PhD Research Fellowship Position in Artificial Intelligence

Trondheim, Norway
01 May 2018
End of advertisement period
30 May 2018
IE 102-2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (IE)
Department of Engineering Cybernetics (ITK)

PhD research fellowship position in “AI planning and control for autonomous underwater intervention drones”

The position’s field of research

The main objective of this position is to merge methods from the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and control theory for increasing the autonomy level of Underwater Intervention Drones (UIDs).

Future value creation in the subsea industries will significantly depend on the ability of underwater robots to perform complex tasks reliably and with minimum supervision. To this end, research toward new directions is needed to address current operational challenges related to safe autonomous underwater navigation, mission planning under resource constraints, and reliable intervention. Given a task, such as pipeline inspection or turning a valve, UIDs must be able to plan their actions at a high level and execute them safely using low-level controllers. Moreover, dynamic mission re-planning is necessary within the marine environment, due to its unpredictable nature that involves high modeling uncertainties, challenges in communications and sensing, and unknown disturbances, such as ocean currents.

To achieve the above, merging existing tools and methods from control theory (real-time control under uncertainty, guidance, navigation, collision avoidance, path planning) with existing and emerging AI tools and methods (AI planning, decision making under uncertainty, knowledge representation, deep reinforcement learning etc.), is considered a promising direction.

The candidate will have the opportunity to combine experimental and theoretical work in the aforementioned areas, with the aim of eventually demonstrating their successful fusion in realistic conditions. The project is in strong collaboration with the subsea industry and builds upon recent results.

Qualification requirements

We seek an ambitious and highly-motivated individual with a Master’s degree in engineering cybernetics, control engineering, applied mathematics, computer science, or a related discipline. Applicants should have strong programming skills (preferably, Matlab, Python, C++). Applicants are required to justify their candidateship by explicitly explaining their personal motivation and academic aptitude for pursuing a doctoral degree within this research field. Experience with hands-on experimental work will be considered an advantage.

Applicants that expect to complete their Master degree studies by summer 2018 can apply.

Academic results, publications, relevant specialization, work or research experience, personal qualifications, and motivation will be considered when evaluating the applicants.

It is a prerequisite that the PhD scholar applies for and is granted admission to the NTNU PhD studies as soon as possible after employment. NTNUs PhD-rules require a Master degree or equivalent with at least 5 years of studies and an average ECTS grade of A or B within a scale of A-E for passing grades (A best). Applicants must be qualified for admission as PhD students at NTNU. See for information about PhD studies at NTNU.

Excellent English skills, written and spoken, are required. Applicants from non-European countries where English is not the official language must present an official language test report. 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.

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.

The successful candidate will be appointed for a period of 3 years, with possible extension to a fourth year if the candidate and department agrees on teaching related duties.

Salary conditions

The position follows code 1017, salary grade 50 - 62 in the Norwegian State salary scale, gross NOK 436 500 - 537 700 per year, depending on qualifications. A deduction of 2% is made as a statutory contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.


NTNU can offer an informal and friendly workplace with dedicated colleagues, academic challenges and attractive schemes for home loans, insurance and pensions in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering wants 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.

The appointment is subject to the conditions in effect at any time for employees in the public sector, and assessments regarding the legislations regulating export control and knowledge transfer.

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.

Further details about the position can be obtained from Associate Professor Anastasios Lekkas, e-mail:

Application requirements

Applications are to be submitted electronically through this page ( Preferably, all attachments should be combined into a single file.

The application must contain:

  • CV including information relevant for the qualifications and contact information for at least 2 reference persons
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and transcripts
  • Applicants from universities outside of Norway are 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 short research statement (max. 3 pages) including:
    • A short presentation of the motivation for a PhD study
    • Why the applicant is suited for the position
    • The applicant’s view of research challenges for the PhD position

Publications and any other work that the applicant wishes to be considered must also be enclosed. Joint works will be considered if a short summary outlining the applicant's contributions is attached.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Mark the application with the reference number: IE 102-2018.

Application deadline: May 30, 2018.


  • Deadline Wednesday, May 30, 2018
  • Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Website
  • Municipality Trondheim
  • Place of service Trondheim
  • Jobbnorge ID 152288
  • Internal ID 2018/12896
  • Scope Fulltime
  • Duration Project


  • 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!