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PhD position within Nautical Studies

The Department of Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering, has a vacancy of one PhD position which runs over 3 years (or 4 years including 25 % teaching). The position is funded by Markom2020 and is part of the joint PhD program in Nautical Operations. This is a research position that will lead to the doctoral degree (PhD) in addition to contributing to professional development at the faculty. The workplace is at NTNU in Ålesund, but the candidate will also participate and collaborate with a team of PhD students in Ålesund and at the Department of Marine Technology located at NTNU in Trondheim.

Description of the PhD study 

Maneuvering of semi-autonomous ships. Maritime research and the related industry is to greater extent focusing on the uprising technology revolution of autonomy. It is anticipated that within a few years, ship operations are becoming increasingly automated with fewer people on the actual ships and parts of the operations are controlled from on-land centers. The main objective of this research is to study how to maneuver semi-autonomous ships close to a wall or in close proximity to other vessels or structures. How can this operation be optimized with regard to efficiency and safety?


Examples of applications are docking to offshore aquaculture farms or ferry terminals, vessels sailing in close proximity to each other or vessels sailing through the planned ship tunnel at Stadt, involving also shallow water effects. These are examples of situations where the hydrodynamic interaction becomes important both from an analysis point of view and for the navigator.


The present project aims at approaching this topic the maneuvering, or nautical point of view. The main objective of the research is to study how semi-autonomous ship maneuvering operations, close to obstacles as described above, can be optimized with regard to efficiency and safety. Further to develop, simulate and test models of these semi-autonomous ship maneuvering operations. The research should focus on finding the operational models that provides optimal distribution of “nautical functions” operated from land or on board the ship (workload distribution) with regard to safety and effectiveness. The research could also encompass the operator interface (on land and on board the vessel). Advanced simulator facilities and laboratories are available for the research.


We have an open PhD position related to this topic.

  • Maneuvering of a semi-autonomous vessel close to a wall or two ships in close proximity – “A nautical challenge”.

A relevant on-going project is the 8-year long research project on marine operations called SFI MOVE, which was started 2015. The present PhD project will take advantage of collaboration with researchers in these projects at both NTNU, Marintek and the industry.



The position requires a Master's degree in maring technology, industrial mathematics or a similar relevant area. The successful candidate should be enthusiastic and highly motivated and be willing to work both independently and with other researchers. The successful candidate must also fulfill the requrement for admission to a doctoral program:


  • The applicants must hold a Master degree as mentioned above, with an average grade B or better measured in ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) grades, or similar education at the equivalent level
  • Good theoretical and analytical skills
  • Ability to work independently as well as in team
  • Keen interest in the wider context of own research and ability to engage in cross-disciplinary teams
  • Written and oral fluency in English (in case of foreign, applicant). 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:
    • TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test) 92 (Internet-based test)
    • IELTS: 6,5 with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted)
    • 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.



PhD Candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at wage level 50, NOK 432 700 per year. There will be a 2 % deduction to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund from gross wage.

Engagement as a PhD Candidate is done in accordance with “Regulation concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of post-doctoral research fellow, research fellow, research assistant and resident”, given by the Ministry of Education and Research of 19.07.2010.


The goal of the positions is to obtain a PhD degree. Applicants will engage in an organized PhD training program, and appointment requires approval of the applicants plan for a PhD study within three months from the date of commencement.


See http://www.ntnu.edu/ivt/phd  for more information.


The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants. The positions adhere to the Norwegian Government's policy of balanced ethnicity, age and gender. Women are encouraged to apply.


According to the new Freedom of Information Act, information concerning the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to be included in the list of applicants.


The application must contain information of educational background and work experience. Certified copies of transcripts and reference letters should be enclosed. Applications with CV, grade transcripts and other enclosures should to be submitted electronically via this page. 


Application deadline is 31-01.2017. Start-up date may be discussed, but tentatively August 2017.


For further information about the position, please contact:

Associate professor Runar Ostnes (runar.ostnes@ntnu.no) or Associate professor Karl Henning Halse (karl.h.halse@ntnu.no) Department of Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering, NTNU Ålesund

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