PhD position in the field of Autonomous Navigation and Control of Marine Surface Vessels with NORWEGIAN UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY – NTNU

About the job

We have a vacancy for a PhD student in the field of autonomous navigation and control of surface vessels.

The vision of the self-contained self-contained ship has garnered a lot of attention and can be considered one of the hottest topics in maritime technology. It is a major challenge involving the manipulation and coordination of on-board systems, the achievement of safe and robust navigation and motion control, the provision of redundant energy and propulsion, as well as the manipulation of equipment devices such as winches, cranes, cargo and underwater drones with minimal human interaction. Solving these problems in a practical and pragmatic way that responds to industrialization has enormous potential. This unique research opportunity focuses on navigation and motion control to enable a vessel to move alone from dock to dock in a safe, robust and energy-efficient way.

The project will work closely with key industry players and aims to make extensive use of large-scale closed-loop experiments. Examples of relevant topics include unified motion control for station keeping and transit, extended situational awareness and unified operating picture, autonomous path planning with collision avoidance, automated docking, l strict optimization of fuel consumption in all operational states, sensor fusion, command allocation, etc.

This project consists of 1 PhD position with associate supervisors. The candidate will also be connected and cooperate with several research groups of NTNU.

You will report to the Head of Department.

Job duties

The candidate will develop new methods and models for autonomous navigation and control of surface ships and test them experimentally taking into account common constraints generally applied in industrial systems. A key part of this is being engaged in building laboratory facilities to carry out experimental work related to one’s research, as well as relevant systems for managing prototypes and development software. The main objective of the thesis project is to develop new knowledge and methods that will be the cornerstone of complex autonomous functionality and to validate them experimentally.

Also, the candidate must:

  • present results at project meetings and national and international workshops and conferences
  • write scientific articles
  • actively participate in the NTNU maritime control community

Selection criteria required

  • the main objective of the doctoral position is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is that you have completed a Masters or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) in Mechanical/Electrical/Construction/Civil Engineering, Architecture, Computer Science, Data Science with a grade of B or better in NTNU grading scale
  • strong abilities in analytical thinking, mathematical and physical modeling
  • strong abilities in the design of motion control systems at the theoretical level
  • strong programming skills, preferably in C/C++, Python and/or Matlab
  • in-depth knowledge of hydrodynamics and familiarity with the various common marine thruster systems
  • knowledge of statistical techniques and ability to work with them in evaluating and reporting data
  • written and oral proficiency in English

The appointment must be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning employees and civil servants of the State and the regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research National guidelines for the appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant

Preferred selection criteria regarding experience

  • documented practical skills, e.g. a skilled craft diploma
  • marine industry experience
  • experience with robot operating system (ROS)
  • experience with scientific experimental work
  • experience working with and managing control materials
  • experience in software development and management

Personal characteristics

  • good communication skills
  • be proactive and creative
  • ability to work independently while being a good team player
  • ability to conduct research at the international level
  • a keen interest in the broader context of one’s own research and an ability to engage in interdisciplinary teams

We offer

Salary and conditions

Doctoral students are paid according to code 1017, and are normally paid gross from NOK 491,200 per year before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian civil service pension fund.

The period of employment is 3 years.

Appointment to a doctoral position requires that you be admitted to the doctoral program in engineering, within three months of your employment, and that you participate in an organized doctoral program during the period of employment.

The engagement must be carried out in accordance with the regulations in force concerning employees and civil servants of the State and the laws relating to the control of the export of strategic goods, services and technologies. Candidates who, after evaluation of the application and attachment, are found to conflict with the criteria of the latter Act will be barred from recruitment at NTNU. After the appointment, you should assume that there may be changes in the working area.

It is a prerequisite to be present and accessible to the institution on a daily basis.

About the application

The application and supporting documents to be used as the basis for assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only assessed against the information available at the application deadline. You should ensure that your application clearly indicates how your skills and experience meet the criteria set out above.

The application file must include (Departments chosen from the following):

  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • cover letter
  • a research proposal (maximum 5 pages), briefly explaining the background and preliminary research methodology of the project (e.g. what are the main research questions and how do you want to address them?).
  • academic work – published or unpublished – that you wish to be considered for assessment (up to 5 works)
  • name and address of three arbitrators

If all or part of your training was taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation on the extent and quality of all of your training, both bachelor’s and master’s, in addition to other graduate studies. The description of the required documentation can be found here.

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 evaluating the most qualified candidate, emphasis will be placed on education, experience, and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions and potential will also count in the evaluation of candidates.

NTNU is committed to following the criteria for research quality assessment in accordance with the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment – DORA.

general informations

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified applicants to apply, regardless of gender, functional ability or cultural background.

The city of Ålesund, with its 50,000 inhabitants, will offer you many opportunities to explore an area of ​​Norway famous for its magnificent landscapes of high mountains and blue fjords. Ålesund itself, with its Art Nouveau architecture, is considered by many to be the most beautiful city in Norway! The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world.

As an employee of NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development of the subject implies and the organizational changes that are adopted.

According to the Public Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, function and municipality may be made public even if you have requested that your name not be included in the list of candidates.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Øivind K. Kjerstad, phone +4797745157, email [email protected]

If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Linda Granmo via email [email protected]

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. The Diploma Supplement must be attached for European Master’s degrees outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of master’s degree from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).

If you are invited for an interview, you must include certified copies of transcripts and letters of reference.

Application deadline: 26.05.2022


NTNU is a broad-based university with a technical-scientific profile and a focus on vocational training. The university is located in three cities with its headquarters in Trondheim.

At NTNU, 9,000 employees and 42,000 students work to create knowledge for a better world.

More information about working at NTNU and the application process can be found here.

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 Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering

We aim to be an international hub of knowledge and innovation in maritime operations. This involves education and research on the design of ships and marine equipment as well as the operation of ships. Maritime operations integrate technology, human factors and business. The interfaces between these areas often spark inspiration for innovation and new solutions. The Department of Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline May 26, 2022

Employer NTNU – Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Municipality Alesund

Scope Full time

Duration Temporary

place of service NTNU Ålesund / Campus Ålesund

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