PhD Research Fellow in Data Engineering for Health Data

Deadline: 21.05.2024

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

With about 17,000 students, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences is one of the largest higher education institutions in Norway. A broad range of academic programmes are offered at Bachelor, Master and PhD levels, spread out on five campuses Førde, Sogndal, Bergen, Stord og Haugesund.

Our ambition is to build stronger and more solid academic and research environments that will interact nationally and internationally. The aim is to become a recognized actor on the international higher education arena. Increased international cooperation and engagement in externally funded projects will work towards this goal.

The Faculty of Engineering and Science has approximately 370 employees and approximately 3,260 students. The faculty has a broad educational offer at both bachelor's and master's level in engineering and science, as well as PhD education in computer technology. The Mohns Center for Innovation and Regional Development researches innovation and offers master's education in innovation and entrepreneurship. The diving education offers a one-year vocational school education.

The main part of the faculty's activities are in Haugesund, Bergen, Sogndal and Førde, but we also offer decentralized education in Florø, Kristiansund and Stord.

The faculty's activities are internationally based and take place in close collaboration with regional companies, clusters, health trusts and the public sector, including other institutions in the university and college sector. This applies to research, development, innovation and not least education with student projects at all levels.

The Department of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, has a vacancy for a research fellow (PhD position) in Data Engineering for Health Data for a period of 4 years.

The PhD research fellow will be part of the PhD programme in Computer Science: Software Engineering, Sensor Networks and Engineering Computing. The research programme in Computer Science currently includes 20 professors and associate professors, more than 30 PhD and post-doctoral fellows, and a large number of master’s students.

About the PhD project:

Data, often likened to the currency of the digital age, is the cornerstone of modern innovation.

It is produced and consumed at an unprecedented degree of size and velocity, which, among others, have contributed to the recent breakthroughs in the area of machine learning, see for instance large language models. In addition, traditional applications such as statistical research or management decisions consider themselves as highly “data-driven”. However, the acquisition, governance, and utilization of this non-tangible resource poses as an intricate endeavor. The healthcare domain represents an especially challenging and interesting case in this context: On the one hand, the extremely confident nature of the data, a maze of complex regulations, as well as the strong heterogeneity in information systems, data formats, and communication protocols. On the other hand, the potential positive societal impacts by utilizing the available data better, such as via AI-assisted diagnostics supported by natural language or computer vision models, large comprehensive anonymized data sets fostering medical research, or accessible organizational event data for improved resource utilization.

This “health data engineering” project seeks to pioneer solutions for proficient data management and usage in healthcare. These will encompass the development of innovative privacy-preserving methods and tools, efficiency-enhancing frameworks, and advanced processing techniques.

 Possible research areas and questions are (but not limited to):

- Privacy-aware Computing (For instance: “How to ensure privacy when handling complex health data sets for varied purposes?”, “How can synthetization of realistic data be achieved and where is it feasible?”)

- Distributed Computation and Storage (For instance: “How to design data processing pipelines across disparate systems and organizations?”, “How can data analysis and model training be organized so that data does not necessarily have to leave the organization and privacy is safeguarded?”)

- Data and model transformation (For instance: “How to handle the heterogeneity of both structured and unstructured health data sources?”, “How to make health data more accessible for researchers and decision makers?”).

Candidates are invited to extend this list with their own ideas and are expected to bring a robust foundation in computer science disciplines and demonstrate expertise in privacy protection, including cryptography, as well as in designing distributed systems. Proficiency in data science and machine learning principles, coupled with a practical mastery of data handling systems – from data lakes to databases – will stand out. Experience in crafting domain-specific programming languages or contributions to distributed computing advances will be highly regarded.

If you're ready to advance the frontier of health data engineering and make a difference in a field that affects us all, we invite you to apply for this PhD Research Fellow position. Help us unlock the transformative power of data in healthcare.

Research environment:

The computer science research environment at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences has a strong focus on use-inspired and applied research, and on ICT as an enabling technology. The research environment has cooperation with many national and international research groups, and with national and regional industry partners. The research programme includes the research themes of software engineering, engineering computing, sensor networks and measurement technologies, grid computing and physics data analysis, machine learning, and interactive and collaborative systems. The prospective PhD candidate will work in close cooperation with staff, our current PhD students in the intersection of software theory and practice applied to areas such as healthcare, cloud technology, internet-of-things, industrial automation, and robotics. The research group has several international collaborations with research groups in Germany, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Estonia, and more. Moreover, there is close collaboration researchers from the local hospital Haukeland University Hospital.

PhD research fellows receive an annual work expense funding which can be used for conference participation, research visits, and equipment. The place of employment is Campus Bergen. The candidate is expected to also spend 3-6 month in a different academic environment during the research period.


