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Phd Candidate In Indoor Environment And Hospital Ventilation

Trondheim, Norway
NOK 532 200 per annum
Closing date
18 Jun 2024

About the job

The Department of Energy and Process Engineering has a vacancy for a 3-year PhD position in indoor environment and ventilation in hospitals.

The position as a PhD candidate is a fixed-term position with the primary goal of qualifying for work in professional academic positions or in positions industry, which require a high level of research-based competence. The position will be part of the Sustainable Energy Systems research group at EPT.

NTNU invites applicants for a PhD position in Environment Engineering to research “Airflow distribution and ventilation in the surgical site microenvironment in operating rooms”. The research topic will be contextualized in WP1 “Structure of new scientific knowledge on the physical mechanisms for pathogen exposure and engineering strategies for controlling risk”, being supervised by Professor Guangyu Cao and Professor Emeritus Hans Martin Mathisen at EPT, NTNU and Dr. Kim Hagström from Halton, with two secondments. One secondment will be at the Technical University of Berlin (3 months) and supervised by Professor Martin Kriegel, to carry out laboratory experiment of microenvironment parameters generated by surgeons and medical staff, and gain new knowledge of advanced measurement instruments, including Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). The second secondment (3 months) will be in Halton, Finland, to carry out in-suit experimental measurements to validate the models of operating room microenvironment and gain experience of industry research environment.

The candidate will acquire expertise in interdisciplinary fields, gaining through this training program a set of skills that are highly appreciated by health care facilities, providing the candidate with valuable expertise for a future career in the topics related to technical solutions for healthcare facilities. Your immediate leader is the Head of Department. 

The position as a PhD candidate is in the frame of a Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Doctoral Networks (DN) action for Doctoral Candidates within the project HumanIC (Human - Centric Indoor Climate for Healthcare Facilities), to be recruited in September 2024.

The HumanIC network is composed by 8 universities, 2 hospitals and 9 companies/institutions to train early stage engineers and scientists to enable a new approach to the human-centric indoor climate in Healthcare Environments. In total, the HumanIC network consists of 11 Doctoral Candidates (DCs). Rather than the traditional approach of focusing solely on the building and its ventilation/heating systems, the network will develop new approaches to integrate the multi-dynamic interaction between contamination sources and airflow distribution systems with the clinical, patient and energy requirements of the hospital environment. More information can be found on the project website.

Through an ambitious research programme and a tailored training programme, HumanIC will provide a new generation of scientists and engineers who understand the implications of these complex interfaces in future hospital design. In building the HumanIC consortium we will actively promote healthcare environment engineering as an inclusive and diverse career option at all stages in the programme.  


The human-centric indoor climate (HCC) is defined as the microenvironment which surrounds and is close to a human body. The HCC concept focuses on human beings and surrounding environment, which should be understood as a specific microenvironment more than just the ‘physical neighborhood’ of a human body. The HCC in hospitals plays a vital role in enabling safe and effective provision of healthcare. Operating rooms (ORs), isolation rooms, treatment rooms and laboratory facilities all enable increasingly sophisticated treatment to be safely delivered to patients, while wards, consulting rooms and waiting rooms provide essential facilities for the interaction of patients and their comfort and wellbeing during recovery. However, there are significant challenges of HCC within hospital environments. Over 4 million patients are estimated to acquire a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) in the EU each year, and on any given day, about 80 000 patients have at least one HAI, i.e. one in every 18 patients in European hospitals.

