PhD scholarship within urban hydrology and rainfall estimation via EURAXESS

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

Ås, , NO

NMBU has a special responsibility for research and education that ensures the basis of life for future generations.

Sustainability is rooted in everything we do and we provide knowledge for life.

NMBU has 1700 employees and 5200 students and is organized in seven faculties. NMBU has a campus in Ås and in Oslo. In 2021 we are co-located on Ås. Further information on NMBU is available at

About the position

The Faculty of Science and Technology has a vacant three-year PhD–position related to urban hydrology and rainfall estimation. The position is affiliated with the research group on water and environmental engineering (WESH group).

Urban rainfall data is needed for urban stormwater management, rainfall-runoff modeling and flash flood nowcasting. These applications may require rainfall data with high temporal ( minutes) and spatial resolution ( 100 meters). Traditional rain gauge networks are typically too sparse to provide the desired spatial resolution. The purpose of the present PhD project is to refine and develop computational methods to augment data from traditional rain gauges with new sources of rainfall data, such as e.g. commercial microwave links (CML) and personal weather stations (PWS).

CMLs are part of the backhaul infrastructure of e.g. telecommunication companies. Rainfall between two antennae in a link will attenuate the signal intensity at the receiving end of the link. In recent years, researchers have developed methods to use the signal attenuation in such links for inferring rainfall intensity along the link. PWSs are affordable privately-owned weather stations that are connected to the internet. Both CMLs and PWSs carry the potential to improve the spatial resolution of urban rainfall maps. In order to make the most of all the available data sources, sophisticated data analysis is needed that considers the characteristics of each data source.

The position is financed by the Faculty of Science and Technology (REALTEK) at NMBU, but the supervisory group will also include experts on stochastic hydrology and geostatistics from the hydrology group at NMBU and INRAE in France. An extended project reference group will be established in cooperation with the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate.

Main tasks

A detailed project plan will be developed in collaboration with the candidate, but the following are likely components of the project

  • Test and refine CML attenuation-to-rainfall algorithms using Norwegian data
  • Test and refine algorithms for reconstructing spatio-temporal rainfall fields from CML data
  • Test and refine algorithms for combining urban rainfall information from multiple sources in an optimal manner
  • Assess the potential improvement in urban rainfall maps in Norway by augmenting traditional rain gauges with new data sources
  • Assess the improvement in urban rainfall-runoff models by using a richer set of rainfall data as model input
  • Publish results in international scientific journals
  • Disseminate results to stakeholders in Norway

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.

Qualification requirements, desired experiences, knowledge and personal qualities

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 Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are at master’s degree level (candidates submitting MSc thesis by June 30th 2020 may also be considered). The applicant must have a documented strong academic background from previous studies and 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

  • MSc degree in one of the following areas or similar: Urban drainage engineering, hydrology, geophysics, physics, applied mathematics, data science/statistics
  • Documented experience with data analysis and/or numerical simulations
  • Documented experience with scientific programming
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Familiarity with urban hydrology, stormwater management and urban drainage engineering
  • Familiarity with geostatistics
  • Familiarity with artificial intelligence and machine learning methods
  • Knowledge of a Scandinavian language

You need to:

  • Have an analytical mindset
  • Be motivated for learning and working with advanced quantitative methods
  • Be motivated for bridging different disciplines
  • Show a teamwork approach to research
  • Show a willingness and ability to communicate research results

Remuneration and further information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD. Fellow. PhD. Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 479.600) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

Terms of employment are governed by Norwegian guidelines for PhD fellowships at Universities and University Colleges.

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Vegard Nilsen, Postdoctoral researcher, E-mail: [email protected] ; phone +47/67 23 16 25 / +47 930 94 406

Dr. Nils-Otto Kitterød, Assoc. Professor, E-mail: nils- [email protected] ; phone +47 67 23 18 22 /+47 476 52 123

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: 15.08.2020

Applications should include (electronically) a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, full publication list, copies of degree certificates and transcripts of academic records (all certified), and a list of two persons who may act as references (with phone numbers and e-mail addresses).

Publications should be included electronically within the application deadline. The relevant NMBU Department may require further documentation, e.g. proof of English proficiency.

Printed material which cannot be sent electronically should be sent by surface mail to the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, within 15.08.2020. Please quote reference number 20/02240.

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.

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.





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