PhD Position, Department of Structural Engineering

Updated: about 1 month ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 08 Mar 2020

Reassessment of the Structural Integrity of Road Bridges with special emphasis on data acquisition and analysis and maintenance planning

About the position

We have a vacancy for a PhD Candidate at the Department of structural Engineering

About this position

We have a vacancy for a PhD position at Department of Structural Engineering that is focused on the assessment and representation of the structural integrity of road bridges. The position is part of a larger project with several PhD positions in coordination with Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) and NTNU. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration holds a portfolio of about 16’000 road bridges and many of them have reached an age where considerable maintenance is needed. This requires large investments that have to be made based on the best available knowledge about the condition of the bridges. The accurate representation of the actual structural integrity, i.e. the reliability and serviceability, are thereby of particular importance.

The objective of this PhD project is the development of structural models that represent structural integrity of aging road bridges considering the available information about the bridge. The project will focus on the following three multidisciplinary research challenges:

  • Structure: How to represent the relevant ultimate and serviceability limit states subject to deterioration processes?
  • Load: Understand and predict the operational loads (traffic, temperature, wind ...). What are the static and dynamic effects? What are the extreme events?
  • Information: Identify relevant data and use it to continuously learn about operational loads, structural response and deterioration? How to measure and how to store and preprocess data that can be used for structural integrity assessment.

Special emphasis is directed to the integration of recent advances in digitalization, data technology and artificial intelligence into the project. This will be provided by the envisaged close collaboration with the Faculty of Information Technology. The consistency to presently applied bridge maintenance strategies, and the feasibility of the developed concepts will be ensured by the active involvement of relevant experts of Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA).

About the project

The vision of Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA, Norw.: Statens vegvesen) is to contribute to national goals for the transportation system. These goals are safety, promoting added value in society, and promoting change towards lower global emissions. The road system in Norway is large and complex, and the geography of Norway raises a range of challenges in this area with respect to maintenance which will be given priority compared to new large road investments in the coming years.

The Norwegian National Transport Plan is aimed towards promoting mobility, traffic safety, climatic and environmental conditions. To ensure a high-quality road infrastructure it is important to choose effective maintenance actions within the areas of operations, maintenance and rehabilitation. In particular, the development of new technology and new digital concepts is essential to enable more efficient monitoring and analysis of road traffic and road network conditions.

There is a technological shift taking place towards a more digitalized society. This technological shift has the potential to contribute to the overall goals of safety, low emissions and increased resource efficiency. The vision of NTNU is Knowledge for a Better World and is actively pursuing this goal across education, research and innovation. In the area of transportation, NTNU conducts extensive activity in several relevant engineering fields connected to infrastructure, maintenance and digitalization. 

NPRA established a research and development project with the title "Smarter maintenance". This project on road maintenance and infrastructure will involve close cooperation between the areas of research expertise in civil, transport and structural engineering, technology, digitalization and maintenance, and economics. This cooperation is organized within three thematic areas: (1) Condition registration, data analysis and modelling; (2) Big data, artificial intelligence, strategic analysis and planning; and (3) Maintenance, social economics and innovation. There is both a substantial need and many opportunities for innovation in this research program which will bring together 7 PhD candidates across several engineering and cognate fields. Together, they will seek to solve specific challenges connected to the maintenance of transportation infrastructure.

These positions will be grouped into research clusters that will ensure close cooperation between PhD-candidates, supervisors, NPRA-experts and master/bachelor students.

We are seeking motivated candidates to work in a multidisciplinary and innovative setting of national and international importance.

The position reports to Prof. Jochen Köhler.

Main duties and responsibilities

  • Independently set up research plans and conduct them accordingly
  • Take lead in writing research papers under supervision
  • Contribute in supervising master students within the field
  • Comply with the PhD training programme of the Faculty
  • Establish close cooperation with the other PhD candidates within the “Smart Maintenance program”

Qualification requirements

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is completion of a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale . Applicants with no letter grades from previous studies must have an equally good academic foundation. Applicants who are unable to meet these criteria may be considered only if they can document that they are particularly suitable candidates for education leading to a PhD degree.

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, postdoctor and research assistant

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

The following qualifications are essential for the qualification of candidates:

  • A relevant Master’s Degree in Structural Engineering
  • Strong analytical capabilities and a disposition to information technology
  • Good understanding of the connection between technology, process and human interaction
  • Fluent in English language, good written and oral communications skills

Candidates completing their MSc-degree in the Spring 2020 are encouraged to apply. The position is also open for integrated PhD for NTNU students starting their final year of their Master’s Degree in Autumn 2020.

Desirable qualifications:

  • Good background and/or interest in uncertainty representation and structural reliability
  • Exposure to social science research, econometrics, and/or operations research will be evaluated positively
  • Basic Scandinavian language skills are considered an advantage, but not a requirement

Personal characteristics

  • Innovation driven, enthusiastic and ambitious
  • Self-motivated, focused and goal-oriented
  • Ability to solve complex technical tasks independently
  • Excellent collaboration with different disciplines

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, as well as motivation, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 479 600 before tax per year. From the salary, 2 % is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years without required duties in teaching. Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in the PhD programme in Engineering . 

As a PhD candidate, you undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. A condition of appointment is that you are in fact qualified for admission to the PhD programme within three months.

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 criterias 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.

General information

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. Under the Freedom of Information Act (offentleglova), information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have their name entered on the list of applicants.

The national labour force must reflect the composition of the population to the greatest possible extent, NTNU wants to increase the proportion of women in its scientific posts. Women are encouraged to apply. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life ( ). Having a population of 200 000, Trondheim is a small city by international standards with low crime rates and little pollution. It also has easy access to a beautiful countryside with mountains and a dramatic coastline.

Questions about the position can be directed to Professor Jochen Köhler, phone number +47 46641572, e-mail [email protected]

About the application:

Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application. Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify the individual applicant's contribution to joint works, the applicant must include a brief description of his or her contribution.

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applicants invited for interview must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters.

Please refer to the application number IV-66/20 when applying.

Application deadline: 08.03.20

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 Structural Engineering

We teach mechanical engineering, engineering and ICT, and civil and environmental engineering. The Department conducts internationally leading research and participates in several large national research projects. The Department of Structural Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering .

Deadline 8th March 2020
EmployerNTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Gløshaugen

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