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PhD Candidate in Human-Centered Smart Logistics

Trondheim, Norway
Closing date
15 Jun 2024

About the job

Despite efforts to further automate manual tasks in all industries, human workers are still at the core of many working system. Recently, the European Commission began to promote a complementary new approach, called Industry 5.0, where “the wellbeing of the worker is placed at the center of the production process and uses new technologies to provide prosperity beyond jobs and growth while respecting the production limits of the planet”. While Logistics 4.0/5.0, Industry 4.0/5.0, robotization and automation promise increased productivity and profits to companies, there has been less discussion of how implementations of these new technologies affect human workers in the system. There is little discussion of what the human factors design requirements might be.

The Production Management research group at NTNU’s Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering is internationally leading in research within human-centered manufacturing and logistics and the purpose of this PhD position is to expand its scope to logistics 4.0/5.0, automation/robotization in logistics. Your research will be closely integrated with the group’s research in areas, such as warehousing and intralogistics, for synergy effects, transfer of knowledge, and mutual stimulation. The research is part of the European Project X-HULOG4.0 with partners as TU Darmstadt, University in Saarland and Vilnius Tech.

You will contribute to the development of knowledge about the application of automation/robotization in logistics in order to have a clear understanding of the impact of these technologies, from the classification of automated/robotized solutions in logistics, to the development of integrated models for the design of logistics system where automation/robotization are applied, and finally to investigate the effects of the use of solutions for performance of logistics and human well-being (Human-Robot collaboration). The Logistics 4.0 Lab at NTNU will provide a set of collaborative robots in manual workplace), AGVs (i.e. smart material handling systems), and autonomous robots (i.e. mobile robots in warehousing) that can be demonstrated and used for research activities.

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

You will be supervised by Professor Fabio Sgarbossa.

Duties of the position

  • apply qualitative methodologies, such as case studies and literature reviews, to gain insight into the characteristics and challenges of the logistics 4.0/5.0, and develop frameworks and knowledge on automation/robotization in logistics.  
  • apply quantitative methodologies, such as simulation and analytical modelling, to develop decision support for efficient configuration, organization, and coordination of human-centered logistics systems and analyze the domain of solutions, such as to create managerial insights and guidelines for practitioners
  • collaboration with Norwegian companies which will be identified during the first phase of the research
  • take part in the mandatory PhD research education program
  • conduct independent research and publish the result in recognised scientific journals and present them at international conferences

Required selection criteria

  • you must have relevant professional or academic background in Industrial Engineering, Logistics Engineering, Production Management, Supply Chain Management, or Mechanical 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's doctoral program
  • documented experience in using a combination of qualitative methodologies, such as case studies and design science, and quantitative methodologies, such as simulation and advanced analytics, within the fields of operations and supply chain management, in particular with human-centric approach.
  • submitted research plan showing relevance, rigorousness and impact
  • excellent written and oral English language skills

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

  • scandinavian language skills
  • previous experience from industry or research in logistics. This can be proven by the attendance of study courses or other relevant activities, such as a master’s thesis.

Personal characteristics

  • ability to work independently as well as in teams
  • good communication skills and ability to work in close contact with industry
  • hard working, with drive and determination
  • modest, open to feedback and input from others
  • respect, collaborate, and negotiate with others

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.

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 position is subject to external funding.

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
  • research plan; 5-7 pages, where you show your capability to structure a 3-years research study with clear motivation, objectives, research questions, methodologies, expected results and dissemination plan. The combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies should be emphasized and motivated.
  • 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.
  • name and address of three references
  • 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 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 contact Professor Fabio Sgarbossa, e-mail: If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact HR Consultant Hedda Winnberg, 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: 15.06.2024


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 Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

We educate graduates who can create new products, operate and maintain products, and manage projects. The Department has a variety of bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes. We conduct wide-ranging research in fields such as technology, energy, product quality and development, and productivity. The Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 15th June 2024
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality  Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Richard Birkelands vei 2B, 7034 Trondheim

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