PhD Candidate, Department of Design

Trondheim, Norway
20 Sep 2023
End of advertisement period
15 Oct 2023
Contract Type
Full Time

About the job

The Autoteaming project will develop new technologies and user interfaces for seamless human-machine teaming for the operation of autonomous urban passenger ferries.

Recent technology advancements in machine autonomy have demonstrated the potential to significantly enhance maritime operations by improving efficiency, safety, and sustainability. Contemporary design has been guided by the conviction that technology should replace tasks normally done by humans. The problem with this approach is that when the unexpected happens or when the automation inevitably fails, a human navigator must be in the loop to take swift and decisive preventative actions.

Therefore, to succeed at leveraging the advantages of advanced automation, the technologies must be designed to support navigators, not supplant them. Our vision is that humans and machines can form effective teams, and we intend to demonstrate this with small-scale autonomous urban ferries supervised from a fully integrated remote control centre. This will be accomplished by combining our existing world-leading research infrastructures, including two proven autonomous urban passenger ferry prototypes and a laboratory dedicated to remote supervisory control of maritime operations.

The overall goal of the project is a new operational mode we call “Autoteaming,” where machines and humans co-exist with seamless communication and shared control. The Department of Design has a vacancy for a PhD position in the Autoteaming project to design the user interface for human-machine teaming. The PhD candidate will be part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers. The position’s working place is at the NTNU Shore Control Lab in Trondheim.

Your immediate leader is the Head of Department.

Duties of the position

  • Designing user interfaces for the supervision and control of autonomous urban ferries
  • Conducting high-quality research and reporting progress on a regular basis and in agreement with the supervisors.
  • Documenting the research findings in the form of scientific papers.
  • Presenting the research findings at internal project meetings and scientific conferences.
  • Undertaking the necessary courses (30 ECTS) as part of the PhD program.

Required selection criteria

You must:

  • Have a relevant background in interaction design, computer science, software engineering, human-computer interaction, human factors, or related fields. 
  • Have completed at least five years of higher education that includes a master’s degree or other equivalent degree, where 120 credits have been obtained at master's level.
  • Have a strong academic record and a weighted average for the last two years of your master's degree equivalent to a B or higher according to the 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 result, you may be assessed if you can document that you are particularly suitable for a PhD education.
  • Meet the requirements for admission to the doctoral program in design.
  • Have very good written and oral English language skills. Candidates from universities outside Scandinavia and English-speaking countries are requested to document English language proficiency:
    • TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test), 92 (Internet-based test)
    • IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5
    • CAE/CPE: grade B or A

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

Experience with:

  • Creating high-fidelity user interface prototypes
  • Conducting user research and evaluation studies
  • Analyzing quantitative and qualitative data
  • Game engines, such as Unity or Unreal Engine

Personal characteristics

The candidate is expected to:

  • Be scientifically curious and open to new research challenges relevant for the position.
  • Demonstrate independence and persistence in addressing technical problems.
  • Be flexible and reliable, with the ability to work effectively independently and as part of a team.
  • Be able to work in close contact with project partners.

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 three years with the possibility of a fourth year related to teaching, project work, or other relevant assignments.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in PhD Program in Design 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 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 be attached to 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: 

  • A short and directed cover letter (in English or Norwegian) identifying your motivation for the PhD position, your understanding and thoughts on the topic of the position, and why you are suited for the position.
  • CV including information relevant for the qualifications.
  • Name, current affiliation and email address of at least three people who will provide reference for you.
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and transcripts (in English or Norwegian).
  • Academic or professional works that you would like to be considered in the assessment.
  • English language proficiency documentation (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS, etc.). This requirement is waived for applicants whose mother tongue is English, as well as for applicants from Scandinavian countries

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

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 Ole Andreas Alsos, telephone +47 73 59 14 63, email If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Ina Renate Erichsen, 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: 15.10.2023

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 Design

We are located in both Trondheim (industrial design) and Gjøvik (graphic design and web technology). Both groups have expertise in interaction design and share research interests in health and welfare technology. The design environment links many technology communities at NTNU, and nationally the Department has extensive collaboration with Norwegian industrial companies. The Department of Design is one of four departments in the Faculty of Architecture and Design.

Questions about the position

Ole Andreas Alsos
+47 73 59 14 63

Apply for this job

Deadline 15th October 2023
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality  Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Nyhavna, 7491 Trondheim