PhD Research Fellow in Digital Twins for Human robot collaboration

Deadline: 30.09.2022

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.

About the position

A fixed-term 100 % position is available at the University of Agder, Faculty of Engineering and Science as a PhD Research Fellow in digital twins for human robot collaboration for a period of three years. The position is affiliated to the Department of Engineering Sciences and is located at Campus Grimstad. The starting date is negotiable with the Faculty.


The research topic’s links to the research environment at the Faculty

Top Research Centre Mechatronics: The project is in line with the activities of the newly established Top Research Center in Mechatronics (TRCM). In particular, important synergies will be created with the following Research Themes (RT): Human-Robot Interaction and Collaborative Robots.

The research topic’s links with Tvillingfabrikken AS

The company Tvillingfabrikken AS is newly established for the purpose of developing digital twins for digitalization of the small- and medium-sized business segment of the manufacturing and logistics industry in Norway and beyond. The company has already agreed to develop digital twins in a pilot project with the two partners Til-Tak AS and Slamrensing AS. Tvillingfabrikken AS aims at building an ecosystem of companies that collaborate and pull synergies apart.

The research background and main objective

A digital twin (DT) is a digital representation of a physical asset that serves as its counterpart — or twin. DTs differ from static, three-dimensional models in that they are continuously updated with data from numerous sources. The digitalization of industrial applications is rapidly emerging. However, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg yet due to orthodox attitudes in many industrial applications. Companies will need to adapt digital tools to be able to assert themselves in a competitive market. Digital twins can be used to optimize old industrial applications or to help with product development for new applications.

The capabilities of various resources such as human operators and mobile and/or fixed robot companions are being used in new types of industries. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital twins, this project intends to introduce a revolutionary integrated mixed reality (MR) architecture for safety-aware Human-Robot Collaboration (HRC). The proposed method must be able to estimate safety zones in real time and offer the human operator with a multi-modal auditory-visual-tactile feedback. By tracking the shared workspace and delivering user-centric visualisation using smart MR glasses for safe and effective HRC, the approach merges MR and haptics with safety-related monitoring.

Research topics for the PhD Research Fellow include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Mechatronics
  • Human–robot Collaboration
  • Haptics and wearable robots
  • Simulation
  • Machine learning
  • Sensor fusion

Required qualifications

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in technology of engineering with focus on modelling and with knowledge in automatic control, mechatronics, cybernetics, computer science and/or similar fields. This year’s candidates/candidates who are in the closing stages of their master’s degree can also apply.
  • 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

A prerequisite for employment is that the candidate is to be admitted to UiA’s PhD programme in Engineering and Science, Specialisation in Engineering Sciences, Scientific Field in Mechatronics.

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

  • Working knowledge of Linux, the Robot Operating System (ROS), the Unity simulation environment and multiple programming languages
  • Experience with the challenges of designing and rapid-prototyping robotic systems
  • Strong academic credentials and previous publications

Personal qualities

Personal suitability, good communication and teamwork skills, inventiveness, and a proactive approach, will be emphasized in the evaluation as well as relevant practical experience. The PhD Research Fellow will be expected to contribute to an active research community that promotes the personal and professional growth of the doctoral candidate.

The position places great demands on the applicant’s capacity for independent goal-oriented work, ability to concentrate and attention to detail.

In return, we offer the opportunity to contribute to the strategic capabilities of a world-class research organization, along with intensive PhD supervision. You will collaborate with top scientists in your field and have excellent prospects for personal development in an innovative working environment for aspiring researchers.

Applicants will be assessed on the basis of academic background and results, attainment, and any previous research and development work.

We offer

  • professional development in a large, exciting and socially influential organisation
  • a positive, inclusive and diverse working environment
  • modern facilities and a comprehensive set of welfare offers
  • membership of the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund

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 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.

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 independent of gender, age, cultural background, disability or an incomplete CV.

Women are strongly encouraged to apply for the 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".

The following documentation must be uploaded electronically:

  • CV
  • Certificates with grades
  • Master’s thesis
  • At least 3 references
  • Academic work and R&D projects, as well as a list of these if achieved
  • Project description with a maximum scope of 3 pages, including reference list. The project description must contain the following sections:
    • Relevance to the announced position;
    • Excellence. Summarise the state of the art of the research area/field. State the overall project objectives. Describe the research questions and/or hypotheses. Describe thoroughly the theoretical approach and/or methodology chosen to address the project objectives. Use a structure of work packages;
    • Novelty and ambition. Describe the potential for development of new knowledge beyond the current state of the art;
    • Potential impact of the proposed research. Describe the importance of the anticipated results in terms of the potential academic impact and the potential societal and/or industrial impact of the research;
    • Project organisation and management. Outline a Gantt chart for the project.

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

Application deadline: 30.09.22


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