PhD Fellowship within Managing Safety and Security Risks of Cyber-Physical Systems

Trondheim, Norway
01 Aug 2017
End of advertisement period
29 Aug 2017
IE 096-2017
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

The Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering ( at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has a vacancy for a 100% position as PhD fellow within Managing Safety and Security Risks of Cyber-Physical Systems at the Department of Computer Science (IDI) (

The appointment is for a term of 4 years, with obligatory duties equivalent to 25 %. The obligatory work will primarily be assigned to education duties. This is a researcher training position aimed at providing future researchers the opportunity of academic development in the form of a doctoral degree.

Information about the department

The Department of Computer Science currently employs 28 full time professors, 60 associate/assistant professors, 19 adjunct professors, 37 postdocs/researchers, 65 PhD students, and 22 technical/administrative staff.

Managing Safety and Security Risks of Cyber-Physical Systems

The PhD fellow will be a member of the Information System and Software Engineering group. The department has had research and educational programs in Software Engineering since the early nineties. The department’s research in software engineering focuses on state-of-the-art methods to improve quality (e.g. reliability, safety, and security) and cost-efficiency of software development (e.g. agile methods and DevOps). Many of our studies use empirical methods and have industrial partners.

The PhD position will be part of a project which will be carried out in close collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The PhD position will lead to a Joint Doctorate Degree (PhD degree) by NTNU and DTU. While having NTNU Department of Computer Science as the home institution, the PhD fellow will spend a substantial amount of time at DTU.

This PhD project will be closely linked to another PhD project hosted by DTU. Both PhD projects constitute a NTNU-DTU tandem project that will investigate different methods to make holistic and cost-effective risk analyses of cyber-physical systems heavily dependent on new information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Cyber-physical systems are characterized by a very complex multi-layered nature, where software, hardware, humans, multiple interfaces, and technical components are deeply interwoven and where failures and threats can propagate from one layer to another. Manufacturing, transportation, energy production and distribution, healthcare, and banking are all the sectors that have adopted and make extensive use of new ICTs. This results in a noticeable trend in the development of modern engineering systems: from being physical and socio-technical into cyber-physical systems. The risk management of these systems requires significant improvements to achieve the same level of results as in traditional industries.

The PhD fellow is expected to focus on adapting system engineering based risk analysis approaches, such as System-Theoretic Accident Model and Processes (STAMP), to make it fit for integrated analysis of safety and security of cyber-physical systems; testing its applicability and validating its performance. One or two companies heavily dependent on digitalization of information processing and control will be selected for collaboration. Understanding in detail the subject area(s), applying and testing the developed solutions will be the necessary part of the work. The subject area(s) can be selected fitting the background of the PhD fellow.

The PhD fellow will be responsible for liaising with DTU’s research project while focusing on the following tasks:

  • Reviewing and suggesting a set of system engineering based risk analysis approaches that can form the basis for trustworthy identification of potential safety and security risks of cyber-physical systems;
  • Proposing an integrated and cost-efficient safety and security analysis method to identify unsafe interactions among operational (non-failed) components and among interactions between human and the control software and hardware in cyber-physical systems;
  • Testing and validating the applicability and cost-efficiency of the suggested risk identification method;
  • Comparing the developed method to its counterpart developed by DTU and consolidating the methods.


A master's degree in Computer Science, or Software Engineering, or IT security, or cybernetics, or equivalent with very good results is required, with an average grade B or better as measured in ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) grades. Good RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, and Safety) knowledge is highly valued. A research-oriented master thesis or relevant working experience within one of these or related areas is expected.

Applicants who do not master a Scandinavian language must provide evidence of good English language skills, written and spoken. The following tests can be used as such documentation: TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test), 92 (Internet-based test),
  • IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted),
  • CAE/CPE: grade B or A.

In extraordinary circumstances, formal documentation of language skills can be relinquished. In such cases the candidate’s language skills will be assessed in a personal interview.

Formal regulations

Appointments are made in accordance with the regulations in force regarding terms of employment for PhD candidates issued by the Ministry of Education and Research, with relevant parts of the additional guidelines for appointment as a PhD candidate at NTNU. Applicants must undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme of study during their period of employment. The person who is appointed must comply with the conditions that apply at any time to employees in the public sector. In addition, a contract will be signed regarding the period of employment, including duty work if relevant.

Applicants must be qualified for admission as PhD students at NTNU. See for information about PhD studies at IE, NTNU. Together with the application, include a description of the research work that is planned for completion during the period of the grant.

Salary conditions

The position is in code 1017 Stipendiat, minimum salary grade 50 in the Norwegian State salary scale, typically in salary grade 50-57, gross NOK 432,300 - 485,700 per year, depending on qualifications. A deduction of 2 % is made as a statutory contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

General information

We can offer

  • an informal and friendly workplace with dedicated colleagues
  • academic challenges in an international environment
  • attractive schemes for housing loan, insurance and pensions in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund

The Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering want to attract outstanding and creative candidates who can contribute to our ongoing research activities. We believe that diversity is important to achieve a good, inclusive working environment. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of the gender, disability or cultural background.

NTNU wants to increase the proportion of women in its scientific posts. Women are encouraged to apply. The appointment is subject to the conditions in effect at any time for employees in the public sector.

As far as possible, the State workforce should reflect the diversity of the population. Goals of our personnel policy therefore include a balanced distribution in terms of age and gender as well as recruitment of people of immigrant background.

Under Section 25 of the Freedom of Information Act, information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have his or her name entered on the list of applicants.

The application requirements:

The application must contain:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV) with information about the candidate’s prior training, exams, and work experience
  • Certified copies of transcripts and diplomas
  • Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement or a similar document, which describes in detail the study and grading system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree
  • A Statement of Purpose (including a short presentation of the motivation for a PhD study and how the applicant sees his/her background suitable, and the applicant’s view of research challenges within the area of the PhD position and one of the topics listed above, and how the competence of the applicant can contribute to solving these challenges) (2 pages)
  • Names and contact information of at least 2 reference persons
  • A copy of the master thesis (in PDF), or, for those who are near to completion of their MSc, an extended abstract combined with a statement of how and when the applicant plans to complete the thesis (1 page)

Incomplete applications will be rejected.

The application must be sent electronically as one combined PDF file via this page ( Potential successful candidates will be interviewed via Skype or other means. The chosen candidate is expected to start the PhD study before 1st September 2017.

For further information about the fellowship, please contact Associate Professor Jingyue Li, e-mail: , phone: + 47 9189 7446, or head of the department Professor Maria Letizia Jaccheri, e-mail: , phone: +47 73593469.

For information about processing of applications, please contact Senior Executive Officer Anne Kristin Bratseth, phone +47 73 59 67 15, e-mail: .

Mark the application: IE 096-2017.

Deadline for application: 2017-08-29.

About this job

  • Deadline Tuesday, August 29, 2017
  • Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Website
  • Municipality Trondheim
  • Place of service Trondheim
  • Jobbnorge ID 140859
  • Internal ID IE 096-2017
  • Scope Fulltime
  • Duration Project

About applications

  • Applications on this job are registered in an electronic form on
  • You must complete: Standard CV
  • Please refer to where you first saw this job advertised!

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