Duties of the position

An Initial Research Project (IRP) in HumanIC will be assigned to the PhD candidate (DC04) at the beginning of the fellowship. The PhD candidate (DC04) will have the responsibility of executing all the tasks described in the IRP of DC04, which will involve research and organization tasks, mobility requirements, milestone accomplishments and deliverable submission. The PhD candidate (DC04) will primarily work on research activities carried out as part of the research project HumanIC. The position will focus on the experimental data collection and modelling of the generation and short-range distribution of airborne microbial pollutant from human activities in hospital environments. For example, a non-exhaustive list of tasks to be carried out in this PhD research covers:

  • to develop a comprehensive experimental protocol for characterizing airflow distribution in the surgical microenvironment of operating rooms during real-time operation and in a realistic, full-scale operating room laboratory setting;
  • to perform measurements airflow distribution and heat/mass transfer in the surgical microenvironment of operating rooms in hospital environments;
  • to develop a series of models that will be derived from experimental measurement to characterize the airflow distribution and heat/mass transfer in the surgical microenvironment of operating rooms;
  • to validate numerical model that simulates the airflow distribution and heat/mass transfer in the surgical microenvironment of operating rooms in operating room healthcare environments;
  • to cooperate with other research groups at partner universities/research institutes for the evaluation and optimisation of the experimental methods;
  • enroll in the PhD programme at Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway, and carry out all the activities required to make a high quality PhD dissertation within the expected timeframe. Publications in high impact-factor international journals are expected. 

During this fixed-term period, the candidate will spend 3 months in TUB to carry out laboratory experiment of microenvironment parameters generated by surgeons and medical staff, and gain new knowledge of advanced measurement instruments, including Particle Image Velocimetry. In addition, the candidate needs to spend another 3 months in Halton, Finland, to carry out in-suit experimental measurements to validate the models of operating room microenvironment and gain experience of industry research environment.

Required selection criteria

A PhD candidate is a qualification position in which the main objective is qualification for work in academic positions.

  • The position is subject to external funding, EU MARIE Skłodowska-CURIE ACTIONS Doctoral Networks (DN) Call: HORIZON-MSCA-2022-DN-01-01. Please check your eligibility according to the official eligibility requirements and application procedure, i.e. not already in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of the recruitment. You need to fulfill the mobility rule of EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, ‘Researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Norway for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before their date of recruitment’, and other rules on the following EU website: Applications from candidates not fulfilling these eligibility conditions will not be considered. 

  • Completion of a master`s degree in mechanical engineering (HVAC), civil/mechanical/building engineering, measurement technology, physics, medicine or other relevant fields, or corresponding foreign master`s degree recognized as equivalent to a Norwegian master degree is required.
  • 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 programme (
  • Proven skills/track record in the relevant areas of research: experimental measurement and modelling of the generation and short-range distribution of airborne microbial pollutant from human activities.
  • Interest in communication and dissemination of research results, including participation in project related activities and fulfilling the obligations.
  • Excellent analytical and critical thinking skills.

Applicants who are in the final phase of their master's degree are also encouraged to apply, but have to complete the master before starting the fellowship. 

  • Qualifications in at least two of the following:
    1. Strong theoretical background in two of these topics: fluid dynamics of airflow, indoor environment, ventilation, indoor air quality, airborne pollutants and heat and mass transport  
    2. Previous experience with data acquisition and measurement in two of these topics: airflow distribution, indoor environment and ventilation
    3. Previous experience in computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulation of airflow distribution, indoor environment and ventilation in rooms
  • Expertise with at least two of the following topics: fluid dynamics of airflow, microbiological pollutants, indoor enviroment, ventilation, indoor air quality, airborne pollutants and heat and mass transport
  • Fluent English skills, both in speech and in writing

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 degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant.

Desirable qualifications

Documented qualifications in the following list will be considered advantageous for this position:

  1. Knowledge and first-hand experience with data acquisition and measurement of airflow distribution, indoor environment and ventilation
  2. Competence of modelling airflow distribution, indoor environment and ventilation 
  3. Experience of using PIV/PTV for turbulent airflow distribution, indoor environment and ventilation
  4. Knowledge and competence in computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulation of airflow distribution, indoor environment and ventilation
  5. Familiarity with latest concepts, systems and solutions of hospital ventilation
  6. Fluency in one or more software language for either general programming (CFD, Python, Matlab etc) or data acquisition (Labview etc)
  7. Knowledge of the relevant international standards concerning the performance assessment/measurement of different phenomena in buildings in the field of infection control in hospital environment

Excellent English language skills (both oral and written). English level certification B2 will be required if English is not the native language

Publications in international journals/conferences will be valued.