The PhD research fellow must hold a master's degree in computer science, software engineering, health informatics, or in a closely related field. Candidates who have submitted a master’s thesis (but who has not yet been awarded a master’s degree) may also qualify for the position provided that the master`s degree is awarded within 4 weeks after the application deadline. A solid background in data science, data engineering and/or biomedical informatics will be considered an advantage when candidates are ranked. A possible outline of a research plan related to this PhD project will also be taken into account. Candidates already holding a PhD within these fields are not eligible for this position.

In addition to the required educational and scientific background, the following criteria will be evaluated: competence and grades on completed course work, quality of the master's thesis (excellent grade, equivalent of grade B or better on the ECTS grading system), publications (if any), research and teaching experience, practical software engineering skills and experience. A possible outline of a research plan for a potential PhD project will also be taken into account.

The candidate must be diligent and display the ability to work independently, supplemented with regular guidance, and is expected to carry out high-quality research and to publish the results in international workshops, conferences, and journals.

The PhD research fellow must enroll in the PhD programme in Computer Science: Software Engineering, Sensor Networks and Engineering Computing at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and must meet the formal admission requirements for admission into the PhD programme. 25% of the 4-year period will be designated to duties such as teaching, development and administrative tasks. The employment period may be reduced if the successful applicant has held previous employment as a research fellow.

The PhD candidate will be assigned two academic supervisor(s) at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. An application for enrolment should first be submitted after an appointment is made and the supervisor(s) will help with this procedure. The candidate must be enrolled as a PhD student within 3 months from the start of the employment.

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences is subjected to the regulation for export control system. The regulation might be applied in the processing of the applications.

Application procedure:

Applications will be evaluated by an expert panel of three members.

Applicants are asked to submit their application and CV online. Please use the link “Apply for this job” (“Søk stillingen”).

The following documentation should be uploaded as an attachment to the online application:

  • Master Thesis
  • Copies of selected academic publications (no more than 15)
  • A CV with a complete list of academic publications
  • Diplomas and certificates

Applicants should indicate which publications or parts of publications should be given special consideration in the evaluation. If the documents submitted are not in a Scandinavian language or in English, the applicants must submit certified translations of these. The transcripts must specify the topics, the course works, and the grades at the bachelor`s and master`s degree levels. 

Applicant whose education is from another country than Norway, need to also attach a certified translation of the diploma and transcript of grades to English or a Scandinavian language, if the original is not in any of these languages. It is required that the applicant enclose a review from NOKUT whether the education (bachelor and master’s degree) is of a scope and level that corresponds to the level of a Norwegian master’s degree. Please see www.nokut.no/en for more information about NOKUT’s general recognition. This may take some time and we recommend you to apply as soon as you know you will apply for this position. If no answer within the application deadline, please enclose documentation from NOKUT that they have received your application.

Applicants should note that the evaluation will be based on the documentation submitted electronically via Jobbnorge within the submission deadline. The applicants are responsible for ensuring that all the documentation is submitted before the closing date. It is of utmost importance that all publications to be considered in the evaluation are uploaded as an attachment with the application, since these are sent electronically to the expert panel. Applications cannot be sent by e-mail or to individuals at tHVL.


  • Good occupational pension, insurance and loan schemes from The Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • Exciting academic environment with the possibility of competence enhancement and development
  • Opportunities for training within the working hours 

Initial salaries will be offered at grade 54 (code 1017) in the Civil Service pay grade table scale.

There is a compulsory 2 % deduction to the pension fund (see http://www.spk.no for more information). The successful applicant must comply with the guidelines that apply to the position at any time.

General information:

The appointment will be made in accordance with the regulations for State employees Law in Norway ("Lov om statens ansatte)". Organizational changes and changes in the duties and responsibilities associated with the position must be expected.

State employment shall reflect the multiplicity of the population at large to the highest possible degree. Western Norway University of Applied Sciences Bergen has therefore adopted a personnel policy objective to ensure that we achieve a balanced age and gender composition and the recruitment of persons of various ethnic backgrounds.

Information about the applicant may be made public even though the applicant has requested not to be named in the list of applicants. The applicant will be notified if his/her request is not respected.

Short-listed applicants will be called in for an interview.

Employed on condition that you are granted a work and residence permit (must be considered individually).

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences is subjected to the regulation for export control system. The regulation will be applied in the processing of the applications. 


1) Associate Professor Patrick Stünkel, phone: +47 55 58 71 81, email: Patrick.Stuenkel@hvl.no

2) Professor Håvard Helstrup, Coordinator of PhD Programme on Computer Science, phone: (+47) 55 58 75 61, e-mail: Havard.Helstrup@hvl.no

3) Professor Adrian Rutle, phone: +47 55 58 77 91, e-mail: Adrian.Rutle@hvl.no

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