PhD position within “Cities as learning innovation ecosystems – the role of ICT to support learning...

Updated: about 1 month ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 13 Oct 2020

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

About the position

We have a vacancy for a PhD candidate at the Department of Computer Science

The PhD position is within “Cities as learning innovation ecosystems – the role of ICT to support learning within and across cities”.

Transformative processes within cities and urban contexts have been in focus for some time now and has been a part of the European and Norwegian research agendas. The motivation for achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SGDs), in particular, climate change (SGD 13) and sustainable cities and communities (SGD 11), have increased the need to understand and manage cities in new and innovative ways. Furthermore, the abundance of data poses new challenges as well as opens up for new opportunities for innovation within cities. In order to address the challenges in achieving the sustainability goals, ICT can and should play a central role in the research activities, as an enabler and across the numerous cross-cutting activities. As such, NTNU and IDI are currently active in several Norwegian and European initiatives such as the Norwegian project FME-ZEN Research Centre  and the EU H2020 SCC project Positive City Exchange .

Several projects focus on developing sustainable solutions in one or more “lighthouse” cities and transforming these solutions to other “follower” cities, mostly through the use of best practices or replication of solutions. Replication of ICT-based solutions, based on the availability of data, have been considered using Enterprise Architecture frameworks, often focussed on capturing snapshots of solution architectures in organisations, on technologies and managing the change in the ICT applications. Recent Enterprise Architecture approaches have evolved to capture the citizens’ perspectives and the needs of people; and Enterprise Modelling approaches have been used to model these architectures. Nevertheless, they remain as models or replication templates and provide limited support to understand the important processes and crucial interactions that are relevant for learning and innovation in cities.

An important step towards sustainable cities and in achieving the UN SGDs is the possibility for cities to learn and innovate within themselves and across cities. An important prerequisite to supporting learning within and across cities is the understanding of the city and the context around it. Pioneering regions and cities are considered as learning innovation ecosystems, where some of the important elements include urban experiments, active engagement and participation of the people and collaborative processes among the citizens, researchers, public and private entities. As in humans and in organisations, learning in cities should also include exploring variations, diversity in thought, reflection and variations in action and understanding that could lead to innovative applications of solutions at the city level.

The recent focus on ICT has primarily been on the concept of Smart Cities, through use of data, technology, IoT sensing, monitoring and predicting through data analytics and Machine Learning approaches. The digital transformation wave has stimulated moves to make cities use digital technologies for connectivity and to understand and manage them through, e.g., the digital representation of cities as Digital Twins. As complementary approaches, our research has focussed on the application of Enterprise Modelling and Enterprise Architecture based approaches, Agent-based modelling and Complex Adaptive Systems Modelling, to obtain a deeper understanding and insights into the potentials of data, transformative processes in cities and the intricate interactions within them. Combinations of modelling approaches could provide a good understanding of a city or a context, as an organic entity that evolves and transforms, based on the explicit and implicit interactions and activities within itself. These are important for learning and innovation across cities, to identify cross-city contexts, shared experiences, challenges and opportunities.

You will report to the Head of the Department

Duties of the position

The research activities will focus on the role of ICT in supporting cities as learning innovation ecosystems; in particular, applying ideas from Information Systems, Enterprise Modelling and Enterprise Architecture, Agent-based modelling and Complex Adaptive Systems Modelling, to support learning and innovation within and across cities, to achieve sustainable cities as envisaged by UN SGD 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities).

The main research questions will explore the following:

  • How can Enterprise Modelling and Agent-based modelling approaches be applied to understand how cities learn and innovate within themselves?
  • How can modelling and EA approaches support learning and knowledge transfer across cities?
  • How can ICT facilitate interactions, participation and collaboration among the actors in cities and communities to achieve sustainable solutions?

