PhD in Multisensor Fusion for Modelling Dynamic Marine Operation Environment

Ålesund, Norway
24 May 2018
End of advertisement period
30 Sep 2018
NV- 07/18
Contract Type
Full Time

Department of Biological Sciences at Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering at Faculty of Engineering have a joint vacancy of one PhD position which runs over 3 years. The position is financed by EU MarTERA program through the project INTENDU. The PhD will registered with the program in Nautical Operations at Department of Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering at Faculty of Engineering. This is a research position that will lead to the doctoral degree (PhD) in addition to contributing to professional development at two faculties. The workplace is at NTNU in Ålesund. The candidate will also participate and collaborate with a team of PhD students in Ålesund and at the research activity within the EU project INTENDU.

Description of the PhD research project

Unmanned robotic platforms have been developed for a number of different marine and maritime applications. The use of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) can make operations like ocean monitoring and exploration, bathymetric tasks or even inspection of underwater structures efficient and relatively cost-effective. While the versatility of such platforms brings added benefits, its long-term use is still limited by the energetic autonomy of the vehicles. Therefore, deployment and recovery operations of the vehicle are always necessary, requiring non-negligible amounts of both time and personnel, but also of a support vessel. This leads to a significant impact in the operations costs.

Enabling long-term unattended operations, without the need of a support vessel, would dramatically decrease the cost of operating such vehicles, making them more affordable. Persistent and/or long-term deployment of AUVs, for exploration and monitoring tasks, has been foreseen as a future development.

The main drive for this project arises from concrete and specific needs for long term monitoring of fish-farm infrastructures. In specific, the use of AUVs for those purposes would, on one side, allow the study of wild fish aggregations in such structures, and on the other allow a more continuous monitoring of the benthos under the fish farms. The development of a new era of technologies that enable the aforementioned tasks are the core of this project, in particular for both contactless underwater power transmission and wireless communications. On top of that, the development of the navigation and control strategies that enable the vehicle to perform its inspection and monitoring activities will complement the key technological challenges of the project.

The main tasks of this PhD project are to address all the activities that are directly related to the mobile underwater platform that is going to be used throughout the activities of the INTENDU project, and to perform two test cases for the use of the AUV in cooperation with other project partners. The AUV will be equipped with a set of sensors that will enable the accomplishment of the underwater inspection tasks. The focus of this Ph.D. project is data integration and representation, including the collection from disparate data sources, visualization and user interaction of the monitoring data. The first objective is related to the development of a system to collect and analyse data from disparate sources and to the development of a framework to define triggers for AUV missions. The second objective is to develop a system for the visualization of large amounts of data from external sensor networks and sensory information on board the AUV.

Based on the simulator facilities at NTNU in Ålesund, visual representation can include the following very diverse aspects like environmental representation and visualization of 2D or 3D environmental conditions (water quality, speed, current, etc.) robotic platform representation (orientation, speed, etc.), data model representation, data model visualization, observed objects information (fish movement, behaviour, etc.). Data visualization will take advantage of technological advances to display and navigate large amounts of information, for example in simulator rooms with a large number of physical or simulated screens or for the use with VR goggles, but it will also focus on the usability of the user interface on normal screens.


The position requires a Master’s degree in engineering science within the major fields: computer science, cybernetics, and marine/maritime technology or similar. The preferred candidate has a solid knowledge and interest in modelling and simulation, and/or cybernetics and sensor technology. The candidate should be enthusiastic and highly motivated and willing to work both independently and with other researchers.

The candidate must also fulfil the requirement for admission to a doctoral program

  • The applicants must hold a Master’s Degree as mentioned above, with an average grade B or better measured in ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) grades, or similar education at the equivalent level.
  • Good theoretical and analytical skills.
  • Ability to work independently as well as in team.
  • Potential for research at an international level and keen interest in the wider own research. Ability to engage in cross-disciplinary teams.
  • Written and oral fluency in English. 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

Candidates from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a Diploma Supplement or a similar document, which describes in detail the study and grade system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree:


PhD Candidates are remunerated in the State’s salary scale. There will be a 2 % deduction to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund from gross wage.

Applicants will engage in an organized PhD training program, and appointment requires approval of the applicants plan for a PhD study within three months from the date of commencement. See for more information.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants. The positions adhere to the Norwegian Government’s policy of balanced ethnicity, age and gender. Women are encouraged to apply.

According to the new Freedom of Information Act, information concerning the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to be included in the list of applicants. Start-up date may be 1 September 2018, or by agreement.

For further information about the position, please contact:
Prof. Houxiang Zhang e-mail: Tlf: +47 97 83 58 11 and/or Associated Prof. Lars Christian Gansel e-mail:  Tlf: +47 46 45 62 81.

The application
Application must contain information of educational background and work experience. Certified copies of transcripts and reference letters should be enclosed. Applications with CV, grade transcripts and other enclosures must be submitted electronically through
Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered.

Application deadline is 30.09.2018.

The reference number of the position is: NV- 07/18

About this job

  • Deadline Sunday, September 30, 2018
  • Employer NTNU - Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet
  • Website
  • Municipality Ålesund
  • Place of service Ålesund
  • Jobbnorge ID 153358
  • Internal ID NV-07/18
  • Scope Fulltime
  • Duration Temporary

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!