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Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)
Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)

PhD Research Fellow in Biologically Inspired methods for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

Deadline: 01.02.2023

Universitetet i Oslo

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest rated institution of research and education with 28 000 students and 7500 employees. Its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally esteemed research communities make UiO an important contributor to society.


The Department of Informatics (IFI) is one of nine departments belonging to the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. IFI is Norway’s largest university department for general education and research in Computer Science and related topics.


The Department has more than 1800 students on bachelor level, 600 master students, and over 240 PhDs and postdocs. The overall staff of the Department is close to 370 employees, about 280 of these in full time positions. The full time tenured academic staff is 75, mostly Full/Associate Professors.

About the positon

Position as PhD Research Fellow in Biologically Inspired methods for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence available at the Department of Informatics, University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo. Starting date no later than October 1, 2023.

The fellowship period is 3 years devoted to research education. Candidates may potentially be offered one additional year by the Department of Informatics; the 4 years position then entails a compulsory work load of 25% that may consist of teaching, supervision duties, and research assistance.

Project description

The PhD research fellow will carry out research on AI and machine learning techniques (including search / optimization) for robotic systems, at the group of Robotics and Intelligent Systems (ROBIN). We wish to concentrate on biologically inspired methods, such as Evolutionary Robotics, Quality Diversity optimization and Neuroevolution.

Despite rapid progress in Artificial Intelligence in the last decade, we are far from building robots that can flexibly and robustly learn new tasks and adapt to new environments. In this PhD project we therefore wish to build on our previous and ongoing projects in Evolutionary Robotics with the aim of developing new methods for more robust and flexible robotic adaptation. This could include combining Evolutionary Robotics with recent advances from Deep Learning or more biologically inspired methods, such as Neuroevolution.

The work will include theoretical development and experiments in simulations, but can also include rapid prototyping and application to real-world robots. State-of-the-art prototyping and motion capture facilities, as well as high-performance computing solutions, are available.

The candidate will have the opportunity to collaborate with AI / robotics re-searchers in the Robotics and Intelligent Systems group, and an extended machine learning environment in the Machine Learning section, both at the Department of Informatics.

https://www.mn.uio.no/ifi/english/research/groups/robin/research-projects/regenrap/index.html

https://www.mn.uio.no/ifi/english/research/groups/robin/research-projects/cocomo/index.html

Supervisors:

• Kai Olav Ellefsen – [email protected]

• Kyrre Glette – [email protected]

Qualification requirements

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences has a strategic ambition to be among Europe’s leading communities for research, education and innovation. Candidates for these fellowships will be selected in accordance with this, and expected to be in the upper segment of their class with respect to academic credentials.

Mandatory qualifications:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent (120 credits equivalent of the Norwegian Master’s degree program) in computer science, robotics or other relevant field. The applicant is required to document that the degree corresponds to the profile for the post. Candidates without a Master’s degree have until 30 June, 2023 to complete the final exam.
  • A strong background in programming, as well as machine learning/artificial intelligence and/or robotics
  • Personal suitability and motivation for the position
  • Excellent skills in written and oral English

An advantage will be given to candidates with one or more of the following:

  • Experience with Evolutionary Algorithms, Evolutionary Robotics, Quality Diversity optimization, Reinforcement Learning, and/or Neuroevolution
  • Having scientific publications in internationally recognized venues
  • Proficiency in Norwegian or another Scandinavian language

Grade requirements:

The norm is as follows:

  • the average grade point for courses included in the Bachelor’s degree must be C or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • the average grade point for courses included in the Master’s degree must be B or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • the Master’s thesis must have the grade B or better in the Norwegian educational system
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • English requirements for applicants from outside of EU/ EEA countries

The purpose of the fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a PhD degree.

The fellowship requires admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The application to the PhD programme must be submitted to the department no later than two months after taking up the position. For more information see:

http://www.uio.no/english/research/phd/

http://www.mn.uio.no/english/research/phd/

In assessing the applications, special emphasis will be placed on:

  • The applicant’s scientific merit, as well as the quality and relevance of the research outline
  • The applicant's estimated academic and personal ability to complete the project within the time frame
  • The applicant's ability to complete research training
  • Very good collaboration skills and an ability to join interdisciplinary academic communities

We offer

  • Salary NOK 501 200 – 544 400 per year depending on qualifications and seniority as PhD Research Fellow (position code 1017)
  • Attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement
  • A highly dynamic and motivated team of international researchers
  • Career development programmes, professional courses and workshops
  • Oslo’s family-friendly surroundings with their rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities

How to apply

The application must include:

  • Cover letter - statement of relevant qualifications, motivation for the position and research interests
  • CV (summarizing education, positions and academic or industrial work experience, scientific publications)
  • Research outline, including relevant research questions and theoretical and methodological approaches (approximately 2-3 pages, see template for research outline)
  • Copies of the original Bachelor and Master's degree diploma, transcrips of records
  • Documentation of English Proficiency
  • Names and contact details of 2-3 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and telephone number)
  • (Optional), relevant publications as attachment

The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system, please follow the link “Apply for this job”. Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University's grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English (or a Scandinavian language).

Shortlisted candidates will be called for interview.

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Research Fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period at the University of Oslo.

According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results etc.

The University of Oslo aims to achieve a balanced gender composition in the workforce and to recruit people with ethnic minority backgrounds.

Contact information

For further information please contact: Kai Olav Ellefsen, phone: +47 47641058, e-mail: [email protected]

For questions regarding the recruitment system, please contact HR Adviser at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science, Therese Ringvold, e-mail: [email protected]

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