experimental research at both laboratory and field scale
  • You should have obtained some research experience and have written a peer-reviewed publication
  • Data analysis skills and experience with relevant software and programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, Python)
  • Good written and oral English language skills (e.g., IELTS overall band score of 7.0, with not less than 7.0 in speaking, listening, and writing and 6.5 in reading)

Personal characteristics

  • Self-driven, hardworking, motivated and engaged
  • Independent, analytical and with a scientific mindset
  • Strong oral and written communication skills (in English)
  • Academic team player and collaborative

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 491 200 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.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Civil Engineering ( 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.

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, certificates and diplomas 
  • transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's and master's degrees. If you have not completed the master's degree, you must submit a confirmation that the master's thesis has been submitted
  • A copy of the master's thesis. If you recently have submitted your master's thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed master's degree must be presented before taking up the position
  • Name and address of three referees 
  • If you have publications or other relevant research work 

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor's and master's education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

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 and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

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 Associate Professor Priscilla Paniagua, telephone +47 948 29 497, email If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Senior Executive Officer HR Hege Johansen, 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 48/22 when applying.

Application deadline: 15.02.22

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 Civil and Environmental Engineering

We conduct research and teaching in civil and transportation engineering, technical planning, structural engineering, water and wastewater engineering and hydraulic engineering. Graduates from our programmes become employees – in both the public and private sectors – with a sustainability mindset combined with competitive knowledge and skills. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 15th February 2022
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service

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