PhD Research Fellow in Using Artificial Intelligence and Remote Sensing for Wildfires Modeling

Deadline: 20.01.2022

Høgskulen på Vestlandet

Høgskulen på Vestlandet (HVL) er en av de største høgskolene i landet, med om lag 1 800 ansatte og 16 000 studenter fordelt på fem campus i Førde, Sogndal, Bergen, Stord og Haugesund.

Vi har sterke og innovative fagmiljø innen helse- og sosialvitskap, ingeniør- og naturvitskap, økonomi og samfunnsvitskap og maritime studier, og lærerutdanning, kultur og idrett. HVL tilbyr bachelor-, master- og doktorgradsutdanninger og ulike årsstudium.

HVL er tett på arbeidslivet, regionen og studentene, og har mål om å bli et universitet med profesjons- og arbeidslivsrettet profil.

Fakultet for økonomi og samfunnsvitskap (FØS) har tre institutter: Institutt for Økonomi og administrasjon, Institutt for maritime studier og Institutt for samfunnsvitskap. Totalt er det ca. 120 faglig ansatte ved fakultetet og vel 2000 studenter. Fakultetet har i dag ni bachelorprogrammer og fire masterprogrammer. Fakultetet er vertsfakultet for doktorgradprogrammet RESINNREG i samarbeid med Fakultet for ingeniør- og naturvitskap og Fakultetet for helse- og sosialvitskap. Fakultetet har i tillegg et doktorgradsprogram i nautiske operasjoner som er en fellesgrad med Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet (NTNU), Norges arktiske universitet (UiT) og Universitetet i Sørøst-Norge (USN)

About the PhD project/ work tasks:

Global warming increases temperatures, causes less rain, and brings more extended periods with dry weather conditions. Such hot and dry periods will increase the risk of wildfires in regions unfamiliar with these types of disasters. One such region is Northern Europe, where both the number and the size of wildfires are expected to increase. Therefore, to prepare for and to reduce the risk of disastrous wildfires, we need to develop societal safety to cope with these types of disasters.

Remote sensing technologies have long been considered a critical tool for fire data, science, modeling, management, and monitoring. Recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI) plus the availability of satellite-based data (optical, SAR, LiDAR) with low cost to no cost are expected to improve wildfire detection and modeling significantly. This project will contribute to developing suitable AI algorithms for analyzing satellite and aerial data to characterize and predict the risk of wildfires and their spread in Scandinavia.

Following are example research tasks that the Ph.D. student may touch during his/her study:

  • Analyzing earth observation data (optical, SAR, UAV, and LiDAR) using machine learning
  • Integration of satellite, aerial/drone, weather and in situ wildfire observation, and simulation data
  • Integration of Remote Sensing data with climate and meteorological data for wildfire forecasting
  • Fire disturbance monitoring at multiple spatio-temporal scales

Research Environment

The Ph.D candidate will be part of the Fire Safety Research Group in the Department of Safety, Chemistry and Biomedical Laboratory Sciences at Haugesund Campus, and the Data Science Group in the Department of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at Bergen’s Campus of the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL).

The environment at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) 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 PhD programme includes the research themes of software engineering, engineering computing, communication systems and sensor networks, grid computing and physics data analysis, machine learning, and interactive and collaborative systems.


  • A master's degree in computer science or a related field with strong emphasis on computing.
  • Practical programming skills (e.g. R, Python, etc.) is a requirement.
  • A solid background in machine learning and image processing will be considered an advantage.
  • Knowledge in any area of fire safety will be considered a plus.
  • Knowledge in any area of remote sensing will be considered a plus.

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 by four weeks after the application deadline.

In addition to the required educational and technical 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, teaching experience, and industrial (if any) experience.
  • Applicants must be proficient in both written and oral English.
  • Personal and relational qualities will be emphasized. Ambitions and potential will also count when evaluating the candidates.

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 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. The project duration is 3 years and the work location is in Bergen, Norway with some trips to Haugesund campus.

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 also uploaded as an attachment to the online application:

  • A CV with a list of related course works plus a list of academic publications,
  • BS and MS Transcripts,
  • MS Thesis if is in English (one page abstract for Non-English thesis)
  • A project outline of maximum 2 pages, describing topic, choice of theory and method as well as plan for carrying out a potential project,
  • Copies of not more than 2 selected academic publications.

If the documents submitted are not in English or in a Scandinavian language, 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.

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.

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.


  • 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 Nieves Fernandez Anez, phone: +47 52 70 28 63, e-mail: [email protected]

2) Professor Reza Arghandeh, phone: +47 55 58 71 95, e-mail: [email protected]

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

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