PhD Fellowship on Software Defined Radios

Trondheim, Norway
04 Jul 2018
End of advertisement period
19 Aug 2018
IE 040/2018
Contract Type
Full Time

The positions’ field of research

NTNU has recently established a research program, with a concerted and unified cross-disciplinary focus on designing, building and operating small satellites (or SmallSats) as part of a coordinated system of autonomous robots and agents for maritime sensing, surveillance and communication. Such ubiquitous cyber-physical systems enable not only significant reduction in costs, and increased safety, but even more importantly provide substantially more continuous information about the observed targets and features of scientific interest synoptically across space and time in our oceans.

Our vision is that Smallsats should be affordable, single purpose with dedicated capabilities, software-centric, and seen as an integral part of robotic agents coupled with in-situ presence using autonomous aerial, surface and underwater vehicles for a portable earth observation network that can be actively designed, configured, operated and controlled to fulfill specific mission objectives. The university already has an extensive field driven program in marine robotics which includes aerial, surface and underwater vehicles. In addition, this program will leverage existing collaborations with Norwegian industry and government institutions as well as international collaborations with European and US partners, who can benefit from research outcomes of this proposed work.

A PhD fellowships is available in the project “Mission-oriented autonomous systems with small satellites for maritime sensing, surveillance and communication” (MASSIVE), which are funded by the Research Council of Norway through the IKTPLUSS program. The topics of the research projects is:

High-performance SmallSat communication systems. A Software Defined Radio (SDR) payload in a SmallSat will be launched to a low-Earth orbit in the project, and available for research on heterogeneous sensor networks. By developing a flexible operations framework for the SDR, the radio system can be used to meet several activities. This includes frequency monitoring of relevant spectrums for relevant satellite systems, channel measurements used to derive relevant channel models as well as testing methods for adaptive links, where the links between the satellite and the ground terminal will have different properties with regard to frequency band, energy available, and other ground terminal properties. Application to arctic sensor networks, automatic operation of ground stations and data propagation back-and-forth within the networked systems are also important topics for research. Contact: Professor Torbjörn Ekman (, Department of Electronic Systems. Mark the application IE 040-2018.

The research will involve conceptual and theoretical design studies, as well as involvement in design of payload system, implementation and testing in hardware and software with experimental system studies in satellite missions for oceanographic observations at NTNU and partners. The candidates will work in a research group of at least 7 PhD students working on related topics on SmallSats.

The PhD position is with the Department of Electronic Systems in cooperation with the Department of Engineering Cybernetics. The research and education at these departments cover a wide range of relevant topics including electronics, sensors, signal processing, communication, embedded systems, robotics, autonomous systems, unmanned vehicles, artificial intelligence, radio systems, navigation, and automatic control. These departments also have extensive research on marine and maritime applications.

The research activity is associated with the Center of Excellence on Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems (AMOS) at NTNU ( The Center for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems (NTNU-AMOS) contributes with fundamental and interdisciplinary knowledge on autonomous systems in marine applications.

The research activity is also associated with the Faculty for Information Technology and Electrical Engineering’s strategic research area Coastal and Arctic Maritime Operations and Surveillance (CAMOS). The aim of CAMOS is to accelerate the development of research activity within costal and maritime operations at NTNU.

Qualification requirements

Successful applicants must have a Master degree in electrical engineering, control engineering, computer science, aerospace engineering, electronics, cybernetics, or a related discipline. Experience with SDR equipment is preferred. Applicants must have significant programming experience, such as C, C++, Python and Matlab. 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. The candidate must be willing and able to go to sea and work in the field and willing and able to translate deep theory into practice. This position is within a highly inter-disciplinary group – the candidate as a result must be able to articulate her/his ideas and be open to those well outside her/his comfort zone.

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 and a desire to make an impact on critical societal problems 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 program 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.

The research of this project has civilian objectives. However, equipment restricted by export licenses and ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) is being used in this research area. Applicants that are citizens of Norway, NATO countries, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, or Sweden are eligible. Other applicants must provide evidence of eligibility to use such equipment for their application to be considered.

Salary conditions

The position is in code 1017 Research fellow, and are normally remunerated at gross NOK 436 500 before tax. There will be a 2 % deduction to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund from gross wage.


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.

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.

Applicants 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.

The application with a CV and certified copies of diplomas and certificates must be sent electronically via with information about education and relevant experience (all in one combined PDF file).

Please, mark the application with the corresponding reference code (IE 040-2018).

New deadline for applications: 19 August 2018.

About this job

  • Deadline Sunday, August 19, 2018
  • Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Website
  • Municipality Trondheim
  • Place of service Trondheim
  • Jobbnorge ID 149251
  • Internal ID 2018/7428
  • 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!

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