The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers

PhD Candidate in exploring structural health monitoring and predictive maintenance algorithms using measured data form a train in regular traffic

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    NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    31/05/2021 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Norway › Trondheim


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We are looking for dedicated employees to join us.

You will find more information about working at NTNU and the application process here.

About the position

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

NTNU is working with the Norwegian Railway Directorate on challenging engineering projects for our future railway systems. This work also considers the continuous monitoring of railway vehicles and infrastructures. Using a state-of-the-art measuring system, data from a passenger train in regular service will be recorded and analysed for multiple purposes. This work explores the train data by creating algorithms that can provide information on the status of pantograph and boogie on the train, and the catenaries and the bridges along the railway line.

The Norwegian Railway Directorate runs a project focusing on measures taken from passenger trains in regular service. A growing trend in the railway industry is to switch from traditional corrective maintenance to so-called predictive maintenance. 

The first step is to measure quantities that can provide useful information on the status of the system. For this purpose, a passenger train in regular service on the Norwegian Railway Network will be instrumented with a new measuring system. Information about dynamics and forces linked to the train behaviour and the interaction with the infrastructure are among the data that will be retrieved. The data recorded on the train will be analysed according to the final aim of monitoring and prediction models. Appropriate algorithms need to be implemented to create one or more indicators of the system health status. These indicators will monitor the trends in the long term and detect localised defects from single runs. The position is one of two PhD positions related to this project.

Our group has a long experience studying the interaction between pantograph and catenary and monitoring bridges, using numerical models, laboratory tests, and extensive field measurements from the Norwegian Railway Network. The field experience allows us to validate the models and get an insight into the infrastructure behaviour under normal working conditions.

You will report to the supervising professors.

Duties of the position

  • establish relevant types of defect, both localised and distributed, to be detected thanks to appropriate analysis of the measured data
  • identify relevant indicators for the chosen defects, both localised and distributed
  • establish which type of measurable quantities are relevant for the analysis
  • build algorithms for the analysis in real-time and/or offline for the detection of the defects
  • validate the algorithms against known defects
  • identify relevant indicators for the long-term monitoring of the health status of the train and the railway infrastructure
  • participate in national and international scientific conferences and publish results in academic journals
  • teaching duty at the department, a total of one year (equivalent)

Required selection criteria

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is that you have completed a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in Structural Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematical Sciences, Electrical Engineering or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic foundation. If you are unable to meet these criteria you may be considered only if you can document that you are particularly suitable 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, post doctor and research assistant.

  • good written and oral English language skills

Preferred selection criteria

  • experience in experimental research (monitoring)
  • experience in signal processing/data analysis
  • experience from programming using such as Matlab and Python
  • Norwegian language skills are appreciated

Personal characteristics

  • motivated and ambitious 
  • proficiency to carry out goal-oriented work
  • good cooperation abilities
  • excellent communication skills both written and oral

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 482 200 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.


The period of employment is 4 years. This includes teaching duty of in total 1 year (equivalent).

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Engineering 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.

The position is subject to external funding.

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 or Norwegian.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

The application must include:

  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • Academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment
  • Name and address of three referees


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 suitability.

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

General information

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.

In accordance with The Public Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Anders Rønnquist, telephone +47 73594663, email anders.ronnquist@ntnu.no. If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Elin Pedersen Nystuen, e-mail elin.p.nystuen@ntnu.no.

Please submit your application electronically via jobbnorge.no 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).

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number IV-130/21 when applying.

Application deadline: 31.05.2021

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.

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EURAXESS offer ID: 630697


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