PhD candidate within railway track condition monitoring

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 22 Oct 2021

About the position

We have a vacancy for a a 3 years PhD position exploring train and railway track health monitoring and predictive maintenance algorithms using measured data from a train in regular traffic at The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

NTNU is working with the Norwegian Railway Directorate on challenging engineering projects for our future railway systems. This work considers the continuous monitoring and evaluation of the status of railway vehicles and infrastructures. Using a state-of-the-art measuring system, data from a passenger train in regular service will be recorded and analysed for multiple purposes. This work will focus on exploring data measured from railway track as an aid for development of algorithms that can provide information on the status of the railway infrastructure and the bogie with the help of only data recorded from train in regular traffic. 

At present, vehicle and railway track condition is monitored either manually or via dedicated measurement car. These solutions have a disadvantage as the condition of the vehicle, and track will only make known infrequently. This makes both the vehicle and track vulnerable if issues happen in the interval of two measurements. Therefore, together with Norwegian Railway Directorate, a project is established focusing on measures taken from regular train in traffic. 

The position is about point-wise measurements on railway track to collect data as an aid to find correlation of the data with data measured from train in regular traffic and for algorithms development and other purposes.  The scope of the position includes planning, site measurement, data collection, analysis and dissemination for at least 3 problematic areas over time e.g., switches and crossings, rail corrugation and track damages. The data collection will be executed by using Miniprof switches and crossings, 3D geometry scanner, laser doppler vibrometer, vision-based displacement measurement and corrugation analysis trolley.

The position is one of the PhD positions related to the project “railway track and vehicle condition monitoring with train in regular traffic” and a part of green shift center. 

You will report to Albert Lau (Associate Professor).


Duties of the position
  • Complete a training component as a part of the PhD of a minimum of 30 ECTS
  • Conduct scientific research relevant to the research topic above
  • Draft project documents, scientific papers under supervision
  • Contribute to teaching duty involving teaching, supervision of bachelor/master students and improvement of course teaching materials

Required selection criteria
  • You must have a professionally relevant background in Machine learning and data science, railway/vehicle engineering,  or equivalent education 
  • 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 faculty's doctoral program (https://www.ntnu.edu/iv/doctoral-programme ) 

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
  • Prior knowledge and experience (Master degree) in one or more of the following: railway engineering, structural engineering, geometric engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, mathematical and statistical science, or other education based on quantitative methods
  • Experience in programming knowledge and experience
  • Experience in data analysis and experimental research
  • Enthusiasm for research, teamwork, capability of independent problem-solving, able to handle stressful working condition
  • Excellent written and oral English. Knowledge of Norwegian or Scandinavian language is appreciated

Personal characteristics
  • Highly capable to work both independently and a high level of personal responsibility
  • Ability to meet deadlines, punctual, and produce work of a consistently high standard
  • High motivation for research work
  • Well organized and positive attitude
  • Capable to point out problems and suggest solutions

We offer
Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from 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.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Engineering (https://www.ntnu.edu/ibm/phd ) 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.

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 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. 

The application must include: 

  • CV, certificates, master thesis 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 
  • Academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment (up to 10 works)
  • Research plan (not more than 5 pages excluding references and appendix)
  • Name and contact information of three referees 

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 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.

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 Associate Professor Albert Lau, telephone: +47 94258319, email: albert.lau@ntnu.no . If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Senior Execuitve Officer HR Hege Johansen, e-mail: hege.johansen@ntnu.no .

Please submit your application electronically via jobbnorge.no 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 IV-212/21 when applying.

Application deadline: 22.10.2021


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 Civil and Environmental Engineering

We conduct research and teaching in civil and transportation engineering, technical planning, structural engineering, water and wastewater engineering and hydraulic engineering. Graduates from our programmes become employees – in both the public and private sectors – with a sustainability mindset combined with competitive knowledge and skills. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering  is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.


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