PhD Position for the Project Autonomous Marine Biodiversity Mapping and Bioprospecting Platform

Trondheim, Norway
01 Jun 2023
End of advertisement period
24 Jul 2023
Contract Type
Full Time

About the job

The AMBIOS project aims to develop the world's first fully autonomous platform for multi-layer mapping of biodiversity in the ocean. Autonomous marine vessels will be equipped with sensors for physicochemical characterization, instruments for automated water sampling, and an underwater video recording system for AI-based detection of macroscopic species in the benthos.

The physics and biology of the ocean can be simulated using coupled physical and biological ocean models. The ocean model SINMOD will be extended to allow prediction of biodiversity based on real-time sensor data, and the predictions will be used to make the autonomous research vessels do targeted sampling at areas of interest. The modelling approach will include analysis of physical features such as eddies and fronts, and model predictions and satellite observations of chlorophyll, sea surface temperature and other variables.

This position is for a PhD candidate who will work on SINMOD model development as a member of the interdisciplinary AMBIOS team. The position reports to Associate Professor Morten Omholt Alver, who will be the main supervisor.

Duties of the position

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

The PhD candidate will work on a range of challenging and interesting tasks:

  • Take part in an interdisciplinary team working towards the objectives of the AMBIOS project.
  • Combine ocean modelling with remote sensing and in situ measurements through data assimilation and machine learning methods.
  • Improve and utilize the ocean model SINMOD (see for biodiversity mapping

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a professionally relevant background in two or more of the listed subjects: control engineering, estimation theory, oceanography, ocean modelling, machine learning, numerical analysis or statistics. 
  • You should have experience in scientific computing within development environments such as Matlab and/or Python. Knowledge of Fortran is useful, but not a requirement.
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree program, 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.
  • Master's students can apply, but the master's degree must be obtained and documented by the end of 2023.
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty's doctoral program (

The appointment is to be made in accordance with Regulations on terms of employment for positions such as postdoctoral fellow, Phd candidate, research assistant and specialist candidate 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

Useful qualifications for candidates are:

  • Numerical modelling
  • Physical and biological oceanography
  • Control engineering
  • Machine learning
  • Estimation theory
  • Statistics
  • Programming (e.g. Python, Matlab, Fortran)
  • Good written and oral English language skills. 

Personal characteristics

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, as well as motivation, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement. The following personal characteristics are desired:

  • Problem solver
  • Focused on results
  • Good communicator
  • Willing to learn

We offer

Salary and conditions

As a PhD candidate (code 1017) you are normally paid from gross NOK 532 200 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 25 % teaching duties).

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.

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 Norwegian or English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that your application will be considered based solely on information submitted by the application deadline. You must therefore ensure that your application clearly demonstrates how your skills and experience fulfil the criteria specified above.

The application must include:

  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's and master's degrees, if completed.
  • A copy of the master's thesis, if completed. If you recently have submitted your master's thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis.

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.

NTNU is working actively to increase the number of women employed in scientific positions and has a number of resources to promote equality. 

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 Morten Omholt Alver, email . If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact HR Consultant Berit Dahl, 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: 24.07.2023.


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 24th July 2023
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Project
Place of service Trondheim

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