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Postdoctoral Fellow in Novel Explainable Artificial Intelligence Methods for Multi-Hazard Mapping

NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers
27 Jan 2023

Job Information

NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Research Field
Engineering » Other
Researcher Profile
Recognised Researcher (R2)
Application Deadline
Type of Contract
Job Status
Hours Per Week
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

This is NTNU

NTNU is a broad-based university with a technical-scientific profile and a focus in professional education. The university is located in three cities with headquarters in Trondheim.

At NTNU, 9,000 employees and 44,000 students work to create knowledge for a better world.

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

About the project

Climate Resilient-Infrastructure in the Center for Green Shift in the Built Environment

Centre for Green Shift in the Built Environment (GREEN 2050) is a newly established center at NTNUs Faculty of Engineering. The center aims to be an arena of networking and collaboration between academia and the industry. A hub for accelerating existing, planned, and new projects. The goal is to transition into a carbon neutral built environment within 2050. GREEN 2050 will provide research of excellence and educate candidates with high digital- and sustainability competence ready to take on the green shift. Resilience pillar of the GREEN 2050 center examines challenging research problems related to the reduction of negative effects of climate change on the built environment. The main objective of the resilience pillar is to develop innovative solutions to mitigate the increasing risks from climate-driven natural hazards to the built environment. Natural hazards such as quick clay slides, debris flow, floods, and rockfall are a major societal risk causing fatalities, economic losses, and damages to the environment (e.g., Gjerdrum quick clay landslide). Climate change is expected to exacerbate some of the main drivers of natural hazards in most of the globe. Northern Europe, including Norway, is expected to be subjected to more intense and frequent rainfall events that result, among others, in more impactful landslide and flooding events. Current strategies for managing hazards are based on managing individual hazards without accounting for multiple, interdependent, and cascading hazards events (e.g., storm initiating erosion that undercuts a slope and triggers a landslide). This proposal aims to develop a novel approach for mapping interdependent, nonlinear, and cascading multi-hazard events based on eXplainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI). The development of the approach will be demonstrated on a multi-hazard chain coupling meteorological, hydrological, and geological hazards that result in the initiation of quick clay slides due to erosion.

About the job

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has a vacancy for a Postdoctoral Fellow Candidate on developing novel eXplainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) methods for multi-hazard mapping. 

The objective of the postdoc position is to develop novel approaches for hazard mapping for interdependent and cascading meteorological, hydrological, and geological hazards involved in erosion-triggered quick clay landslides based on an XAI methodology. XAI is a set of tools that help to understand and interpret Machine Learning (ML) models that builds on the principles that can be briefly summarized as; explain to justify, explain to control, explain to discover, and explain to improve. The novel approach will rely on the use of XAI tools to develop explainable and understandable ML models to forecast multi-hazard events that account for interdependencies between the multi-hazard events, nonlinearities, and cascading effects. Conventional ML models are mainly 'black box' models where the decision-making process within the model's algorithm is not transparent. Hazard mapping is a critical area where the use of ML models is required to be explainable or 'glass box' to ensure that decision-makers can easily understand the reasoning behind predictions generated by an ML model. Such level of transparency allows the decision-maker to easily understand the performance of an ML algorithm and the limitations within which it operates. This is essential in building confidence among the decision-makers in critical situations and thereby improving the effectiveness risk mitigation measures in protecting life, property, and the environment. XAI or more generally ML approaches satisfies the technical requirements related to the capacity of processing big data including earth observation, meteorological, geological, and non-standard data (e.g., images), mapping and interpolating data associated with the spatial and temporal scales on the national level, dynamic updating and assimilation of data, and scalability in terms of computational requirements required for hazard mapping on large scales. The XAI tool is expected to advance state-of-the-art by improving discovery and identification of interdependent multi-hazard events leading to erosion-triggered quick clay landslides, hazard mapping with improved spatial and temporal specificity, accounting for the nonlinearity and interdependence between the representative meteorological, hydrological, and geological hazards. The main deliverables of the project will include a novel methodology for mapping interdependent meteorological, hydrological, and geological hazards, and updated hazard maps on erosion-triggered quick clay landslides. 

