PhD Research Fellow in Offshore wind energy optimisation

Deadline: 05.08.2022

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

With about 16,000 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 300 employees and approximately 3,200 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.

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 Mechanical and Marine Engineering has 50 employees. More than 70% of the academic staff have first competence, of which 7 are professors. The department has about 650 students and educates engineers and civil engineers. There are 6 educational programs offered at bachelor level (general machinery, marine engineering, production engineering, energy technology and marine technology) and 3 at master's level (underwater technology, energy and marine technology). R&D work in energy, materials technology and marine technology is conducted at the department. The department has modern laboratories with, among other things, MarinLab for testing boats and offshore structures. Great emphasis is placed on developing the content of our study programs in close collaboration with the public and private business community, which are buyers of our engineers.

The Department of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), has a vacancy for a research fellow (PhD position) in Offshore wind energy optimisation 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:

Offshore wind is forecasted to be one of the most important sources of renewable energy. Due to limited access to shallow water coastlines for most countries around the world, floating offshore wind is now investigated in detail by both the wind industry and research community. As a result of high rotor blade production cost and complexity of installing the increasingly larger rotor blades at sea, innovative solutions such as floating multirotor wind turbines are being considered. A common challenge when designing wind turbines is to find the optimal rotor shape and farm layout that maximises the Annual Energy Production (AEP). However, the rotor blade and farm design problem experiences turbulent scales that span orders of magnitude (e.g., rotor blade aerodynamics vs. wake flow). Hence, flow solvers that efficiently couple the turbulent scales are required to optimise rotor blades and farm AEP.

The goal of this project is to develop a clever and straightforward simulation and optimisation methodology for optimising rotor blades, small wind farms and multirotor concepts. Hence, it is necessary to develop numerical flow solvers that couple turbine blade aerodynamics and wind farm wake effects accurately. In this project, computationally expensive high-fidelity models, such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and computationally efficient low-fidelity methods, such as the Vortex Line method will be developed and coupled. By coupling the high- and low-fidelity models, the physical presence of the blades in the CFD model is replaced with momentum sources. In this approach, the mesh size, and thus the computational time is reduced by several orders of magnitude, which is beneficial when many design solutions are investigated. To perform optimisation, a surrogate model (e.g. Kriging) will be applied to reduce the number of simulations. The optimised designs will be validated experimentally in the MarinLab hydrodynamic test facility. The experimental testing will be performed by master students. The developed simulation and optimisation methodology will be a valuable tool for research at HVL and will help industry in offshore wind turbine applications. In addition, the project should prepare for further complex research questions, e.g., hydrodynamic, aerodynamic, and structural interaction. The latter will require cooperation with other PhD students that are working with hydrodynamic mooring simulations.

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 our current PhD students in the “Engineering Computing” and “Wind, Water and Waves” research groups.

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.


Formal qualifications:

  • The PhD research fellow must hold a master’s degree in an Engineering discipline that includes Wind Energy, Fluid-/Aerodynamics, Aerospace or a closely related field.
  • The MSc thesis (or equivalent research) must include Computational Aerodynamics applied on wings/foils or wind turbine problems.
  • The master's thesis grade must be equivalent of grade B or better on the ECTS grading system.
  • The average grade on course work must be equivalent of grade C or better on the ECTS grading system.
  • To qualify for admission to the HVL Computer Science PhD programme, the MSc degree must include a strong computational component.

Candidates who will submit a master’s thesis (but who have not yet been awarded a master’s degree) may also qualify for the position, provided that the master`s degree is awarded within 1st of September 2022. The outline of the master’s thesis must in this case be explained clearly in the application letter or in an extra attachment.

Candidates already holding a PhD within this field are not eligible for this position.

Additional qualifications for ranking:

A solid background in one or more of the following topics will be considered when candidates are ranked (in order of importance); (1) wing/airfoil and/or wind turbine knowledge with emphasis on aerodynamics, (2) experience of working with aerodynamic computational codes, (3) programming of low-fidelity aerodynamic models, (4) optimisation, and (5) programming experience with interfacing solvers/software. In addition to the required educational and scientific background, the following criteria will be evaluated (not in order of importance): (6) competence and grades on relevant completed course work, (7) publications (if any), (8) work experience in the above mentioned topics 1-5, (9) research and teaching experience, (10) other practical software engineering skills and experience, and (11) excellent level of spoken and written English. Finally, (12) a possible outline of a research plan for a potential PhD project will also be taken into account.

Personal qualifications

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. In addition, the candidate must have good communications skills and be solution oriented.

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.

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 the college.


  • 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.





1) Associate Professor Gloria Stenfelt, phone: +47 55 58 76 06, e-mail: [email protected]

2) Associate Professor Jan Bartl, phone: +47 55 58 71 85, e-mail: [email protected]

3) Professor Håvard Helstrup, Coordinator of PhD Programme on Computer Science, Phone: (+47) 55 58 75 61, e-mail: [email protected]

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