PhD Candidate within Digital Twins for Future Mobility and Infrastructure Solutions

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 30 Sep 2022

About the position

The Department of Computer Science (IDI) is looking for a PhD. candidate in the area of digital twins and artificial intelligence for a sustainable and carbon-neutral mobility future. The main aim of this project is to build a static digital twin of the MobilityLab’s focus area that will act as a baseline for all further simulations and will be extended to be able to receive dynamic information from IoT sensors. An accurate digital representation of the focus area will be created, based on existing geometric information and high-resolution aerial photographs. Raw data is already available for the project either as public or previously acquired datasets, additionally during the project more raw-data will be acquired with our in-house full scale research platforms (Kia e-Niro with an NVIDIA DriveWorks stack as well as dedicated high-resolution surveying drones). The final aim of the project is full automation of the conversion process from raw data to a usable digital twin representation (i.e. AI based methods and handling of Big Data arriving in real-time from the research platforms). Furthermore, improving the model via automatic texturing and interactive editing will also be investigated (e.g. Instant NeRF or Block NeRF). The intended platform for the development of the digital twin will be NVIDIA Omniverse. 

The PhD position is part of a new large interdisciplinary initiative called Mobility Lab Elgeseter. The center is divided into the three focus areas 1) stakeholder needs for good mobility, 2) mobility as a system / transportation models, and 3) digital technologies for green mobility, that will work closely together to realize innovative and sustainable future mobility solutions in the urban environment. Within area 3) various enabling technologies will be used to automate the process of building and using digital mobility infrastructure twins (i.e. holistic/unified, life cycle, hierarchical, integrated, dynamic/updated representations of the physical road network) for collaboration, simulation, carbon/energy footprint calculations, road condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, automated traffic management and other forms for value creation (general knowledge will be developed that can be scaled up and used elsewhere).

To realize the objectives of focus area 3 several PhD candidates with partly overlapping competences will work closely together, each focusing on one of the following technology areas: 1) baseline Digital Mobility Twin (DMT) using site surveys and available geo-located data (this PhD position), 2) dynamically updated DMT  using IoT, sensors, 5G and edge computing, 3) BigData and AI  to create value from all the sensor data sent from the physical twin, e.g. in the form of decision support and automation, 4) autonomy and simulation  to train AI agents and simulate “what-if” scenarios, and 5) XR and Visualization  to interact with the DMT throughout its life-cycle (construction and use) and increase citizens engagement and feedback before things have been built physically.

Throughout the overall Mobility Lab Elgeseter project there will be tight interaction with the other two focus areas, e.g. providing sensor data and visualizations to the two other areas, get feedback from area 1) regarding user needs and integrate transportation models from 2) in the DMT.

This PhD project is also part of the PERSEUS doctoral program  that will contribute to a smarter, safer, and more sustainable future by approaching important challenges within key enabling technologies (Big data and AI, Digital Twins, Internet of Things, Extended Reality, and Information and Cyber Security). PERSEUS is a collaboration between NTNU, 11 top-level academic partners in 8 European countries, and 8 industrial partners within sectors of high societal relevance. The PERSEUS PhD candidates will have the opportunity to collaborate with researchers in the partner institutions and in other project consortia, and benefit from these collaborative research and education activities. This includes a 2–3 month international stay and a 1-2 month national stay with one of the PERSEUS partners.

The position's working place is NTNU campus in Trondheim. 

Your immediate leader is Head of Department.

Duties of the position

  • submit an application for admission to the PhD-program at NTNU no later than 3 months after the employment
  • undertake the necessary courses (30 ECTS) as part of the PhD program
  • conduct high quality research and report progress on a regular basis and in agreement with the supervisors
  • engage and communicate with both academic partners and public stakeholders within the Mobility Lab Elgeseter project
  • actively participate in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the overall digital mobility twin ecosystem 
  • contribute to the dissemination of the research outcomes through public media, conferences, and publications
  • contribute to the academic environment at department, faculty and NTNU

