PhD candidate in Artificial Intelligence
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Computer Science

The Department of Computer Science has a vacancy for a

Position as PhD candidate in Artificial Intelligence


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About the position
About the position
We have a vacancy for a PhD fellow at NTNU’s Trondheim campus.
The fellow will be affiliated with the Norwegian Open AI Lab (see, and will mainly perform research on next-generation machine learning methods, taking advantage of recent advances in machine learning, stochastic optimization, probabilistic graphical models, and deep learning. The research results are expected to be applicable in several domains, including Internet of things (IoT), telecommunication, geoscience, natural language understanding, human computer interaction, etc.


The position reports to the Head of the Department, Professor John Krogstie, who is collaborating with Professor Ole Jakob Mengshoel. Professor Mengshoel, the Head of the Norwegian Open AI Lab, holds an appointment in CS at NTNU (see and in ECE at CMU (see


Main duties and responsibilities
Machine Learning (ML) is increasingly used in many different applications. Recent advances, for example in recommender systems, autonomous driving, natural language, and Web search, are partially due to substantial progresses in ML. Within ML, the recent and ongoing dramatic improvements in data acquisition capabilities are presenting new challenges and opportunities. For example, the new telecommunications 5G pilot running in Trondheim from the autumn of 2019 presents new opportunities, as does ESA’s Copernicus project (see In the telecommunications area, research focus on IoT or 5G is of special interest, based on sensor data as well as network and signalling data.

Despite early successes, the current state-of-the-art in ML suffers from some drawbacks, making it difficult to introduce in certain applications. In this PhD project, we will investigate and develop novel ideas at the interface of machine learning, stochastic optimization, probabilistic graphical models, and deep learning in order to address some of the deficiencies in the field. Particular focus will be placed on AI that is not only accurate, but trustworthy and explainable. You will carry out research on this topic in collaboration with Prof. Ole Jakob Mengshoel. The focus will be on theory, method and data. Data may come from real-world sensors or from simulations.

The appointment is for a term of 4 years, with duties equivalent to 25 %. Duty work will primarily be related to support of educational tasks, but can also involve other tasks (for example related to project, presentations, and administration). This is a researcher training position aimed at providing promising future researchers the opportunity of academic development in the form of a doctoral degree.

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 Artificial Intelligence, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Machine Learning, (Applied) Mathematics, Statistics or equivalent education 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.


Other qualifications

The candidate should have the following qualifications:

  • Strong background in one or more of artificial intelligence, computer science, machine learning, or optimization
  • Strong applied mathematical skills – in one or more of discrete mathematics, mathematical modelling, optimization theory, probability, statistics, or theoretical computer science
  • Excellent programming skills - in one or more of: C++, Java, Julia, Lisp, Python, R, or Scala
  • Excellent written and oral English; excellent written and oral Norwegian language skills are a plus but not a strict requirement
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively

The following qualifications will be considered as an advantage:

  • Hands-on expertise with incremental machine learning from massive IoT data sources
  •  Experience with AI or statistical methods including anomaly detection; learning from low quality, noisy, or missing data; time series analysis; transfer learning; and uncertainty handling using probabilistic graphical models
  •  Excellent written and oral Scandinavian language skills

Applicants who do not master a Scandinavian language must provide evidence of good English language skills, written and spoken. 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 as follows:

  • TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test), 94 (Internet-based test);
  •  IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted); or
  • CAE/CPE: grade B or A.


In extraordinary circumstances, formal documentation of language skills can be relinquished. In such cases, the candidate’s language skills will be assessed in a personal interview.

Potentially successful candidates may be interviewed in person, via Skype (or similar), or via other means.


Personal characteristics

  • Strong analysis skills, capabilities for abstract and mathematical thinking as well as programming and working with data from experiments and applications
  • Strong writing skills, capable of synthesizing and expressing complex ideas clearly
  • Team player, collaborative, respectful; values the inputs and opinions of others
  • Self-motivated, ambitious, resilient, resourceful, result-oriented, and independent

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

  • exciting and stimulating tasks in a strong international academic environment
  • an open and inclusive work environment with dedicated colleagues
  • favourable terms in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • employee benefits


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 4 years (with required duties). Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in the Department of Computer Science at NTNU in Trondheim (see 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 Prof. Ole Jakob Mengshoel, at e-mail or to Prof. John Krogstie, at e-mail


About the application:
The application must contain:

  • One-page cover letter including an explanation of how the candidate’s research interests and background would fit the position
  • Information about education and relevant experience (academic CV)
  • Copies of academic diplomas, transcripts, and certificates
  •  Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to include a document describing in detail the study and grading system and the rights for further studies associated with the candidate’s obtained degree
  • A short essay (up to 1000 words) describing his/her view of the main research challenges in the area of research discussed under “About the doctoral project” above
  • Any publications relevant to the research scope and any other work which the applicant wishes to be taken into account – they should clearly indicate the applicant's contribution
  • Names and contact information of at least three references


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.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):

Applicants invited for interview must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number 2019/22268 when applying.

Application deadline: 30.09.2019


NTNU - knowledge for a better world
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 .


30th September 2019

NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology




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