Ledig stilling ved Høgskulen på Vestlandet

Postdoctoral Fellow Position in Machine Learning for Drug Discovery

Deadline: 24.11.2019

Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), Faculty of Engineering and Science has an open position as a post-doctoral research fellow for a period of three years.

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 position is part of the project “RESPONsible early Digital Drug Discovery – RESPOND3: Towards better computational approaches and responsible innovation strategies in early drug discovery: application to antibiotics and COPD” funded by The Research Council of Norway.

The focus of RESPOND3 is hit and lead optimization for targets for antibiotics (SAM riboswitch) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (proteinase 3) guided by the use of computational methods as well as the development of new scoring functions using machine learning. The entire project is embedded in a responsible research and innovation strategy (RRI).

RESPOND3 is part of the Centre for Digital Live Norway (https://digitallifenorway.org) and is a cross-disciplinary collaboration between research groups at the Centre for Advanced studies in Biomedical Innovation Law (University of Copenhagen), Department of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences), Department of Biomedicine (University of Bergen, UiB), and the Department of Chemistry (University of Bergen)

Research Environment

The RESPOND3 research team will consist of four postdocs, three PhD students and five principle investigators, covering medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry and biology, structural biology, computer science, mathematics, and law. In addition to working with the RESPOND3 team, the postdoctoral fellow will be part of the vibrant research community at the recently established Mohn Medical Imaging and Visualization Center (MMIV, https://mmiv.no ), Haukeland University Hospital, with access to office space, world-class computing infrastructure and to top expertise in life sciences, machine learning and computation. The researcher will also be associated with the ICT-oriented strategic research programme in computer science at HVL (http://ict.hvl.no) which spans the areas of software engineering, sensor networks, machine learning, and engineering computing.

Key duties- and responsibilities:

The position will focus on applications of machine learning in drug discovery and development. The exact direction of research will depend on the background and interests of the successful candidate. Potential research areas and directions include

  • Development of new scoring functions for protein-ligand interactions using both in-house data and publicly available data sets
  • Attempts at combatting the tendency for scoring functions to exploit uninteresting features in the training data (data leakage) using e.g. various debiasing techniques. The improved scoring functions will be evaluated prospectively.
  • Investigation of the potential for machine learning methods in de novo structure generation (e.g. using variants of generative adversarial networks)

In addition, the successful candidate will

  • Assist in the supervision of MSc students and PhD candidates.
  • Contribute to the development of joint project applications for external funding in collaboration with permanent research staff members at HVL, MMIV and UiB


  • The candidate must hold a PhD degree or have submitted their doctoral dissertation for evaluation within the closing date of the application. It is a condition of employment that the dissertation is approved prior to undertaking interviews. The PhD degree should be within computer science/machine learning, cheminformatics, bioinformatics, computational biology, or a related discipline involving computation.
  • The candidate must have solid research experience in machine learning or statistical modelling applied to biological systems. Experience from similar research projects will be considered favourable.
  • Good software engineering skills is a requirement. You are encouraged to include a link to your GitHub profile or similar documentation of programming experience in your application.
  • In your application letter you must point out why you are especially motivated and qualified for this position.
  • The candidate should be proficient in spoken and written English
  • Personal skills will be emphasized. The candidate should be able to work independently and interactively in a team setting, be motivated and responsible, and have a great work capacity and enthusiasm for research, including writing manuscripts and preferentially also grant applications
  • In addition, the following will be evaluated: publication track record and quality of publications, quality and relevance of the PhD thesis, and experience with writing funding applications.

Application procedure:

To apply for this position, please use the link “Apply for this job” (“Søk stillingen”).

The applications will be assessed by the information entered in www.jobbnorge.no at the application deadline. The applicants are responsible for ensuring that all the documentation is submitted before the closing date, including the scientific work (up to 15 pieces), complete publication list, certificates and diplomas. If the diplomas, transcripts or other documentation are not in a scandinavian language or English, the applicant must upload the certified transactions himself. If the attachments exceed 15 MB, they must be compressed before uploading or attaching as a link.

The applications will be sent electronically to the expert committee. Based on the committee's recommendation, qualified applicants will be invited to an interview and an trial lecture. Applications cannot be sent by e-mail or to individuals at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

We offer:

  • 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

The position as a Postdoctoral Fellow is paid according to the Government's salary regulation, in position code 1352 - Postdoctoral Fellow

There is a compulsory 2 % deduction to the pension fund (see http://www.spk.no/en 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. Applicants may be called in for an interview.


  • Associate professor Alexander Selvikvåg Lundervold, phone: +47 95931335, e-mail: [email protected]

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