PhD Student Position in Artificial Intelligence

University of Agder, Norway

Keywords: PhD student, PhD in Europe, PhD in AI

Opening 54/23

Campus Grimstad

About the position

A fixed-term 100% position is available at the University of Agder, Norway, 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, which can be potentially extended through teaching and complementary research activities if the applicant is interested. The position is located, at the present, at Campus Grimstad. The starting date is summer of 2023 or to be negotiated with the Faculty.

The successful applicant will become part of a team of 13 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), the University of California, San Diego, and Gradiant (Spain). This creates an interdisciplinary and international collaboration environment designed to leverage the full potential of its members. Upon satisfactory performance, the hired appliacant will be offered the possibility of carrying out a funded research visit to the aforementioned institutions.


While households and smartphones in developed countries receive skyrocketing data rates through optical fibers and 5G communications, respectively, 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, remarkably, emergency response to name a few.

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 multicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, zeppelins, and balloons, that autonomously navigate through the airspace to provide data connectivity in those locations where it is absent or unsatisfactory.

Specifically, 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 and practical research. The advising model is designed so that the student can document that she/he can conduct research independently upon graduation by means of a strong publication record in top-end journals and conferences as well as a solid network of highly respected collaborators. This will set the student in an advantage position to find a position in the academia or industry after graduation.

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. There, 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.

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. The candidate is also expected to be involved in interdisciplinary workshops that touch upon the ethics and emergency management aspects of the project.

Required qualifications

  • 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, for example:
    • Machine learning/artificial intelligence
    • Wireless communications/signal processing
    • 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, either when submitting their application or afterwards, 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.

Desired qualifications

Experience and/or knowledge in some of the following topics will increase the chances of an application to be successful, yet they are not strictly necessary:

  • wireless communications
  • signal processing
  • machine learning
  • artificial intelligence
  • control theory
  • autonomous systems
  • aeronautics
  • avionics
  • programming, especially in Python, MATLAB, and/or C/C++.
  • UAVs
  • emergency management
  • measurement collection
  • interaction with stakeholders (such as workshops) to support research
Fakultet for teknologi og realfag

We offer

  • Training to conduct independent research and publish in the top journals and conferences in the covered areas.
  • Financial support for research visits and international conference trips.
  • An international, inclusive, and diverse working environment that respects the differences and guarantees the rights and freedom of  all students.
  • A position in a country that provides a wide range of welfare benefits from which the selected applicant will be able to benefit from. This includes a public health system, paid vacation, paid sick leaves, unemployment benefits, free education, membership of the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.  Norway also constitutes a safe environment and whose appeals rapidly enthral any nature enthusiast.

More about working at UiA.

The position is remunerated according to the State Salary Scale, salary plan 17.515, code 1017 PhD Research Fellow, NOK 501 200 salary per year. A compulsory pension contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund is deducted from the pay according to current statutory provisions.

General information

UiA is an open and inclusive university. We believe that diversity enriches the workplace and makes us better. We, therefore, encourage qualified candidates to apply for the position independently of gender, age, cultural background, disability or an incomplete CV.

Women are strongly encouraged to apply for this position. 

The successful applicant will have rights and obligations in accordance with the current regulations for the position, and organisational changes and changes in the duties and responsibilities of the position must be expected. The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Appointment is made by the University of Agder’s Appointments Committee for Teaching and Research Positions.

Short-listed applicants will be invited for interview. With the applicant’s permission, UiA will also conduct a reference check before appointment. Read more about the employment process.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act § 25 (2), applicants may request that they are not identified in the open list of applicants. The University, however, reserves the right to publish the names of applicants. Applicants will be advised of the University’s intention to exercise this right. 


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" below.

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.

Application deadline: 21.05.23


For questions about the position:

For questions about the application process:

University of Agder

The University of Agder has more than 1500 employees and almost 14 000 students. This makes us one of the largest workplaces in Southern Norway. Our staff research, teach and disseminate knowledge from a variety of academic fields. Co-creation of knowledge is our common vision. We offer a broad range of study programmes in many fields. We are situated at two modern campuses in Kristiansand and Grimstad respectively.

We are an open and inclusive university marked by a culture of cooperation. The aim of the university is to further develop education and research at a high international level.


June 1, 2023


University of Agder




Full time


Temporary, 3 years