PhD student in Software Testing, focusing on Search-Based Test Generation

Updated: 8 months ago
Job Type: Permanent
Deadline: 09 Feb 2020

The department of Computer Science and Engineering is strongly international, with approximately 270 employees from over 30 countries. The department is a fully integrated department with the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology as principals. The position is placed in the Division for Software Engineering at the department, with the University of Gothenburg as the employer.

The successful candidate will conduct research under the supervision of Gregory Gay and work in tight collaboration with world-class researchers in the Software Engineering Division at Chalmers and University of Gothenburg.

Subject area

Search-Based Test Generation

Subject area description

Proper verification practices are needed to ensure that developers deliver reliable software. Testing is an invaluable, widespread verification technique. However, testing is a notoriously expensive and difficult activity. Search-based test generation has great potential to lower the cost and increase the quality of testing efforts. Test case creation can naturally be seen as a search problem. Of the thousands of test cases that could be generated for any system-under-test, we want to find those that meet our goals. Given a well-defined testing goal, and scoring functions denoting closeness to the attainment of that goal - called fitness functions - optimization algorithms can systematically search the space of possible test inputs to locate those that meet that goal. The PhD student will design the next generation of search-based test generation tools, intended to – through the application of artificial intelligence and natural language processing techniques – incorporate domain-specific context directly into the test generation process.

Job assignments

The successful candidate will work in the research area of search-based test generation. This position is sponsored by the Swedish Research Council. This position is a full-time appointment as a PhD student. The position requires the successful candidate to conduct high-quality individual research and publish research papers at peer-reviewed venues. The employment focuses primarily on research. Additional duties include the supervision of bachelor’s and master’s theses and assistance in teaching.

Third-cycle studies are equivalent to four year full-time and lead to a Degree of Doctor. Those appointed to doctoral studentships shall primarily devote themselves to their studies. Those appointed to doctoral studentships may, however, work to a limited extent with educational tasks, research and administration. Before a PhD degree has been awarded, duties of this kind may not comprise more than 20 per cent of a full-time post.

We offer good working conditions and an inspiring environment. You will be embedded in a vibrant and tightly knit group at the Software Engineering division. Founded in 2010, the division has grown to include more than 20 faculty members. Today, we are arguably one of the largest academic software engineering groups in the world. You will join the newly formed TestVikings research lab, working with Gregory Gay, Robert Feldt, Richard Torkar, Francisco Gomes de Oliveira Neto, and others on a variety of challenges in the broad area of software testing. 


To be eligible for third-cycle studies, the applicant must meet both the general and, where applicable, specific entry requirements.

A person meets the general entry requirements for third-cycle studies if he or she:
1. has been awarded a second-cycle qualification
2. has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle, or
3. has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad

The position requires sound verbal and written communication skills in English.


Regulations for the evaluation of qualifications for education on a doctoral level are given in SFS 1998:80.

In selecting between applicants who meet the general and, where applicable specific entry requirements, their ability to benefit from third-cycle studies shall be taken into account.

Curiosity and a genuine interest in the subject matter as well as good communication and collaborative skills are essential. In addition, excellent analytical and communication skills, both oral and written, are needed.

The ideal candidate for the position has a strong background in software engineering, including knowledge about software testing. Prior experience in metaheuristic optimization, machine learning, natural language processing, Bayesian statistics, and areas related to artificial intelligence are helpful.


After admission to third-cycle studies you will be appointed to doctoral studentship. Regulations for employment of doctoral students are given in SFS 1993:100. The initial appointment may apply for no longer than one year. An appointment may be renewed for no more than two years at a time. A person may be appointed to a doctoral studentship for a total of eight years. The total employment period may, however, not exceed the time corresponding to full-time third-cycle study for four years.

Salaries for doctoral students are regulated in a local agreement at the University. 

Type of employment: Fixed-term employment, HF 5 kap 7 §
Extent: 100 % of full time
Location: Department of Computer Science and Engineering /Division of Software Engineering
First day of employment: 2020-06-01 or as soon as possible

For further information regarding the position

Regarding the position please contact Gregory Gay (e-mail:
Regarding the appointment procedure, please contact HR-partner


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:

How to apply

In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

The application is to be written in English.

Closing date: 2020-02-09

The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity.

Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.

The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 47 500 students and 6 400 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.

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