PhD Research Fellow in Mathematical Modelling of Vehicle Crash - Structural design and crashworthiness analysis

Closing date: 22.08.18

University of Agder

The University of Agder has more than 1300 employees and 13 000 students. This makes us one of the largest workplaces in Southern Norway. Our staff research, teach and disseminate knowledge from a variety of academic fields. Co-creation of knowledge is our common vision. We offer a broad range of study programmes in many fields. We are situated at two modern campuses in Kristiansand and Grimstad respectively.

We are an open and inclusive university marked by a culture of cooperation. The aim of the university is to further develop education and research at a high international level.

The University of Agder invites applications for a PhD fellowship in Vehicle Crash – structural design and crashworthiness analysis of road vehicles. The position is linked to the Department of Engineering Sciences and the contract is for a period of 3 years. Starting date as early as possible/negotiable with the faculty.

The Department of Engineering Sciences has more than 110 employees in scientific positions, and more than 1300 students at all levels. A variety of research is being conducted within all the groups Mechatronics, Renewable Energy, Civil Engineering and Industrial Economy, and we also welcome interdisciplinary projects within the department or with other research groups. We have a broad international cooperation and we have a close cooperation with industrial partners and public services in the region. This is a benefit both to teaching and research. The partners contribute with assignments, competence and resources.

Brief Description of the Research Project

The number of vehicles in the world are increasing and so are the number of accidents too. Therefore it is very important to design the vehicles as safe as possible, both for the driver and the passenger, but also for the pedestrians. Much efforts have been done in testing new concepts and new vehicles before they are available in the marked. But doing such full-scale testing is both time-consuming, expensive and require sophisticated infrastructure. In the last three decades explicit Finite Element Models have been popular, but this is also time-consuming methods and require sophisticated infrastructure and heavy computers.

In this project we want to do numerical modelling and simulation by developing mathematical models for reconstruction of vehicle crash. These models may later be of interest also in the design process. Lumped Parameter Models (LPM) are using lumped masses to represent parts of the vehicle, e.g. engine block and the passenger compartment. These two parts are considered rigid during the analysis, and springs are representing the deformable structural elements. Models for the dynamics of a two-mass system with piecewise linear approximations for spring and dampers the genetic algorithm and parameters of a vehicle-to-vehicle frontal crash has been developed. More sophisticated models results in larger equation systems.

It is well known that coupled oscillators demonstrate a wide range of interesting mathematical phenomena, including sensitive dependence on initial data, bifurcations, synchronization, cooperative dynamics, multimode oscillations, chaos, to mention a few. Therefore, mathematical analysis of such models with rich dynamics using analytical tools from qualitative theory of differential equations and dynamic systems is both challenging and rewarding. One may, in particular, study stability properties and synchronization for such systems since these are particularly important for the modeling of mechanical systems. The list of methods used for studying nonlinear oscillations includes a variety of advanced techniques such as, for instance, averaging, linearization, harmonic balance, homotopy perturbation, iteration, parameter expansion, variational iteration, etc.

Research Topics for the PhD Research Fellow

The objective of the research is to establish new modelling techniques for reconstruction of vehicle crash. Such models should also have potential for included in the design process.

The potential topics for the PhD research fellow include, but are not limited to:

  • Vehicle crash mathematical modeling, model validation and computer simulation
  • Large equation systems, validated by building a model using advanced state-of-the-art tools (SimReal, equation-based languages)
  • Prediction of vehicle and passenger response in computer impact simulation
  • Analysis of response of materials, body structures and energy-absorbing systems subjected to sudden dynamic loading
  • Crashworthy safety barrier design
  • Model validation through co-simulation with hardware in the loop
  • Developing more efficient and precise modelling

Admission Requirements and qualifications

To be regarded as an eligible applicant, the applicant must hold a master’s degree in mechatronics, renewable energy, mechanical engineering, or electrical engineering that covers the above fields. A master’s degree in mathematics is also welcome as long as the candidate’s area of expertise intersects sufficiently with the research areas that are relevant for this position.

To be considered for this position, applicants must have either already finished their master’s degree during the last five years. In any case, the master’s thesis should be related to one or several topics listed for this position.

