PhD Research Fellow in Wireless Underwater Sensor Networks

Deadline: 10.01.2022

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, 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.

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Department of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences has a vacancy for a four year Research Fellow Position in Wireless Underwater Sensor Networks for smart monitoring of the ocean

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. The PhD project is associated with the recently established SmartOcean centre for research-based innovation funded by the Norwegian Research Council and several industry partners. Workplace for this position is Campus Bergen.

About the PhD project/ work tasks:

The overall vision of the SmartOcean centre is to create a flexible, robust, energy efficient, and cost-effective sensor network platform for marine measurement and data services. The PhD fellow will be focusing on communication protocols for underwater wireless sensor networks (UWSNs) based on acoustic data transmission. The sensor network will consist of battery-charged autonomous sensors. The goal is to establish robust wireless communication between underwater sensors and onshore control rooms. In particular, focus will be on the development and evaluation of protocols for medium access, link coordination and multi-hop routing.

The development of an efficient UWSN represents several research challenges to be addressed due to the unique characteristics of the underwater environment combined with the general requirements of an ocean monitoring solution. The communication protocols to be developed must support reliability and quality of service schemes differentiated according to characteristics of the transmitted sensor data. The sensor network management must be distributed to make the network dynamic and resilient, and to reduce the management traffic. Furthermore, the acoustic signal propagation is slow, the transmission capacity is small, the channel quality is low and highly dynamic, and battery replacement in underwater equipment is often unfeasible and expensive. These boundary conditions and requirements represent tradeoffs with respect to energy consumption which must be reduced to prolong the lifetime of the network. Candidate protocol solutions will be initially evaluated based on simulation of software models, and promising solutions will then be further developed into prototypes to be evaluated in practice. The use case scenarios will be developed jointly with the partners of the SmartOcean research centre.

Research environment

The computer science and electrical engineering 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 technology, grid computing and physics data analysis, machine learning, and interactive and collaborative systems. The prospective PhD fellow will be part of a research team of experts in wireless sensor networks, as well as underwater technology. He/she will work in close cooperation with staff, current PhD candidates and master students in the research group on sensor network and measurement technology, and the partners of the SmartOcean centre.

PhD research fellow receives 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 spend 3-6 months in another academic environment during the research period.


The PhD research fellow must hold a master’s degree within communications technology, communication systems or in a closely related field.

Candidates who are in the final stage of completing a master’s degree (but who has not yet been awarded a master’s degree) may also qualify for the position. In this case, a draft of the master thesis and a transcript showing grades of currently completed course work must be submitted with the application. If the candidate is called for an interview, then the final version of the master thesis and a complete transcript of grades on the master’s degree must be provided at the time of the interview.

A solid background in communication systems engineering and embedded software development is required. Experience with network and link layer in sensor networks, and in underwater/acoustic communication will be considered an advantage when candidates are ranked.

In addition to the required educational and scientific background, the following criteria will be evaluated: competence and grades on completed course work (at least C on average in the ECTS grading system), quality of the master’s thesis (excellent grade, the equivalent of grade B or better on the ECTS grading system), publications (if any), research and teaching experience, practical communication technology and software development 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.

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

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 employment period may be reduced if the successful applicant has held previous employment as a research fellow.

The PhD candidate will be assigned one academic supervisor at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and a co-supervisor. 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 three 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 Anne-Lena Kampen, [email protected]

2) Professor Lars Michael Kristensen, [email protected]

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