PhD candidate: Modelling of competing water use and hydrological risks

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Trondheim, Norway 🇳🇴

This is NTNU

NTNU is a broad-based university with a technical-scientific profile and a focus in professional education. The university is located in three cities with headquarters in Trondheim.

At NTNU, 9,000 employees and 42,000 students work to create knowledge for a better world.

You will find more information about working at NTNU and the application process here.

Research Collaboration in Sustainability/Tverrfaglige bærekraftsprosjekter

Research Collaboration in Sustainability

In 2015, the 2030 agenda with the 17 sustainability goals was adopted by all UN member states. The sustainability goals see the environment, economy and social development in context. The time horizon for necessary changes is short, and it is challenging to combine different considerations without conflicts of objectives and unintended consequences of measures.

NTNU is now announcing 43 individual PhD positions that will contribute to a greater understanding of system effects, societal changes and conflicts of interest related to the sustainability challenges. These positions are divided into 9 interdisciplinary projects with mainly 4-7 PhD positions in each project. (

In this position, the candidate is expected to cooperate with the other PhD students in the project SusHydro (

About the position

We have a vacancy for a PhD candidate at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.The appointment has a duration of 3 or 4 years (with 25% of compulsory work) and the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree. The appointment is financed by NTNU through its call for interdisciplinary research collaboration in sustainability.

The position is part of the SusHydro project that seeks to find innovative and cross-sectoral solutions that shed light on a wider range of services that hydropower and water reservoirs can contribute and shed light on how synergies and conflicts between different sustainability goals can be identified and balanced. SusHydro will do this by putting together a team of experienced professionals and talented young researchers with a background in hydrology and water resource analysis, life cycle assessment, modeling of the energy system, economics, biology and social sciences. Solutions will be developed through case studies in Norway and areas of Africa with rich hydropower resources.

The topic of this specific PhD project is the development of improved tools improved methods for sustainable planning and operation of multipurpose reservoirs with hydropower production. The first part will be carried out in a basin in Africa where the tradeoffs and synergies across a wide set of water use is analyzed, such as irrigation, drinking water supply, flood control and environmental purposes. This will lead to better tools to analyze risks and opportunities across sectors (water, energy, food nexus). The second part will be based on a Norwegian case where the tradeoffs and synergies between hydropower production, flood control and ecology are analyzed. The studies will make extensive use of advanced modelling techniques and new data sources.

You will report to professor Tor Haakon Bakken.

Duties of the position

  • Development of new methods for improved planning and operation of multi-purpose reservoirs
  • Demonstrate the methods on selected case studies
  • Preparation of journal and conference papers and presentation of results on national and international conferences
  • The candidate must show clear interests and dedication in interdisciplinary research, which will include:
    • attendance to joint courses with other candidates recruited for the SusHydro-program
    • contribute to the arrangement of inter-disciplinary meetings and social gatherings hosted or with the involvement of SusHydro
    • contribute to papers by other candidates in SusHydro from a different filed of science (in SusHydro)
    • attend meetings with the hydropower sector, including those hosted by HydroCen
  • Involvement in internal scientific and social affairs in the research group and at the department

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a professionally relevant background in hydrological/water resources modelling
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are obtained at master’s level 
  • You must have a strong academic background from your previous studies and an average grade from the master’s degree program, or equivalent education, which is equal to B or better compared with NTNU’s grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic basis. If you have a weaker grade background, you may be assessed if you can document that you are particularly suitable for a PhD education. 
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty’s doctoral program ( 
  • Experience in hydrological/water resources modelling
  • Strong skills/experience in data science/programming (MATLAB, R, Python or similar) 
  • Experience with Geographical Information system (GIS)
  • Knowledge about the Norwegian energy/hydropower system
  • Good written and oral English

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant  

Preferred selection criteria

  • Good understanding of the role of hydropower in the energy system
  • Good understanding of the role of reservoirs in regulated river basins
  • Understanding of the production of other water-related services from reservoirs than hydro-electric power
  • Understanding of Norwegian language and/or strong desire to learn

Personal characteristics

  • The successful candidate should be enthusiastic and highly motivated
  • The candidate should be capable to work both independently and with other researchers and partners in the project
  • The candidate should be open to inter-disciplinary scientific cooperation
  • The successful candidate must fulfill the requirement for admission to a doctoral program

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 491 200 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years, or 4 years with 25 % of compulsory work (a decision of 3 or 4 years is made in connection with the recruitment process, recommendation and offer, after assessment of whether compulsory work is suitable for the relevant candidate).

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Civil and Environmental Engineering ( within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

The position is subject to external funding.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

The application must include: 

  • CV, certificates and diplomas 
  • transcripts and diplomas for bachelor’s and master’s degrees. If you have not completed the master’s degree, you must submit a confirmation that the master’s thesis has been submitted
  • A copy of the master’s thesis. If you recently have submitted your master’s thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed master’s degree must be presented before taking up the position 
  • Project proposal  
  • Research plan 
  • Name and address of three referees 
  • If you have publications or other relevant research work 

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor’s and master’s education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment – DORA.

General information

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. 

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

In accordance with The Public Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact professor Tor Haakon Bakken, email [email protected] If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Senior Executive Officer HR, e-mail: [email protected]

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number IV-251/21 when applying.

Application deadline: 07.01.2022