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Ph.D. Candidate in Artificial Intelligence with Application to Geophysics

Job Details

About the job

For a position as a Ph.D. candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree. 

We have a vacancy for a Ph.D. fellow at NTNU’s Trondheim campus. The fellow will perform research on next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) methods, demonstrated on problems in geophysics.

The Ph.D. candidate will research methods for optimization and explainable machine learning in the context of Earth science and geophysic.  Emphasis will be on bio-inspired and statistical methods from artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Relevant methods and models include stochastic optimization, stochastic processes, Markov chains, causality, Bayesian networks, and related techniques from AI and ML. The goal of the project is to develop new AI methods that will help to improve the understanding, management, and forecasting of geophysical processes and events.  Knowledge of High-Performance Computing, for example computer systems, computer engineering, and scientific programming would be a benefit. The same applies to background knowledge in physics and signal processing.

The application area for the Ph.D. fellow will be geophysics, within the Centre for Geophysical Forecasting (CGF) at NTNU.  The goal of the CGF is to become a world-leading research and innovation hub for the geophysical sciences, creating innovative new products and services in Earth sensing and forecasting domains.  Examples include forecasting and monitoring of landslides, avalanches, earthquakes, groundwater and hydrocarbon resources, and safe underground CO2 storage.

The successful applicant will work at the CGF premises at NTNU in Trondheim among our team of researchers.  Successful candidates will be offered a three- or four-year position.  The project has close contact with industry partners, including Aker BP, ASN, BaneNor, CGG, Digital Geologi, Equinor, MagseisFairfield, NPRA (Statens Vegvesen), NVE, Shearwater, SIKT, Tampnet, and SIKT, as well as research partners NORSAR and Jamstec in Japan.

The fellow will be employed by the Department of Computer Science and also affiliated with the Norwegian Open AI Lab

Your immediate leader is the group leader of data and artificial intelligence (DART).

Duties of the position

In this position, you will: 

  • conduct high-quality research and take a leading role in writing research papers and articles; 
  • comply with the Ph.D. training program at the IE Faculty; 
  • identify, develop, and experiment with novel AI methods, such as explainable machine learning, methods using causal networks, or bio-inspired optimization methods; 
  • demonstrate existing and novel AI methods by means of geophysical data to effectively monitor the Earth; and   
  • establish close collaborations with researchers, other Ph.D. candidates, and MS students working on related projects. 

To extract important variables from massive spatiotemporal geophysical data, CGF researchers will work on AI-based approaches for feature extraction, enabling efficient monitoring and early warning systems in various geoscience applications.   Ph.D. research work will be led by supervisors with strong scientific profiles in the specific disciplines at CGF.

The Centre is determined to deliver research-based innovation, and it will strongly stimulate Ph.D. candidates to create and develop innovative ideas into business potential both for the Centre partners as well as in spin-off companies.  The key innovation areas of CGF are CCS management, hydrocarbon production monitoring, and geohazards monitoring and forecasting.

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a professionally relevant background in artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer science, computer engineering, applied mathematics, or equivalent.
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree program, a Master’s program, where 120 credits are obtained at the 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 in terms of 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 Ph.D. education. 
  • Master's students in their final semester of study or interested in an integrated Ph.D. education can also apply.  The requirements regarding an approved MS Thesis are then not applicable.
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the IE faculty's doctoral program (see Ph.D. studies – Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering - NTNU) and to the Ph.D. programme in Computer Science (see Computer Science – Ph.D. programme).  (doctoral education) – 3 years - Trondheim – Gjøvik - NTNU).
  • The admission to Ph.D. education at NTNU requires an average grade of A or B within a scale of A-E for passing grades (A is best) for the last two years of the MSc degree, and C or higher for the BSc degree.  Applicants who are not fluent in a Scandinavian language must document thorough knowledge of English (equivalent to a TOEFL score of 600 or more).
  • You must have excellent written and oral English language skills, including word processing skills with  Latex and Bibtex.
  • You must have excellent programming skills - in one or more of these programming languages: C, C++, Java, Julia, Lisp, Python, or R.

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

  • Strong applied mathematical skills - in one or more of discrete mathematics, numerical mathematical modeling, optimization theory, probability, statistics, or theoretical computer science.
  • Relevance of Master’s Thesis topic and experience with AI or statistical methods applied to scientific or engineering data, in particular geophysical data.
  • Strong written and oral Norwegian, Danish, or Swedish language skills are highly desired, but not required.
  • Knowledge of High-Performance Computing, for example computer systems, computer engineering, and scientific programming would be a benefit.  The same applies to a background in physics and signal processing.  Experience with processing large wave field datasets, numerical modeling, and coupling of pressure and shear waves in different materials, embedded systems, or long-distance data-communication optical transmission systems is an advantage.

Personal characteristics

  • Willingness and ability to learn new skills and approaches in a multidisciplinary team.
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively.
  • Strong drive to transition new research results and technologies into innovative products and services.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills including strong writing skills, capable of synthesizing and expressing complex ideas clearly.
  • Self-motivated, ambitious, resilient, resourceful, result-oriented, and independent.

Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

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 without teaching duties or 4 years with teaching duties.

Appointment to a Ph.D. position requires that you are admitted to the Ph.D. programme in Computer Science within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized Ph.D. 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 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 or resume, which includes information about educational background and work experience and certificates.
  • Certified copies of relevant transcripts and diplomas for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.  Candidates from universities outside Norway are required to send a Diploma Supplement or similar documentation, which describes in detail the program of study, the grading system, and the rights to further studies associated with the degree obtained.  
  • If you have not completed the Master's degree, you must submit a confirmation that the Master's thesis will be submitted by June 2024.  This does not apply if you are seeking an integrated Ph.D. position.   
  • A copy of the Master's thesis. If you recently have submitted your Master's thesis, you can attach the thesis as submitted. Documentation of a completed Master's degree must be presented before taking up the position, unless the candidate is hired into an integrated Ph.D. position. 
  • A brief motivation letter indicating i) the proposed focus of your Ph.D. study according to the topics mentioned above, including in the qualification requirements and selection criteria, and ii) a description of experience or motivation for working on research-based innovation.
  • Project proposal, A short project proposal (2-3 pages) describing the main research challenges for the relevant research discussed under “Duties of the position” as well as corresponding research goals and an initial project plan.
  • Name and contact information of three references. 
  • Publications or other relevant research work that you may have written. 
  • Documentation of fluency in the English language.  

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 Professor Ole Jakob Mengshoel, email . If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact HR, 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: 25.04.24


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 .

Questions about the position

Ole Jakob Mengshoel

Deadline 25th April 2024
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Høgskoleringen 1, 7491 Trondheim


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