Personal characteristics

Emphasis will be placed on personal qualities such as being an academic team player, creative, analytical, self-driven, flexible and an engaged scholar. We will also highlight ability to work independently and in a team. Candidates who are innovative and creative, and have an open mind, will be valued.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement. Motivation, ambitions and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates.

We offer

HumanIC project is aimed to train 11 creative and innovative researchers in the field of civil engineering, mechanical engineering and environmental engineering. The researchers trained in this network will be able to convert state-of-the art knowledge and ideas into new products for airflow distribution, air quality control, bacteria distribution, human comfort, including patients and medical staff. 

As a trained researcher you will have many opportunities to develop an industrial career in any part of the world, but especially in the EU. You will be trained in air chemistry and biology, air pollution, air thermodynamics, human thermophysiology and psychology, air flow patterns, energy performance, smart buildings, civil engineering. You will learn numerical modelling and advanced visualization methods. You also will be in a very good position to join R+D departments of Air-conditioning Companies and to apply for a postdoc position in any of the top EU academic institutions.

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 grant covers up to 3 years of full time research according to salary table established in the grant for Norway. Therefore, 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

All application documents must be uploaded containing the curriculum vitae, Master’s Degree title and scores, a letter of interest, letters by three references and other relevant materials. Please, note that applications which do not follow the announcement’s guidelines will not be considered.

The application must include:

  • a cover letter, which describes why you are the best suitable candidate for this position. (Maximum 1-page A4 size)
  • 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. Applicants invited for interview must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters
  • 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
  • Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application (up to 5 works). Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify the individual applicant's contribution to joint works, the applicant must include a brief description of his or her contribution.
  • Name, current affiliation and email address of three references should be included. If the reference does not respond to our request within time limit, your application may not be shortlisted.

Candidates are required to submit a one-page sketch on how they plan to use their scientific background and research ambitions to address the research challenges of this position. You should describe ideas for future investigations; it is understood that the topic may not be your specialty  the key is to demonstrate understanding of excellent experimental research in the context of this position. Examples of our recent projects and publications that are related to this project, refer to:

Applications will be marked and ranked according to the Academic curriculum, professional and research activities and technical and transversal skills, as well as the coherence with the research topics of the position.

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.

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. It is necessary to include a Diploma Supplement with European Masters Diplomas from outside Norway. Applicants with Master's Diplomas from China are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI):

Please note that your application will be considered 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.

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Fransisco 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. A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. The national labour force must reflect the composition of the population to the greatest possible extent.

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

EPT has established EPT Women in Science. The group is focused on supporting female PhD Candidates, Postdoctoral Fellows, Research Assistants and permanent academic employees within the Department. This support aims to help develop the careers of female PhD Candidates, Postdocs and Research Assistants, and is also made visible to our student body to encourage them to consider an academic path. As part of the EPT Women in Science initiative we are building an international network, inviting prominent female academics within and beyond the field of Engineering to speak at our events. NTNU aims to increase the proportion of women in its scientific posts. Women are encouraged to apply.

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. Under the Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova), information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have their name entered on the list of applicants.

For more information, please contact professor Guangyu Cao, telephone: +4791897689, email: If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Cathrine Kyung Ja Kravik, 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: 18.06.2024



Further Information

EU Research project

The position has reservation on financial support from the HORIZON-MSCA-2022 project: Human - Centric Indoor Climate for Healthcare Facilities (EU project number 101119726).

This position is funded by the European Union

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 Energy and Process Engineering

We conduct research and teaching covering the entire energy chain, from resources to the end-user. We look at how energy is produced and used by humans and machines in a sustainable way with regard to health, climate change and the resource base. The Department of Energy and Process Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Questions about the position

Guangyu Cao

Hans Martin Mathisen
Professor emeritus

Deadline 18th June 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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