Required selection criteria

  • International mobility requirements: Applicants of any age and any nationality will be eligible as far as they fulfil the mobility requirement of the COFUND program, namely, the applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host organization (Norway) for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the call deadline of PERSEUS.
    Candidates must at the date of the call deadline be within the first four years of their research careers and not yet be awarded a doctoral degree. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when the candidate obtained the degree entitling him/her to embark on a doctorate (e.g. from the Master's degree).
  • Education requirements: 5 years of higher education (BSC and MSC) or education equal to (300 ECTS). The grade requirements are B or higher (based on NTNU’s grading scale ). Master degree must be completed by the call deadline. Education will have to be documented by diploma supplement or equivalent documentation in English and include a description of the educational system. International Relations do require Chinese diplomas to be verified using CHSI. The NTNU Office of International Relations will evaluate degrees and diplomas.
  • Language skill requirements: The applicants will be asked to provide evidence of good English language skills, written and spoken. The following certificates may be used as such evidence: TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).
  • Export of Knowledge Control: The PhD candidates who, based on a comprehensive first-hand assessment, might come into conflict with legislation governing exports of knowledge, technology and services will not advance further from the first stage in the recruitment process. For further information, please refer to the Export Control Act . 

In addition, the candidate must have:

  • a master’s degree in computer science or equivalent with strong analytical skills
  • relevant background and experience within machine learning and / or modern computer vision
  • excellent programming skills and good knowledge of key programming languages and frameworks used in machine learning  and date science

The appointment is to be made in accordance with  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

  • have an interest in and relevant experience related to mobility, digitalization, autonomous driving, road infrastructure and enabling digital twin technologies like IoT, BigData, AI, Simulation, Cloud computing, GUI/HCI, XR/Viz, privacy and information security
  • have a good understanding of the connection between technology, processes, and human interaction
  • excellent written and oral English

Personal characteristics

  • be motivated and ambitious
  • ability to work independently as well as in cross disciplinary teams
  • ability to interact and collaborate with actors in academia, public sector and industry (e.g. behave respectfully and value the inputs and opinions of others)
  • ability to thrive and contribute to the work environment
  • be self-motivated, focused and goal-oriented, be committed and keep deadlines, be flexible, reliable, and solution-orientated, be innovation driven, enthusiastic and ambitious
  • be scientifically curious and open to new research challenges, demonstrate persistence in addressing technical problems
  • good communication and dissemination skills.

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017 and are normally remunerated at NOK 501 200 per annum before tax, however it may be negotiable (increased) depending on high level of qualifications and research experience of the candidate. 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 program in Computer Science (IDI)  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 your application will be considered based solely on information submitted by the application deadline. You must therefore ensure that your application clearly demonstrates how your skills and experience fulfil the criteria specified above.

Please submit your application electronically via Jobbnorge website. Applications submitted elsewhere/incomplete applications will not be considered. Applicants must upload the following documents within the closing date:

  • A short cover letter identifying your motivation and suitability for the position (based on the stated selection criteria)
  • CV including information relevant for the qualifications, submitted together with an identification document and name, current affiliation, and email address of at least two persons that will serve as a reference for you.
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and transcripts, and 2 reference letters.
  • If all, or parts, of your education has been taken outside of Norway, 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.
  • A research interest description (maximum 2 pages) that includes a short presentation of the motivation for a PhD study, suitability for the position and the applicant’s view towards listed research challenges as well as the theoretical and methodological approach to the challenges.
  • A copy of master thesis (pdf). 
  • Scientific publications (if any). 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.

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

General information

Working at NTNU

NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is our strength. We want to recruit people with different competencies, educational backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives to contribute to solving our social responsibilities within education and research. We will facilitate for our employees’ needs.

NTNU is working actively to increase the number of women employed in scientific positions and has a number of resources to promote equality.

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.

A public list of applicants with name, age, job title and municipality of residence is prepared after the application deadline. If you want to reserve yourself from entry on the public applicant list, this must be justified. Assessment will be made in accordance with current legislation . You will be notified if the reservation is not accepted.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Associate Professor Gabriel Kiss, telephone +47 91897945, email gabriel.kiss@ntnu.no . If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact the HR-team at the Department of Computer Science by e-mail: hr@idi.ntnu.no .

Application deadline: 30.09.2022.

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  .

Deadline 30th September 2022
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service NTNU Campus Trondheim


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