PhD Research Fellow in Computer Science: Framework for Continuous and Automated Threat Modeling

Deadline: 20.03.2024

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

With about 17,500 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 Computing, Mathematics and Physics at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, has a vacancy for a research fellow (PhD position) in Framework for Continuous and Automated Threat Modeling for a period of 4 years

About the position:

The Department of Computing, Mathematics and Physics at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, has a vacancy for a research fellow (PhD position) in Framework for Continuous and Automated Threat Modeling 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, 30 PhD and post-doctoral research fellows, and a large number of master’s students.

About the PhD project:

Identifying security issues before attackers intrude the system has become a critical concern for software development teams and software users. Threat modelling is a major activity to find specific potential security vulnerabilities and their associated risks in the design of a system so that they can be addressed in a targeted manner. Many of today’s systems are complex and are composed of smaller components which are curated through the development and deployment platforms such as source code repository, package managers, and CI/CD platforms. These contexts are traditionally not included in many design-stage threat modelling. The challenges are further exacerbated because existing systems are continuously changed, thus increasing their complexity and attack surface. Moreover, modern software development process often misses the design artefacts which further complicate the threat modelling goal.

The goal of this project is to research, design and develop a framework for automatic context-based threat modelling that account for continuous changes of systems and their dependencies in different dimensions. The framework can incorporate defect prediction models, misuse case models, and software supply-chain vulnerability models.

The successful candidate will work in an international research environment in collaboration with the group’s existing SmartOcean project that is linked to different aspects of the society and societal infrastructure.

In this project, the candidate will use the SmartOcean Data Platform and the SmartOcean underwater sensor network as case studies for building and testing the threat modelling framework. Our collaborations with industrial stakeholders in the SmartOcean project will ensure that relevant artifacts are produced to support industrial actors in the secure design and operation of systems.

Research environment

The computer science research environment at 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 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. The present PhD research fellow position is associated with the software engineering research group  which has a strong track record in model-based software development and undertakes research on applications in areas such as health-care, cloud computing and internet-of-things, robotics and industrial automation, application of machine learning, and security. PhD research fellows receive an annual work expense funding which can be used for conference participation, research visits, and equipment.


The PhD research fellow must hold a master's degree in software engineering/computer science or in a closely related field or have submitted the master's thesis in these domains before the application deadline. In the latter case, it is required that the master's degree must be awarded within 4 weeks after the applications deadline. A solid background in software engineering, distributed systems, and security will be considered an advantage when applicants are ranked.

In addition to the required educational 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 in 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 considered.

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.

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.

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 Tosin Daniel Oyetoyan, phone: +47 55 58 71 67, email: Tosin.Daniel.Oyetoyan@hvl.no

3) Professor Harald König , phone: +49 160 7372697, e-mail: harald.koenig@hvl.no

2) Professor Rogardt Heldal, phone: +47 464 30 095, e-mail: rogardt.heldal@hvl.no

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

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