PhD Candidate within Automatic Data Acquisition, Detection and Classification and Data Mapping

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 07 Jan 2022

Research Collaboration Sustainability

In 2015, the 2030 agenda with the 17 sustainability goals was adopted by all UN member states. The sustainability goals see the environment, economy and social development in context. The time horizon for necessary changes is short, and it is challenging to combine different considerations without conflicts of objectives and unintended consequences of measures.

NTNU is now announcing 43 individual PhD positions that will contribute to a greater understanding of system effects, societal changes and conflicts of interest related to the sustainability challenges. These positions are divided into 9 interdisciplinary projects with mainly 4-7 PhD positions in each project. Interdisciplinary Sustainability Research - Calls - NTNU

In this position, the candidate is expected to cooperate with the other PhD students in the project Sustainability - Marine plastic pollution sweet spot - NTNU

About the position

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

We have a vacancy for a PhD Candidate at the Department of ICT and Natural Sciences (IIR) in Ålesund, within Automatic Data Acquisition, Detection and Classification and Data mapping.

The PhD position is focused on research areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and unmanned surface vehicle for automatic data acquisition, detection, classification, and mapping of marine plastic pollution in Norwegian waters. 

The position is part of the project; Combining skills to identify the "Sweet Spot" to solve marine plastic pollution in Norway and is one of five PhD positions connected to this project. This project is a newly established, interdisciplinary initiative led by NTNU in Ålesund. The objective of the project is to bring forward outstanding research to build on current activities at different departments at NTNU to investigate transformative solutions to the marine plastic problem through circular economy. The terminology “sweet spots” reflects the idea of using mutually complementing knowledge systems to build a comprehensive picture of marine plastic pollution in Norway and use this as a springboard for co-developing interventions that are eco-effective.

The PhD position is one of the projects’ five work packages (work package 1). The project goal is to explore how marine plastic waste and discarded fishing gear can result in new opportunities and value creation. This PhD will develop an autonomous navigation system for a commercially available autonomous surface vehicle (USV) to enable it to systematically cover or map a particular area of interest (i.e., predefined hotspots). The generated navigation paths must be suitable for the mission in terms of adhering to marine traffic regulations in the region, and a solution that take into considerations power and environmental constraints to perform the required task. In addition, deep learning techniques will be used to develop object detectors capable of identifying and quantifying surface and sub-surface feasible and infeasible marine plastic pollution in predefined areas of interest. 

We are seeking candidates with a background in artificial intelligence, optimization, machine learning, and robotics. 

The duration of the PhD employment is 36 months. Starting gross salary is 491 200 NOK/year (equal to approx. 50.133 EUR/year by the exchange rate of May 2021). We are looking for PhD candidates from all nationalities, who want to contribute to our quest to create knowledge for a better world. 

We believe in fair and open processes. All applications will be considered through a transparent evaluation procedure, with independent observers involved.

The position's working place is at the NTNU campus in Ålesund, at the Department of ICT and Natural Sciences.

You will report to the Head of the Department.

We look forward to welcoming you to the "Sweet Spot" team. 

Duties of the position
  • The PhD Candidate is expected to develop an autonomous navigation system that can generate optimized navigation paths to enable a commercial USV to cover a particular area of interest systematically and optimally for image acquisition and sampling.
  • Develop a geotagged image acquisition for detection and registration of marine plastics in marine environments.
  • Develop deep learning techniques for detection and quantification of marine plastics.
  • Develop a visualization tool able to display marine plastic sweet spots.

Required selection criteria
  • You must have a professionally relevant background in machine learning, optimization, and robotics.
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, 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 PhD program in computer science (IDI) at NTNU.
  • Solid background in robot operating system (ROS), strong programming skills and OpenCV.
  • Strong background in machine learning and optimization.
  • Genuine interest in developing technologies for a better world.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants  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
  • Hands-on machine learning and computer vision
  • Good research skills including the literature review, data analysis and problem-solving abilities
  • Good written and oral English

Personal characteristics
  • You must be independent, have great work capacity and have enthusiasm for research.
  • The ability to contribute to a good PhD environment and work environment in general is emphasized.
  • The ability to carry out projects will be given special weight.
  • Commitment and delivery with respect to deadlines

We offer
Salary and conditions

As a PhD Candidate (code 1017) you are normally paid from gross NOK 491 200 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, or 4 years with teaching duties.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Computer Science  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 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 follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

  • Application letter concerning your motivation for completing a Phd in this particular project, outlining previous relevant experience
  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • 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.
  • Project proposal (2-3 pages excl. references)
  • Name and address of three referees
  • If you have publications or other relevant research work

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.

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief 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

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. 


The city of Ålesund, with its population of 50 000, will provide you with plenty of opportunities to explore a region of Norway that is famous for its beautiful scenery with high mountains and blue fjords. Ålesund itself, with its Art Nouveau architecture, is by many considered to be the most beautiful city in Norway! The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world.


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.

In accordance with The Public Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Professor Ibrahim A. Hameed, telephone +47 41315695, email , or Associate Professor Deepti Mishra, email . If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Gunn Helen Hellevik, e-mail: . 

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI) .

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number 2021/58717 when applying.

Application deadline: 07.01.2021.

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 ICT and Natural Sciences

Our campus in Ålesund works in a partnership with industry that is in a class of its own among Norwegian universities. This ensures a practical focus for our study programmes, while they are firmly anchored in modern theory. The Department offers programmes in automation engineering, computer engineering, electric power systems, simulation and visualization. Our research areas include autonomous vessels, robotics, cybernetics, medical technology and health informatics, and artificial intelligence. The Department of ICT and Natural Sciences  is one of seven departments in the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering  .

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