PhD Research Fellow in planning and reinforcement learning for battery disassembly

Deadline: 08.12.2023

University of Agder

The University of Agder has more than 1500 employees and almost 14 000 students, making us one of Southern Norway's largest workplaces. Our dedicated staff engage in research, teaching and dissemination across a diverse range of fields.


The university is located on two modern campuses in Kristiansand and Grimstad.

About the position

A fixed-term 100% position is available at UiA, Faculty of Engineering and Science as a PhD Research Fellow, affiliated to the Department of Information and Communication Technology, for a period of three years. The position is located, at the present, at Campus Grimstad. The starting date is as soon as possible or to be negotiated with the faculty. The successful applicant will become part of Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAIR) at UiA, in collaboration with Mechatronics in the Department of Engineering Sciences, UiA and partners from the HORIZON EUROPE project named RHINOCEROS (Batteries reuse and direct production of high performances cathodic and anodic materials and other raw materials from batteries recycling using low cost and environmentally friendly technologies). Rhinoceros will develop, improve and demonstrate, in an industrially relevant environment, an economically and environmentally viable route for re-using, re-purposing, re-conditioning and recycling of End-of-Life EV and stationary batteries.

Research topic

The focus of this PhD is to employ most recent AI techniques to optimize the dismantling process of the battery. The cognitive agent will send primitive actions that will serve as input in the dismantling process, where necessary tools are chosen to carry out the related steps that can be assigned to the various operations. AI based action selection scheme is required to decide on the sequence of operations and to define a path, where different tools must be used according to the dismantling task. The robotic system will be able to adapt to new Lithium Ion-Battery (LIB). This will be based on AI to guide the robot on how different types of batteries should be dismantled and the processing sequences that need to be executed.

The successful candidate will contribute with novel research in AI, specifically reinforcement learning, for optimization in sequence of operations, with the main focus on robotics systems for LIB dismantling. 

The ideal candidate will have experience in at least three of the following aspects:

  • Motion Planning for Multi-Arm Systems
  • Deep reinforcement learning
  • Deep neural network
  • Mechatronics – actuation, control, and signal processing
  • Robotics

In addition, the successful candidate will have excellent programming skills. Willingness to work in a collaborative research project is essential. Knowledge in computer vision with 3D camera and point cloud, Robot Operating System (ROS) is an advantage.

Admission requirements

  • The successful applicant should hold a Master’s degree in a related field (e.g., Mechatronics, machine learning, AI). The candidate who is in the final stage of the master’s education within the relevant field may also be considered, given that a master’s degree is to be achieved before the enrollment of this position.
  • The average grade of the Bachelor’s study should be C or above. The average grade of the Master’s study should be B or above.
  • International applicants who 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 Paper based 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 must be admitted to UiA’s PhD program of the Faculty of Engineering and Science, Specialisation in Information and Communication Technology. 

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.

Personal qualities

  • Ability to work independently and proactively for goal-oriented research.
  • Have good teamwork skills and inventiveness.
  • Close working relationships with both the industrial and academic partners.
  • Good analytical skills.
  • Good written and verbal communication skills in an academic setting.

Personal qualities and suitability for the position will be emphasized.

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 532 200 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. UiA, as a public university, does not charge tuition fees even for international students.

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. 


Applicants must submit their application and CV online. Please click on the link “Apply for this job”. The following documentation should be uploaded as an attachment with the online application:

  • CV with a complete list of scientific publications.
  • Transcripts for Master and Bachelor study. 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.
  • Master thesis or link.
  • Up to five representative publications or links.
  • English certificate (IELTS or TOEFL) for international candidates who are not exempt from the English language requirements.
  • A description of the relevance of his/her expertise to the advertised position and a preliminary work plan for the development of a cognitive agent able to disassemble spent Lithium-Ion batteries from electric vehicles (max. 2 pages) including reference list. The outline should present and discuss possible research questions, theory perspectives, material, and a progress plan.

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.

Original documents must be presented for verification to the University of Agder together with the copies by the appointed research fellow upon arrival at UiA. Successful candidates will be asked, normally during the interview, to ensure that the issuing university submits documents in a sealed envelope directly to UiA or provide access to their documents online, which allows UiA to verify the authenticity of these electronic documents via a secure website hosted at the issuing university (contact person at UiA will be provided later for certain candidates).

All documentation of education must be in the original language and in English, and the translation should preferably be from the issuing university. Additional documentation must be in English.

Closing date: 08.12.23


For further information, please contact:

For questions about the application process:

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