PhD Candidate in Verification and Validation of Cyber-Physical Systems

Trondheim, Norway
12 Aug 2022
End of advertisement period
19 Sep 2022
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

We offer a 4 year PhD position (with 25% teaching duties) in Verification and Validation of Cyber-Physical Systems at the Information Systems and Software Engineering (ISSE) group of the Department of Computer Science, NTNU.

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

The objective of this position is exploring new techniques for Verification and Validation (V&V) of modern computer-based systems. The focus is in particular on Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), which are the result of the introduction of “intelligent” capabilities into traditional, physical, systems. The tight interaction with the physical world means that CPSs, if not operating properly, can cause harm to users and/or the environment (e.g., autonomous vehicles). At the same time, the physical world affects the operating context of the system in unexpected ways.

While V&V practices are relatively established for traditional systems, the current transition towards CPSs is raising significant challenges in the industry. In particular, the adoption of Machine Learning (ML) components, whose precise behavior is difficult to determine, is a major barrier to the development of safe intelligent systems. The candidate will work towards the long-term objective of making those systems easier to be verified and validated. The specific direction within this long-term objective can be adjusted according to the specific background of the candidate. The candidates are encouraged to propose their own idea in the project proposal to be attached to the application.

The ideal candidate will be able to approach this topic from a software engineering and systems engineering perspective, which means keeping in mind the overall system, even when dealing with specific technologies or components. We are looking for candidates with a strong research perspective that can publish their work in leading academic journals and conference proceedings.

You will report to the Head of Department.

Duties of the position

The objective of this position is exploring new techniques for Verification and Validation (V&V) of modern computer-based systems. This work will build on existing research and existing collaborations with international researchers both in the academia and in the industry. The successful candidate is expected to have a strong background in Computer Science or similar disciplines, be knowledgeable about Verification and Validation aspects, and have some experience with reading and reflecting on research papers in the area.

We are seeking a highly motivated individual that wants to excel in a research environment and has strong academic ambitions. The PhD candidate will therefore contribute to generating knowledge regarding the V&V of complex systems.

Part of the main duties and responsibilities include conducting the following: 

  • Perform literature reviews and be able to synthesize knowledge.
  • Interact with international researchers from the academy and the industry.
  • Work towards the identification of challenges and solutions in the proposed topics.
  • Develop and/or supervise the development of prototypes or extend existing tools.
  • Communicate and disseminate results to academic and non-academic stakeholders.

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a professionally relevant background in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or similar area.
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level. Candidates near completion of their Master’s degree are encouraged to apply.
  • You must have a strong academic background from your previous studies. In particular, admission to the PhD education at NTNU requires an average grade of at least B, within a scale of A-E for passing grades, in the last two years of the master’s degree. 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  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 in one or more of the following topics is considered an advantage:
    • reliability and safety evaluation (e.g., Stochastic Petri Nets, Fault Trees), 
    • model-driven engineering (e.g., EMF, metamodels),
    • machine learning (in particular computer vision tasks), or
    • safety- or mission-critical application domains (e.g., railway, automotive, avionics)
  • Publication activities in relevant topics will be considered an advantage.
  • Excellent English written and oral communication skills.
  • Non-native English speakers must provide evidence of good English language skills. For guidance, please refer to section “How to prove English proficiency” in the page on language requirements for Master’s studies at NTNU; the same principles will be used for the advertised position. 

Personal characteristics

The applicant should:

  • enjoy working in a team-based environment, but also be able to conduct independent activities and thinking;
  • be comfortable in working both on abstract/theory aspects as well as on concrete/practical details;
  • have good communication skills;
  • be highly motivated to publish in top academic conferences and journals in the software engineering and dependability areas.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience, and personal suitability, as well as motivation for the topics specified in the advertised position.

We offer

Salary and conditions

As a PhD candidate (code 1017) you are normally paid from gross NOK 501 200 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 25% of the time devoted to teaching assistance/duties.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Computer Science 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 you can be present at and accessible to the institution on a daily basis.

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.
  • A project proposal that includes a research plan of how you envision the PhD activities.
  • Name and address of three referees
  • Publications, if you have, 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.

We will take joint work into account. If it is difficult to identify your efforts in the joint work, you must enclose a short 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

NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is our strength. We want to recruit people with different competencies, educational backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives to contribute to solving our social responsibilities within education and research. We will facilitate for our employees’ needs.

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.

A public list of applicants with name, age, job title and municipality of residence is prepared after the application deadline. If you want to reserve yourself from entry on the public applicant list, this must be justified. Assessment will be made in accordance with current legislation. You will be notified if the reservation is not accepted.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Associate Professor Leonardo Montecchi, e-mail If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact HR at the Department, e-mail

If you think this looks interesting and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates attached. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation.  

Application deadline: 19.09.22

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 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 19th September 2022
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Campus Gløshaugen

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