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Phd Candidate In Digital Twin Evolution In Maritime Life Cycle

Ålesund, Norway
NOK 532 200 per annum
Closing date
31 May 2024

About the job

Digitalization has become a key aspect of making the maritime industries more innovative, efficient and fit for future operations. Our IHB department is pioneered toward the direction and has implemented a digital twin of a research vessel, aiming to generate a digital replica of its physical counterpart for monitoring, onboard support and operation evaluation. The twin system lumps all information from different sensors, components, models and sub-systems to represent physical behaviours. Considering the complexity of the system and uncertainties from environment, it is necessary to maintain the twin system to keep its accuracy at an acceptable range while reducing the cost of system update. Therefore, how to conduct system analysis, testing and updating to the twin system is of great importance.

This PhD position will focus on novel approaches for generating test cases to evaluate the twin system, identifying and diagnosing twin system failures, e.g., failure of onboard support tools, and implementing mechanisms for automated debug and model update. As twin models evolve, the system configuration frequently changes, presenting new challenges. This involves integrating new module simulation models, replacing existing ones, and adjusting model parameters. Addressing the challenge of model evolution will render the digital twin ship more promising and powerful in advancing intelligent maritime operations. It is necessary to establish mechanisms to update models especially for these ML models regularly. Thus, the computational cost of ML models, such as the training time for the model, can be relatively low, and the model is able to adapt to operation/environmental changes.

Your immediate leader is Head of Department

Duties of the position

  • Set up research plans with the help of the supervisor team and conduct them accordingly
  • Take lead in research idea generation and research paper writing
  • Establish close cooperation with other PhD candidates within the same project
  • Comply with the PhD training programme of the Faculty

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a professionally relevant background in computer science, automation related engineering
  • 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.
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the Faculty of Engineering’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

  • you demonstrate a strong motivation for the position
  • you have experience of software engineering
  • you demonstrate knowledge/experience in AI and data-driven approaches

Personal characteristics

  • Good communications skills
  • enthusiastic, self-driven and able to take initiatives
  • Ability to work independently as well as in team
  • Keen interest in the wider context of own research, and an ability to engage in cross-disciplinary teams

Emphasis will be placed on motivation, 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

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

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: 

  • CV and certificates
  • 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.
  • Project proposal
  • Name and contact information 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.

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 eq

The city of Ålesund, with its population of 50 000, will provide you with plenty of opportunities to explore a region of Norway that is famous for its beautiful scenery with high mountains and blue fjords. Ålesund itself, with its Art Nouveau architecture, is by many considered to be the most beautiful city in Norway! The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world.

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 Houxiang Zhang, email If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Torjus Levisen Johansen, 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: 31.05.24

Ålesund campus oversikt Foto: Karl Otto Kristiansen/NTNU

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 Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering

We aim to be a hub of international knowledge and innovation in maritime operations. This involves education and research on the design of ships and marine equipment as well as on the operation of vessels. Maritime operations integrate technology, human factors and business. The interfaces between these areas often spark inspiration for innovation and new solutions. The Department of Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Questions about the position

Torjus Levisen Johansen

Houxiang Zhang
Prof. Department leader for Research

Deadline 31st May 2024
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Ålesund
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Larsgårdsvegen 2, 6009 Ålesund

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