Furthermore, the applicant should have:

  • Strong academic credentials
  • Strong academic skills, experience or interest in the following areas: fault detection, sensor fusion, control systems, dynamic analysis, signal processing, instrumentation and mathematics
  • Programming skills in Matlab, Python, LabView, etc.
  • Personal suitability and good teamwork skills will be emphasized in the evaluation as well as relevant practical experience. Research Fellows are expected to contribute to the active research community at the University. The positions place demands on the applicants’ capacity for independent goal-oriented work, ability to concentrate and attention to detail
  • Good communication skills and a good command of English are required

Regarding the English skills, please check here to see if an English test is required. Possible categories of applicants from particular countries may be exempted. Please note that the English test requirement applies to applicants from most countries according to the list mentioned above.

Applicants from some countries must document their English proficiency through one of the following tests with the stated results or better:

  • TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language with a minimum score of 550 on the Paper-based Test (PBT), or 80 on the Internet based Test (iBT)
  • IELTS - International English Language Testing System, with a result of at least 6.0.

Please note that the English test requirement applies to applicants from most countries according to the list cited above. No other tests will be approved, and certifications/statements cannot replace a test.

The candidate will be enrolled in the PhD programme at the Faculty of Engineering and Science and the applicant must qualify for admission to this PhD Programme.

Further provisions relating to the position as PhD Research Fellow can be found in the “Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the position of Post-doctoral research fellow, research fellow, research assistant and resident”.

Applicants will be assessed on the basis of academic background and results, attainment, and any previous research activity. Short-listed applicants will be invited for interviews. With the applicant’s permission, UiA will also conduct a reference check before appointment.


The position is remunerated according to the State salary scale, code 1017 Research Fellow, salary NOK 449 400 gross per year. A 2 % compulsory pension contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund is deducted from the pay according to current statutory provisions.

The Norwegian public service is committed to reflect the diversity of society, and the personnel policy of the University of Agder aims to achieve a balanced workforce. Qualified persons are therefore encouraged to apply for the position, irrespective of cultural background, gender, age or disability.

Women are strongly encouraged to apply for the position.

Appointment is made by the University of Agder’s Appointments Committee for Teaching and Research Positions. The successful applicant will have rights and obligations in accordance with the current regulations for the public service.


Submit your application and CV online. Please click on the link “Apply for this job”. The following documentation should be submitted as attachments to the online application:

  • A letter of application which includes a rationale for applying for the position together with an outline of the applicant’s research interests and background for the proposed project
  • Certificates and/or grades for all post-secondary education, up to and including the bachelor's level
  • Master's degree/higher degree certificate, with a summary of the courses/subjects included in the degree
  • Applicants with a foreign higher education must attach an official description of the grading system used at the issuing institution
  • Applicants who are required to document their English proficiency must submit their TOEFL or IELTS test results (these may be forwarded after the closing date). An additional assessment of English may be undertaken at the time of interview
  • Summary and links to the applicant's scientific publications if produced
  • A short research proposal (preliminary) that sets out the background, rationale, recent work and research design for the intended study. This should not be more than 2 pages, but will form an important part of the evaluation of candidates

Original documents must be presented for verification to the University of Agder. Successful candidates will be asked, normally during the interview, to ensure that the issuing university submits documents in a sealed envelope directly to UiA or provide access to their documents online, which allows UiA to verify the authenticity of these electronic documents via a secure website hosted at the issuing university (contact person at UiA will be provided later for certain candidates).

The applicant is fully responsible for submitting complete documentation. Without complete documentation we cannot, unfortunately, include you in the assessment process.

All documentation of education must be in the original language and in English, Norwegian, Swedish, or Danish (if the original language is not one of these), the application should include a translation should preferably be from the issuing university. Additional documentation must be in English, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish.

Closing date: 22.08.18

For further information please contact:

In accordance with §25(2) of the Freedom of Information Act, applicants may request that they are not identified in the open list of applicants. The University, however, reserves the right to publish the name of applicants. Applicants will be advised of the University’s intention to exercise this right.


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