NMBU PhD Scholarship within Robotic Grasping and Manipulation in Norway

Country: Norway;

Deadline: 05.06.2018

Web-Site: phd-positions.dk


Global challenges regarding energy and climate change, the environment, health, food safety, technology and renewable solutions, use and conservation of land and natural resources, and development of the bio-economy, requires greater effort. NMBU is well equipped to conduct further research in these fields. NMBU’s expertise spans entire value chains and includes both basic and applied research.

On 1 January 2014, the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science and the University of Life Sciences merged and became –NMBU, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. NMBU has 1700 employees and 5200 students, and is currently located on two campuses – Ås, about 30 km south of Oslo, and Adamstuen in Oslo. In 2020, the new research- and education-building for veterinary science will be completed and all of NMBU will then be located at Campus Ås.

Further information about NMBU is available on www.nmbu.no

PhD scholarship within robotic grasping and manipulation – ref.no. 18/02682

The Faculty of Science and Technology at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant 3-year PhD-position related to


The Faculty of Science and Technology (Realtek) has 130 employees, about 1,100 students and 60 PhD students. The faculty offers bachelor, master, and PhD degrees in natural sciences and engineering in the fields of environmental physics and renewable energy, building and architecture, water and environmental technology, machine, process- and product development, geomatics, and educational sciences. The workplace is in Ås, which is 30 km from Oslo.

The PhD scholarship candidate will work in close cooperation with other students in the Robotics and Control Group and is expected to take active part in the daily activities of the group, including seminars, courses, etc.

Research project

The PhD scholarship is part of the project “Robotised cells to obtain efficient meat production for the Norwegian meat industry (MeaTable)”, funded by the Research Council of Norway, with duration: 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2021.

The fellowship is closely related to the main activities of the robotics group at NMBU. The MeaTable project looks at how robotics technology can be used to assist human operators in slaughter houses. The project will specifically look at how humans and robots (cobots) can work together and grasping techniques for robot manipulators. The candidate will work closely with experts on machine vision and machine learning, and will implement advanced trajectory tracking and grasping strategies based on 3D-point cloud vision. The detection and grasping strategies will be refined using state of the art machine learning techniques.

The faculty has a robotic setup with several different robots that will be made available to the candidate.

 Main tasks

  • Implementation of real-time systems.
  • Trajectory planning and control of robotic manipulators, especially manipulators that work in collaboration with humans.
  • Grasping and manipulation.
  • Grasp planning and grasp refinement using machine learning.
  • Visual servoing for robust grasping.

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.

Academic qualifications

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. 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

  • A relevant Master degree in Robotics, Control, Computer Science or Engineering Cybernetics with an average grade B or better as measured in ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) grades.
  • Proficiency in robotics and control.
  • Proficiency in mathematical modeling, statistical methods.
  • Hands-on experience from implementing algorithms on real systems.
  • Excellent programming skills

Desired Academic qualifications

  • Experience with ROS and python/C++
  • Machine learning, artificial intelligence.
  • Construction of robots, hands-on experience in building robotic systems.
  • Experience with cobots, HMI, etc


Personal skills

Required personal skills

  • Proficiency in both spoken and written English
  • Result-oriented and highly motivated
  • High work capacity
  • Ability to collaborate


Desired personal skills

Ability to:

  • Establish research networks,
  • Work independently under varying conditions
  • Create a good atmosphere in the research group


NMBU offers:

  • An optimistic academic institution with focus on professional development, dissemination and competence.
  • An interdisciplinary and inclusive environment that provides exciting research- and development opportunities.
  • Daily contact with inspiring students and skilled colleagues.
  • Various welfare schemes.
  • Beautiful surroundings just outside Oslo.



The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD. Fellow, wage framework 20 (salary grade 36-62). PhD. Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 51 (NOK 443 900) 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.

Further information

For further information, please contact professor Pål Johan From

E-mail: pal.johan.from@nmbu.no; phone +47 90690932


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: 05.06.2018

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 Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, within 11.05.2018Please quote reference number 18/02682. 

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.

A compulsory contribution of 2 % is made to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund. A good working environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, irrespective of gender, physical ability or cultural background. The workplace will if necessary be facilitated for persons with disabilities.

According to the Freedom of Information Act § 25 the list of applicants for this position may be made public irrespective of whether the applicant has requested that his/her name be withheld.