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PhD Research Fellow in AI and Machine learning tools for UAV communications with focus on wireless communications, navigation and emergency response

This job offer has expired

    University of Agder
    EngineeringAerospace engineering
    EngineeringCommunication engineering
    EngineeringComputer engineering
    EngineeringControl engineering
    EngineeringElectrical engineering
    EngineeringElectronic engineering
    EngineeringMechanical engineering
    EngineeringSimulation engineering
    EngineeringSystems engineering
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    01/09/2021 12:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Norway › Grimstad


A fixed-term 100% position is available at the University of Agder, Faculty of Engineering and Science as a PhD Research Fellow in ICT, affiliated to the Department of Information and Communication Technology, for a period of three years, or four years with 25% voluntary teaching duties. The position is located, at the present, at Campus Grimstad.  The starting date is negotiable.

The successful applicant will become part of a team of 11 researchers working on artificial intelligence, machine learning, wireless communications, and control theory for autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This team spans three departments and the Center for Integrated Emergency Management of UiA, Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands), the University of Vigo (Spain), and Gradiant (Spain).  This creates an interdisciplinary and international collaboration environment designed to leverage the full potential of its members. Upon satisfactory performance, the student can perform research visits for a certain number of months to the aforementioned institutions.

The position is remunerated according to the State Salary Scale, salary plan 17.515, code 1017 PhD Research Fellow, NOK 482 200 gross salary per year. A compulsory pension contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund is deducted from the pay according to current statutory provisions.

The successful applicant will conduct research in the project Ubiquitous Connectivity via Autonomous Airborne Networks (AirBonnet). This project comprises a set of key developments intended to develop the technology of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) such as zeppelins, balloons, and multicopters that autonomously navigate through the airspace to provide data connectivity in those locations where it is absent or unsatisfactory.

While households in developed countries receive skyrocketing data rates through optical fibers and smartphones step into the 5G era, roughly one half of the world’s population cannot connect to the internet. Even beyond developing economies,  bringing data connectivity to areas where it cannot currently reach would drastically benefit applications such as the internet-of-things, smart agriculture/forestry, wildfire suppression, search-and-rescue missions, paramedical interventions, and emergency response handling to name a few.

To this end, the UAVs in the targeted technology are equipped with a communication module that connects to the ground users on one side and to the cellular terrestrial infrastructure on the other side. The user information may even be relayed through multiple UAVs before reaching its destination. For this technology to be viable, the UAVs must be able to navigate without human supervision to locations with favorable propagation conditions, that is, where the signals that they receive from and transmit to the ground users and cellular infrastructure are not significantly blocked by obstacles such as buildings or mountains.

The key approach in this project is to construct "radio maps" that describe the propagation conditions in a certain region. Using these maps, the UAVs rely on artificial intelligence algorithms to determine the appropriate locations and can even adapt to changes in the user positions and connectivity requirements as well as to coordinate with other UAVs. Our preliminary findings already showcase the ability of artificial deep neural networks to construct radio maps from a small number of measurements collected by the UAVs.

This position involves theoretical research, computer simulation, and measurement collection. Our vision is that learning is maximized by combining theory and practice in the right proportion.

A prerequisite for employment is that the candidate must be admitted to UiA’s PhD program of the Faculty of Engineering and Science, Specialisation in Information and Comunication Technology. The goal of the PhD program is to train students to become independent researchers. This means that students need to complete a coursework component of 30 ECTS intended to provide the necessary background for conducting research in their area. Additional self-study will also be required to fill possible background gaps or specialized knowledge requirements.

A close advising model is generally pursued at the beginning, whereas more independence is gradually granted to the student as she/he becomes more mature. Ideally, the student must be able to conduct research independently after graduation.

Part of the objectives of any PhD program is to develop the student’s communication skills, both oral and written. This is an indispensable requirement for conducting high-quality research nowadays. The PhD program and advising style will intensively promote and assist students in the development of these skills.

The selected applicant will be required to abide by the principles of our group, which state that our research must adhere to top ethical and quality standards, must be rigorous, and must contribute to the advancement of the state of the art. For this reason, we do not publish in low-end journals and conferences or work on problems with limited practical relevance.

More information here

More Information


The position is remunerated according to the State Salary Scale, salary plan 17.515, code 1017 PhD Research Fellow, NOK 482 200 gross salary per year. A compulsory pension contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund is deducted from the pay according to current statutory provisions.

Selection process

The application and any necessary information about education and experience (including diplomas and certificates) are to be sent electronically. Use the link "Apply for this job".

The following documentation must be uploaded electronically:

  • Motivation letter.
  • Complete post-secondary transcript of all academic degrees. When attaching a non-Norwegian academic transcript that does not include a description of the grading system (e.g. maximum grade and minimum passing grade) used by the issuing institution, a (preferably official) description should also be attached. The description may simply contain a link to an official website where the grading system is explained.
  • Updated CV with the list of publications (if any).
  • Master dissertation (if finished).
  • Required English language certificates (see above). These can be emailed after the application deadline.

The applicant is fully responsible for submitting complete digital documentation before the closing date. All documentation must be available in English or in a Scandinavian language.

Offer Requirements


  • Knowledge of and experience in wireless communications, signal processing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, control, autonomous systems, aeronautics, and/or avionics.
  • Strong programming skills, especially in Python, MATLAB, and/or C/C++.
  • Experience with UAVs.
  • Experience in emergency management.
  • Experience in measurement campaigns

Specific Requirements

  • Master’s degree in a relevant subject area. Candidates who are in the last stages of their master’s degree can also apply. The relevant areas include:
    • Wireless communications/signal processing
    • Machine learning/artificial intelligence
    • Control theory/autonomous systems
    • Aeronautics/avionics
  • English proficiency, both written and oral. International candidates that are not exempt from the English language requirements pursuant to the guidelines of the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT) must document this through one of the following tests with the stated results or better:
    • TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language with a minimum score of 600 for the Paperbased Test (PBT), or 92 for the Internet-based Test (iBT)
    • IELTS - International English Language Testing System, with the result of 6.5

Further provisions relating to the positions as PhD Research Fellows can be found in the Regulations Concerning Terms and Conditions of Employment for the post of Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Research Fellow, Research Assistant and Resident.

The research focus of this position is on wireless communications, machine learning, signal processing, and artificial intelligence. Candidates whose profile is more focused on control theory and robotics should apply this position.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
University of Agder
Jon Lilletunsvei 9

EURAXESS offer ID: 673573


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