PhD Candidate in AI and data-driven safety management in operation of autonomous ships

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 06 May 2024

9 Apr 2024
Job Information

NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Department of Marine Technology
Research Field

Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

6 May 2024 - 23:59 (Europe/Oslo)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description
This is NTNU

NTNU is a broad-based university with a technical-scientific profile and a focus in professional education. The university is located in three cities with headquarters in Trondheim.

At NTNU, 9,000 employees and 43,000 students work to create knowledge for a better world.

You will find more information about working at NTNU and the application process here.

About the job

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree.

The Department of Marine Technology  at NTNU is seeking a PhD Candidate in “AI and data-driven safety management in operation of autonomous ships.” The PhD candidate will work on challenging research problems related to AI-powered safety management systems for autonomous ship operations. For a position as a PhD candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree. The position is funded by SFI AUTOSHIP, the Research-based innovation Centre on autonomous ships.  Here, we are joining forces with more than twenty partners from industry, public sector, universities, and research institutes. Research areas cover competences that the Norwegian maritime industry needs in autonomy, digital infrastructure, maritime transport, safety and risk analysis, maritime law, human-machine interaction, and cyber security. More information about SFI AUTOSHIP can be found on the Centre’s webpage .

The successful candidate will be tasked to develop a safety-management system customized to autonomous ship operations. The solution will involve a coupling between control systems, sensors, and safety aspects. We expect your research to cover theoretical work, extensive data collection, analysis, simulations. All proposed methodologies will be evaluated and verified via full-scale experiments. As a part of the research activities, the successful candidate will collaborate actively with some of the partners in the SFI AUTOSHIP Centre.

Your immediate leader is your supervisor. For administration purposes, this position reports to the Head of Department.

Duties of the position

The main objective of the research is to develop a safety-management system capable of learning from all autonomous ships operations. The purpose of the safety management system is to monitor autonomous ship operations while learning differences between subjective safety assumptions and objective safety limits.

Required selection criteria
  • professionally relevant background in computers science, applied mathematics, safety and reliability engineering, cybernetics/control engineering, marine technology, or other related fields
  • strong competencies in one or more of the followings areas: Machine learning; Reliability, availability, maintainability, and safety (RAMS); Marine/Control engineering
  • education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree program, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level
  • 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
  • excellent English skills, written and spoken, are required. Applicants from non-English speaking countries outside Europe must present an official language test report. The acceptable tests are TOEFL, IELTS, and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Minimum scores are:
    •  TOEFL: 600 / writing 4.5 (paper-based) or 92 / writing 22 (internet-based)
    •  IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted)
    •  CAE/CPE: grade B or A
  • must meet the requirements for admission to the (Doctoral Program – PhD – Faculty of Engineering Science - NTNU ) 

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

Preferred selection criteria
  • demonstrated experience with AI and data-driven models and (or) in risk analysis and risk modeling (any sector) and (or) maritime systems/marine technology
  • demonstrated strong programming skills using Python, C++, MATLAB, and/or other languages. Relevant experience/publications are an advantage
  • norwegian oral and written language skills

Personal characteristics
  • high self-motivation and high motivation for research and research topic
  • scientific curiosity and open-minded attitude
  • independent and systematic working style
  • flexible, reliable, and result-oriented, with ability to work hard both independently and as part of a team
  • excellent communication skills, good in collaborating with others in an interdisciplinary research environment

Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

We offer
  • exciting and stimulating tasks in a strong international academic environment
  • an open and inclusive work environment  with dedicated colleagues
  • favourable terms in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • employee benefits

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 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 on a daily basis.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English or Norwegian.

Publications and other scientific work must be attached to the application. Please note that your application will be considered based 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.

The application must include: 

  • cover letter (0.5-2 pages), indicating:
    • your motivation for a PhD study
    • how you envisage your contribution within the specified position
    • why you are suited for the position
  • 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
  • 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
  • i you have publications or other relevant research work (published or unpublished)
  • english language proficiency documentation (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS, etc.). This requirement is waived for applicants whose mother tongue is English, as well as for applicants from Scandinavian countries
  • name and contact information of three references (including email addresses and telephone number)

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

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.

We will take joint work into account. If it is difficult to identify your efforts in the joint work, you must enclose a short description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

General information

Working at NTNU

NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is a strength. We want our faculty and staff to reflect Norway’s culturally diverse population and we continuously seek to hire the best minds. This enables NTNU to increase productivity and innovation, improve decision making processes, raise employee satisfaction, compete academically with global top-ranking institutions, and carry out our social responsibilities within education and research. NTNU emphasizes accessibility and encourages qualified candidates to apply regardless of gender identity, ability status, periods of unemployment or ethnic and cultural background.


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.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Ekaterina Kim and Ingrid Bouwer Utne, email: [email protected] and [email protected] . If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Marit Gjersvold, e-mail: [email protected] .

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: 06.05.2024

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 Marine Technology

We develop methods and technology related to the blue economy: oil and gas extraction at sea, ship technology and the equipment industry, fisheries and aquaculture. We also have a strong commitment to the development of sustainable solutions for offshore renewable energy, coastal infrastructure, and marine robotics. Marine technology helps to solve major global challenges related to the environment, climate, energy, food and efficient transport. The Department of Marine Technology  is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Research Field
Education Level
Master Degree or equivalent

Additional Information
Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Where to apply



Jonsvannsveien 82
Postal Code



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