PhD Candidate in hydrogen uptake and diffusion in pipeline steels

Updated: 7 days ago
Deadline: 15 Apr 2024

15th April 2024

  • English

The Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering has a vacancy for a
PhD Candidate in hydrogen uptake and diffusion in pipeline steels
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About the job

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

Hydrogen is considered a clean and efficient energy carrier crucial for shaping the climate-neutral future. A large-scale production, transportation, storage, and utilization of hydrogen is expected to be escalated in the next decades. In Norway, the subsea pipeline network on the Norwegian Continental Shelf is gaining traction as an opportunity for the large-scale transport of hydrogen from Norway to Europe. However, due to the small size of hydrogen atom, it can be absorbed on, diffuse into, and interact with crystal defects in metallic materials, and degrade their mechanical properties, leading to a pre-mature failure of the structural components. To support the upcoming hydrogen economy, understanding the hydrogen embrittlement (HE) in advanced structural metals is essential for future infrastructures in the hydrogen-based energy industries. In particular, knowledge and control of the degrading effect of hydrogen on the material properties of pipeline steels are prerequisites for transport safety.

In a Collaborative and Knowledge-building Project “Safety and Integrity of Hydrogen Transport Pipelines” funded by the Research Council of Norway, we aim to enable safe pipeline transport of hydrogen gas by building a knowledge base covering the hydrogen effect on pipeline steel welds heat affected zone and its influence on the overall integrity of the pipeline. In this PhD project, your research will focus on hydrogen uptake, diffusion and trapping in pipeline welds employed by the electrochemical permeation and thermal desorption spectroscopy techniques. The impact of microstructure, hydrogen environments and stress state will be evaluated. We are looking for you who want to collaborate with industrial partners and conduct in depth research in this field.  

Your immediate leader is Associate Professor Xu Lu.

Duties of the position
  • investigate hydrogen uptake, diffusion and trapping in pipeline steels using electrochemical permeation and thermal desorption spectroscopy techniques
  • upgrade existing facilities to evaluate the impact of microstructure, hydrogen environments and stress state on hydrogen permeation behavior
  • microstructure characterization using advanced microscopy-based techniques
  • participate in project meetings with supervisors and colleagues
  • write journal papers
  • present scientific work at conferences
  • write and defend a PhD thesis

Required selection criteria
  • you must have a relevant background in the field of materials science, engineering, or electrochemistry
  • documented experimental skills in conducting electrochemical tests
  • your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree program, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level
  • you must have a 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.
  • you must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty's doctoral program
  • you must have good written and oral English language skills

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
  • knowledge and experimental skills of electrochemical permeation test and thermal desorption spectroscopy analysis
  • hands-on experience with one or more characterization techniques such as scanning electron microscopy, focused ion beam, atomic force microscopy and transmission electron microscopy
  • prior knowledge or experience in hydrogen embrittlement phenomenon of structural materials
  • relevant experience from industry

Personal characteristics
  • motivated, enthusiastic and result oriented
  • independent, and self-going
  • progress-oriented
  • motivated to embrace challenges
  • good collaborative capabilities
  • good communication skills and ability to work in close contact with the industry
  • motivated to conduct research in a multidisciplinary setting and team

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 position is subject to external funding.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

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

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: 

  • 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
  • a 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
  • cover letter justifying your interest and fit for the position
  • research plan or project proposal (maximum 2 pages, Times New Roman or similar Font 11, Single spacing)
  • name and contact information of three referees
  • academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment (up to 10 works)
  • documentation on required criteria two

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 our strength. We want to recruit people with different competencies, educational backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives to contribute to solving our social responsibilities within education and research. We will facilitate for our employees’ needs.

NTNU is working actively to increase the number of women employed in scientific positions and has a number of resources to promote equality.


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 Assoc. Prof. Xu Lu, e-mail: [email protected], +47 92257159, or Prof. Roy Johnsen, email: [email protected], +47 93245101. If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact HR Consultant Hedda Winnberg, 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: 15.04.2024

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NTNU - knowledge for a better world

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 Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

We educate graduates who can create new products, operate and maintain products, and manage projects. The Department has a variety of bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes. We conduct wide-ranging research in fields such as technology, energy, product quality and development, and productivity. The Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

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15th April 2024


NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology




Fulltime (1 positions) Fulltime (%)



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