PhD Fellow in Artifical Intelligence for climate change and coastal protection

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 15 Jan 2024

4 Dec 2023
Job Information

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Department of Physics and Technology
Research Field

Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

15 Jan 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
The position

The Department of Physics and Technology  announces a vacant position of a PhD fellow in the area of AI for climate change and coastal protection. 

The position is for a period of four years. The nominal length of the PhD programme is three years. The fourth year is distributed as 25 % each year and will consist of teaching and other duties. The objective of the position is to complete research training to the level of a doctoral degree. Admission to the PhD programme is a prerequisite for employment, and the programme period starts on commencement of the position.

This position will be associated with the Earth Observation group  at the Department of Physics and Technology. This group consists of five permanent academic staff and several postdoctoral and PhD fellows and is doing research on multi-sensor remote sensing for High North monitoring using microwave radar sensors, in combination with multi- and hyper spectral sensors. The group collaborates with national and international research groups and has several collaboration projects with industry.

The successful candidate will be building upon research from the nearly completed Centre for Integrated Remote Sensing and Forecasting for Arctic Operations (CIRFA ) a centre for research-based Innovation (SFI) granted by the Research Council of Norway. The PhD Fellow will also be benefitting from the experience on climate change adaptation and mitigation gained by the EO group in other European and international projects (e.g., EU H2020 IMPETUS) and the EU Horizon Europe “Mission Climate” project NATALIE led at UiT by the EO group.

The workplace is at UiT in Tromsø. You must be able to start in the position within a reasonable time after receiving the offer.

The position’s field of research

This project will address continuous monitoring of coastal areas to characterize the effect of climate change at multiple scales using machine learning and remote sensing based data analysis in the context of the EU Horizon Europe “Mission Climate” project NATALIE.

The coast and the marine and freshwater environments have been the backbone of the coastal communities of Northern Norway for many thousands of years. Nevertheless, the region is prone to several geo- and climatic hazards that are posing a threat to the Arctic nature and society. Without adequate measures to adapt to and manage these threats, the region could suffer detrimental losses under ongoing climate change. The Tromsø region is particularly exposed to risks such as landslides, flooding and sea-level rise. Ecosystems and societies in proximity to the ocean or river systems are threatened by local climate effects, and there is a need for better coastal and freshwater protection and proactive adaptation to manage the risks.

The development and implementation of innovative coastal protection strategies against the effects of climate change require the identification of the most vulnerable areas along the estuary, riverbanks and the surrounding coastal area around one of the exposed rivers in the municipality, as well as designing, planning and implementing adequate nature-based and hybrid adaptation measures fit for the case project. Monitoring and evaluation are also important parts of the project throughout the whole process. Relevant risks are potentially river and coastal erosion, environmental pollution, infrastructural damage and compound flooding.

Therefore, investigating large scale datasets collected by diverse sensing and measurement platforms by means of innovative artificial intelligence (AI) methods is crucial to guarantee the success of these solutions in the changing climate. State-of-the-art methods cannot guarantee the level of robustness, accuracy, efficiency that is required to be employed in operational scenarios. Therefore, it is paramount to explore and investigate new directions in AI to address these issues and have an actual impact on sustainable development and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The PhD project will thus address these points by focusing on the design, development and implementation of a novel AI-based digital platform using integrated remote sensing data analysis for:

- identification of areas at risk for sea-level rise, storm surges, river flooding and quick clay slides;

- Quantification of vulnerabilities in the region;

- multi-criteria (e.g., pursuit of biodiversity conservation, human well-being, water management, economic development and job creation) analysis for cost-benefit assessment; The PhD candidate should have an interest in remote sensing and machine learning algorithm development, as well as on the engagement and integration of the local community and local stakeholders.

Roles and responsibilites of the PhD Fellow

The methodological approaches will be explored and validated against our large archive of data collected on the Arctic biogeographical region. With guidance from the supervisory team, the research may expect to include:

  • Innovative processing in-situ and remotely sensed data;
  • Developing novel machine learning methods for climatic and hydrological models to improve reliability and accuracy;
  • New satellite-derived product development for effective coastal protection targeting efficiency and robustness; • Close collaboration with climate modellers, local governments and communities


For further information about the position, please contact:


This position requires a master’s degree or equivalent in physics, mathematics/statistics, or electrical engineering. You may still apply if you are in the final stages of the master’s degree, but the master’s thesis must be submitted for evaluation within the application deadline. 

The suitable candidate must have:

  • Experience with optical remote sensing
  • Experience with machine learning and uncertainty quantification
  • Background in signal and image processing
  • Good skills in programming and English language. English profiency must be documented as stated here . 

A strong background in SAR remote sensing would be an advantage, likewise any previous experience related to multimodal data analysis.

In the assessment, the emphasis is on the applicant's potential to complete a research education based on the master's thesis or equivalent, and any other scientific work. In addition, other experience of significance for the completion of the doctoral programme may be given consideration.

We will also emphasize motivation and personal suitability for the position. We are looking for candidates who have:

  • Independence and self-motivation
  • Creativity and ability to think outside the box
  • Excellent work ethics and commitment to the job International experience is an advantage. Emphasis is also given to personal suitability.