You will report to Associate Professor.

Duties of the position

  • Conduct scientific research relevant to the research topic above
  • Disseminate research findings using typical academic channels (e.g., presentations at conferences/workshops and peer-reviewed publications)
  • Draft project documents, academic paper under the supervision by Associate Professor

Required selection criteria

The postdoctoral fellowship position is a temporary position where the main goal is to qualify for work in senior academic positions.

You must have completed a Norwegian doctoral degree or corresponding foreign doctoral degree recognized as equivalent to a Norwegian PhD in geotechnical engineering or engineering geology. If you can document that the PhD thesis has been submitted, your application can be assessed even if you have not yet defended your dissertation. Documentation of the obtained doctoral degree must be presented before you can take up the position.

  • Relevance: The candidate should have proven research qualification/experience of geotechnical engineering or geology. Experience in landslide modelling or natural hazards, and data analysis (statistics or machine learning) will be an advantag
  • Capability: The candidate should have a good track record of publications (peer-reviewed journal papers) of relevant topics (geotechnical engineering, geology, natural hazards). Coding capability and experience with data analysis (statistics or machine learning) will be an advantage
  • Communication skills: Excellent communication skills, both oral and written are important, and the applicant must speak and write English with a high level of proficiency
  • Others: Ability to work independently and in a team. Ability to work in an inter- and cross-disciplinary environment

The appointment is to be made in accordance with Regulations on terms of employment for positions such as postdoctoral fellow, Ph.D Candidate, research assistant and specialist candidate.

Preferred selection criteria

  • Experience and strong research interest in landslides, natural hazards, and data analysis (statistics and machine learning) will be considered an advantage
  • Experience with data analysis and programming (e.g., Python, MATLAB) will be considered an advantage
  • Experience in publications on international scientific journals and conferences will be considered an advantage
  • Knowledge in processing spatiotemporal GIS data is not a requirement but will be beneficial

Personal characteristics

  • Highly motivated for research work
  • Challenges the status quo and promotes new initiatives
  • Is good at anticipating problems and identifying logical solutions as well as contradictions and inconsistencies
  • Acquires new knowledge quickly, and can use existing knowledge in new ways
  • Works together with others across established reporting lines

Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

We offer 

Salary and conditions

As a Postdoctoral Fellow (code 1352) you are normally paid from gross NOK 563 500 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 2 years.

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 on a daily basis.

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 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.  

If, for any reason, you have taken a career break or have had an atypical career and wish to disclose this in your application, the selection committee will take this into account, recognizing that the quantity of your research may be reduced as a result. 

The application must include:

  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • Transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's-, master's- and PhD degrees. If you have not yet completed your Ph.D, you must provide confirmation on your estimated date for the doctoral dissertation, or that your PhD thesis has been submitted
  • A copy of the doctoral thesis. If you are close to submitting, or have recently submitted your thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed doctoral degree must be presented before taking up the position
  • Academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment (up to 5 items)
  • Two-page research plan on the research topic including objectives, methodology, and planned activities
  • Name and contact information of three referees

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well. 
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. 

General information 

Working at NTNU 

NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is a strength. We want our faculty and staff to reflect Norway’s culturally diverse population and we continuously seek to hire the best minds. This enables NTNU to increase productivity and innovation, improve decision making processes, raise employee satisfaction, compete academically with global top-ranking institutions and carry out our social responsibilities within education and research. NTNU emphasizes accessibility and encourages qualified candidates to apply regardless of gender identity, ability status, periods of unemployment or ethnic and cultural background.


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 Ivan Depina by telephone +47 40389387 or email If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Martine Sulen, e-mail:

If you think this looks interesting and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates attached. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation. 

Application deadline: 15.02.2023

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 Civil and Environmental Engineering

We conduct research and teaching in civil and transportation engineering, technical planning, structural engineering, water and wastewater engineering and hydraulic engineering. Graduates from our programmes become employees – in both the public and private sectors – with a sustainability mindset combined with competitive knowledge and skills. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.


Research Field
Engineering » Other
Education Level
PhD or equivalent

Additional Information

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Postal Code
Høgskoleringen 1


Hogskoleringen 1
Postal Code