For this position, the selection committee will prioritise candidates with a strong knowledge of Information Systems Modelling. The following qualifications are required:

  • Documented strong background in Information Systems and/or Computer Science, Enterprise Modelling and Enterprise Architecture.
  • Research-oriented master thesis within the areas Information Systems, Smart and Sustainable Cities, Distributed Artificial Intelligence or Decentralised Systems.
  • General knowledge on trends in Enterprise Modelling and Enterprise Architecture approaches.

The following qualifications will be considered as advantages:

  • General knowledge or experience in Enterprise Modelling, Agent-based modelling or Complex Adaptive Systems Modelling.
  • General knowledge or experience in working with smart cities or urban design related projects.
  • Knowledge or experience in Design Science Research method and agile development methods.
  • Documented ability to work in multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural contexts.
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively.
  • Excellent written and oral Norwegian language skills will be beneficial.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work with related collaborative projects.

Required selection criteria

We seek an ambitious and highly motivated individual with a master’s degree in information systems, Computer Science, Distributed Artificial Intelligence or a related discipline. Applicants are required to justify their candidateship by explicitly explaining their personal motivation and academic aptitude for pursuing a doctoral degree within this research field.

Applicants that expect to complete their master’s degree studies by summer 2020 can apply.

Academic results, publications, relevant specialization, work or research experience, personal qualifications and motivations will be considered when evaluating the application.

It is a prerequisite that the PhD scholar applies for and is granted admission to the NTNU PhD studies as soon as possible after employment. NTNUs PhD-rules require a master’s degree or equivalent with at least 5 years of studies and an average ECTS grade of A or B within a scale of A-E for passing grades (A best). Applicants must be qualified for admission as PhD students at NTNU .

Excellent English skills, written and spoken, are required. Applicants from non-European countries where English is not the official language must present an official language test report. The following tests can be used as such documentation: TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test), 92 (Internet-based test)
  • IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted)
  • CAE/CPE: grade B or A.

Appointments are made in accordance with the regulations in force regarding terms of employment for PhD candidates issued by the Ministry of Education and Research, with relevant parts of the additional guidelines for appointment as a PhD candidate at NTNU.

Applicants must undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme of study during their period of employment. The person who is appointed must comply with the conditions that apply at any time to employees in the public sector. In addition, a contract will be signed regarding the period of employment.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant

Personal characteristics

The evaluation of which candidate is best qualified will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability. In addition, an open mind to explore new approaches and to work at the cross section of different disciplines is crucial for this position.

We offer
Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 479 600 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 Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering wants to attract outstanding and creative candidates who can contribute to our ongoing research activities. We believe that diversity is important to achieve a good, inclusive working environment. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of the gender, disability or cultural background.

Under Section 25 of the Freedom of Information Act, information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have his or her name entered on the list of applicants.

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 period of employment is 3 years, or 4 years with 25 % teaching related duty 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.

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, including information relevant for the qualifications and contact information for at least 2 reference persons
  • Certificates and Diplomas
  • Applicants from universities outside of Norway are requested to send a diploma supplement (or a similar document) which describes in detail the study and grading system, and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree.
  • A Research statement (max. 3 pages) including:
    • A short presentation of the motivation for a PhD study in this topic.
    • Why the applicant is suited for the position.
    • The applicant’s view of research challenges for the PhD position, as well as his/her theoretical and methodological approach to the challenges.
  • Academic work - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment (max 5). Joint work will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint work, 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 suitability.

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.

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 Sobah Abbas Petersen, email  or Head of Department Professor John Krogstie, email:

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 2020/28653 when applying.

Application deadline: 13.10.2020

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 Computer Science

We are the leading academic IT environment in Norway, and offer a wide range of theoretical and applied IT programmes of study at all levels. Our subject areas include hardware, algorithms, visual computing, AI, databases, software engineering, information systems, learning technology, HCI, CSCW, IT operations and applied data processing. The Department has groups in both Trondheim and Gjøvik. The Department of Computer Science  is one of seven departments in the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering  .

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