As many people as possible should have the opportunity to undertake organized research training. If you already hold a PhD or have equivalent competence, we will not appoint you to this position.

Admission to the PhD programme 

For employment in the PhD position, you must be qualified for admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Science and Technology  and participate in organized doctoral studies within the employment period.

Admission normally requires:  

  • A bachelor's degree of 180 ECTS and a master's degree.

UiT normally accepts higher education from countries that are part of the Lisbon Recognition Convention.

In order to gain admission to the programme, the applicant must have a grade point average of C or better for the master’s degree and for relevant subjects of the bachelor’s degree. A more detailed description of admission requirements can be found here . 

If you are employed in the position, you will be provisionally admitted to the PhD programme. Application for final admission must be submitted no later than two months after taking up the position. 

Inclusion and diversity

UiT The Arctic University of Norway is working actively to promote equality, gender balance and diversity among employees and students, and to create an inclusive and safe working environment. We believe that inclusion and diversity are a strength, and we want employees with different competencies, professional experience, life experience and perspectives.

If you have a disability, a gap in your CV or immigrant background, we encourage you to tick the box for this in your application. If there are qualified applicants, we invite at least one in each group for an interview. If you get the job, we will adapt the working conditions if you need it. Apart from selecting the right candidates, we will only use the information for anonymous statistics.

We offer
  • Involvement in an interesting research project wothin a highly innovative centre environment
  • Opportunities to travel and meet other leading scientists within the field
  • Independence in work
  • A fantastic work environment 
  • A cosy hometown of Tromsø surrounded by the stunning landscape of Northern Scandinavia
  • Flexible working hours and a state collective pay agreement  
  • Pension scheme through the state pension fund 
  • PhD Fellows are normally given a salary of 532 200 NOK/year with a 3% yearly increase

Norwegian health policy aims to ensure that everyone, irrespective of their personal finances and where they live, has access to good health and care services of equal standard. As an employee you will become member of the National Insurance Scheme  which also include health care services.

More practical information about working and living in Norway can be found here:


Your application must include: 

  • Cover letter explaining your motivation and research interests (max 1 page)
  • CV (max 2 pages)
  • Diploma for bachelor's and master's degree
  • Transcript of grades/academic record for bachelor's and master's degree
  • Explanation of the grading system for foreign education (Diploma Supplement if available)
  • Documentation of English proficiency
  • Three references with contact information, preferably including the master thesis supervisor
  • Master’s thesis, and any other relevant academic works

Qualification with a master’s degree is required before commencement in the position. You may still apply if you are in the final stages of the master’s degree, but the master’s thesis must be submitted for evaluation within the application deadline. You must submit the thesis and transcript of grades for the master’s degree with your application.

All documentation to be considered must be in a Scandinavian language or English. Diplomas and transcripts must also be submitted in the original language, if not in English or Scandinavian. If English proficiency is not documented in the application, it must be documented before starting in the position. We only accept applications and documentation sent via Jobbnorge within the application deadline. 

General information 

The appointment is made in accordance with State regulations and guidelines at UiT. At our website, you will find more information for applicants . 

Remuneration for the position of PhD Fellow is in accordance with the State salary scale code 1017. A compulsory contribution of 2 % to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted. You will become a member of the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund, which gives you many benefits in addition to a lifelong pension. Read more about your employee benefits at: .

A shorter period of appointment may be decided when the PhD Fellow has already completed parts of their research training programme or when the appointment is based on a previous qualifying position PhD Fellow, research assistant, or the like in such a way that the total time used for research training amounts to three years. 

We process personal data given in an application or CV in accordance with the Personal Data Act (Offentleglova). According to the Personal Data Act information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure. You will receive advance notification in the event of such publication, if you have requested non-disclosure. 

Eallju - Developing the High North

UiT The Arctic University of Norway is a multi-campus comprehensive university at the international forefront. Our vision is to be a driving force for developing the High North. The Northern Sami notion eallju, which means eagerness to work, sets the tone for this motive power at UiT. Along with students, staff and the wider community, we aim to utilise our location in Northern Norway and Sápmi, our broad and diverse research and study portfolio and interdisciplinary advantage to shape the future.

Our social mission is to provide research-based education of high quality, perform artistic development and carry out research of the highest international quality standards in the entire range from basic to applied. We will convey knowledge about disciplines and contribute to innovation. Our social mission unites UiT across various studies, research fields and large geographical distances. This demands good cooperation with trade and industry and civil society as well as with international partners. We will strengthen knowledge-based and sustainable development at a regional, national and international level.

Academic freedom and scientific and ethical principles form the basis for all UiT’s activities. Participation, co-determination, transparency and good processes will provide the decision-making basis we need to make wise and far-sighted priorities. Our students and staff will have the opportunity to develop their abilities and potential. Founded on academic integrity, we will be courageous, committed and generous in close contact with disciplines, people and contemporary developments.

We will demonstrate adaptability and seek good and purposeful utilisation of resources, so we are ready to meet the expectations and opportunities of the future. We will strengthen the quality and impact of our disciplines and core tasks through the following three strategic priority areas.

Research Field
Education Level
Master Degree or equivalent

Research Field
Education Level
Master Degree or equivalent

Additional Information
Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Where to apply



Hansine Hansens veg 18
Postal Code



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