PhD position within Timber Engineering

Deadline: 30.11.2022

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

NMBU has a particular responsibility for research and education that secures the basis for the life of future generations. Sustainability is rooted in everything we do and we deliver knowledge for life.
NMBU has 1,900 employees of which about 300 phd scholarships and 6,700 students. The university is divided into seven faculties.

NMBU believes that a good working environment is characterised by diversity.

We encourage qualified candidates to apply regardless of gender, functional ability, cultural background or whether you have been outside the labour market for a period. If necessary, workplace adaptations will be made for persons with disabilities. More information about NMBU is available at www.nmbu.no.

About The Faculty of Science and Technology

The Faculty of Science and Technology (REALTEK) develops research-based knowledge and educates civil engineers and lecturers needed to reach the UN's sustainability goals. We have approximately 150 employees, 70 PhD students and soon 1500 students. The education and research at REALTEK cover a broad spectrum of disciplines.

This includes data science, mechanics and process engineering, robotics, construction and architecture, industrial economics, environmental physics and renewable energy, geomatics, water and environmental engineering, applied mathematics as well as secondary school teacher education in natural sciences and use of natural resources such as in agriculture, forestry and aquaculture. The workplace is in Ås, 30 km from Oslo.

Do you have interest in sustainable timber building systems? We seek you who would like to conduct studies on the dynamics of lightweight timber superstructures of various occupancy categories.

About the position

The Faculty of Science and Technology at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant PhD–position related to assessment of the dynamic performances of CLT and other timber floors in superstructures of multi-storey buildings and pedestrian bridges. The PhD position is for a period of 3 years, or up to 4 years if teaching and other work duties are agreed.

The PhD research project will focus on assessing the dynamic behaviour of lightweight superstructures developed from cross laminated timber (CLT) including floors constructed in buildings corresponding to various occupancy categories.

Massive timber plates known collectively as CLT has entered the building industry with better green credentials as an alternative to reinforced concrete (RC). Besides wood as a raw material is renewable and much more sustainable than other mineral resource materials. However, using timber products is not simply a matter of substituting one type of material for another. Optimal exploitation of timber as a construction material requires supporting material appropriate architectural and engineering design and construction practice knowhow.

Significant advances in creation of the necessary knowhow have been made, but some major gaps in knowledge remain as blockages to full release of the potential of timber products like CLT. An important knowledge gap is absence of fully developed engineering design methods for predicting how CLT floor slabs will vibrate when subjected to dynamic forces such as human footfall impacts.

Therefore, a goal to be addressed in this project is to match or exceed knowhow for engineering vibrational serviceability design of elevated floors employed in design of RC, steel concrete composite (SC) systems or other alternatives to using CLT as floor slabs. Questions relating to design parameters that are judged as performance indicators and precursors to design guidelines will be addressed.

The PhD candidate will be expected to participate in activities to support the Eurocode 5 and other international efforts aimed at creating robustly reliable vibration serviceability assessment methods for CLT and other timber floor systems. This is contributing to activities of the Sub-Committee/Working Group on serviceability for Eurocode 5, The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST Actions) and the International Network on Timber Engineering Research (INTER).

An application for a PhD position at NMBU is at the same time an application for admission to a PhD programme at the institution. The documentation that is necessary to ensure that the admission requirements are met must be uploaded as an attachment.

Main tasks

  • Desk study of the scientific literature and state-of-the-art on existing approaches for predicting and assessing the vibration serviceability performance of floors including Human Structure Interaction (HIS) models.
  • Design of field in-situ experiments on the dynamic identification of CLT floors in superstructures of building of various occupancy classes - domestic dwellings, school buildings, office complex and commercial buildings etc.
  • Comparison of field measured data with those in literature and experimental results for isolated CLT floors tested in laboratories.
  • Development of complex numerical modelling techniques, based on finite element representations, for accurate prediction of modal frequencies, mode shapes and time history responses of CLT slabs with HIS. This is a benchmark model for assessing capabilities of simplified analysis techniques and the foundation for broadening study of CLT slab systems too large for laboratory investigations.
  • Development of alternative design guidelines for the assessment of the dynamic performance of CLT and other lightweight timber flooring systems. Consideration into the Norwegian National Rules.
  • At least 3 publications in internationally scientifically indexed journals
  • 2-3 presentations at international scientific conferences.

The successful candidate is expected to enter a plan for the progress of the work towards a PhD degree during the first months of the appointment, with a view to completing a doctorate within the PhD scholarship period.


The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD programme at NMBU. The applicant must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year master’s degree or a cand.med.vet. degree, with a learning outcome corresponding to the descriptions in the Norwegian Qualification Framework, second cycle. Candidates submitting MSs thesis within 30. June 2022 may be considered. The applicant must have a documented strong academic background from previous studies and be able to document proficiency in both written and oral English. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD Regulations and the relevant PhD programme description.

The applicant must document expertise and interest in the research subject.

Required Academic qualifications

  • Internationally recognised Master’s degree with high academic standing in Civil/structural engineering or related discipline.
  • A good background in mechanical vibrations or structural dynamics is recommended

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Strong knowledge in structural analysis
  • Understanding of wood, its mechanical properties and structural wood design
  • Good background in dynamics of structures
  • Design of experiments and data analysis/statistics for structural engineers or similar
  • Experimental experience
  • Experience in Finite Element numerical modelling of mechanical components in structures.
  • Good background in developing codes using MTALAB and/or PYTHON
  • Solid analytical background in developing closed form solutions.
  • Experiences in publications in international scientific journals and conferences will be considered an advantage

You need to:

  • Have interest in applied scientific research
  • Be a team player
  • Be a self-motivated and well-organised candidate with good communication skills

Remuneration and further information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017.

PhD fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 491.200,-) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

Employment is conducted according to national guidelines for University and Technical College PhD scholars.

For further information, please contact:

Information for PhD applicants and general Information to applicants


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 30.11.2022

In the application, the candidate must confirm that information and documentation (in the form of attachments) submitted via the job application can also be used by NMBU in a possible admission process.

Applicants invited for an interview are expected to present original diplomas and certificates.

The following documents must be attached to the application:

  • Motivation letter (maximum 1 page)
  • Complete CV
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and certificates. (i.e. Di-ploma, transcript. Diploma supplement for both bachelor and master). Diplomas, transcripts and diploma supplements that are not in Norwegian or English must be uploaded in the original language. An English translation of these documents must also be attached.
  • Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement, or a similar document, which describes in detail the study program and grading system.
  • Documentation of proficiency in written and oral English in accordance with NMBU PhD regulation section 5-2 (3).
  • Names and contact details for two references
  • Additional relevant documentation of professional knowledge (for example, list of scientific works). If it is difficult to judge the applicant’s contribution for publications with multiple authors, a short description of the applicant’s contribution must be included.

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