PhD Candidate in Artificial Intelligence: Explainable Machine Learning for Management of Diabetes

at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
Published November 23, 2022
Location Trondheim, Norway
Category Machine Learning  
Job Type Scholarship  


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 44,000 students work to create knowledge for a better world.

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


About the job

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree.

The PhD Candidate will research methods for explainable machine learning in the context of health management, with an emphasis on causality, Bayesian networks, and related techniques from artificial intelligence (AI). The candidate will obtain a deeper insight into research questions, concepts, and techniques associated with the concept of cause-and-effect in AI, including relationships to other methods and models used in AI. The goal of the project is to develop new AI methods that will help to improve the understanding and management of diabetes, specifically gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).  Women with increased risk of GDM will be engaged in managing their own health. The purpose of this is for them to improve their metabolic health before and during pregnancy, based on new insights obtained by using machine learning (ML) models created from real-world GDM data.

Existing data from a lifestyle intervention trial in women with increased risk for GDM, BEFORE THE BEGINNING (BTB), will be used.  This project will complement the clinical trial with explainable causal ML models for prediction: Using BTB data and explainable ML models and methods developed in this project, predictions at an early stage of pregnancy (or before pregnancy) can be made as to which women are at high risk of developing GDM.  Such predictions, taking into consideration health management evidence and activities, would be of great clinical value.

The project is a collaboration between Ole Jakob Mengshoel at Department of Computer Science at  NTNU and Trine Moholdt at the Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging at NTNU.

Your immediate leader is the group leader of Data and Artificial Intelligence.

Duties of the position

In this position, you will:

  • Conduct high-quality research and take a leading role in writing research papers and articles;
  • comply with the PhD training program at the IE Faculty;
  • identify, develop, and experiment with explainable AI techniques, with a focus on machine learning using causal Bayesian networks applied to GDM data;
  • complement an on-going randomised controlled trial at the Faculty of Medicine and Health (the BTB project);
  • improve and develop explainable causal ML-models for prediction of GDM and its progression of comorbidities in order to provide patient-tailored treatment plans (nutrition, medication, exercise, etc.);
  • discover correlation and causation in bio-data, including clinical outcomes, from women with increased risk of GDM and possible comorbidities based on collected data in the on-going BTB project; and
  • establish close collaborations with researchers, other PhD candidates, and MS students working on similar projects in both departments.

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a professionally relevant background in artificial intelligence, computer science, computer engineering, applied mathematics, or equivalent.
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree program, 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.
  • Master's students can apply, but the master's degree must be obtained and documented before March 2023.
  • You must have strong written and oral English language skills.
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty's doctoral program: PhD studies – Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering - NTNU. 

The appointment is to be made in accordance with Regulations on terms of employment for positions such as postdoctoral fellow, Phd candidate, research assistant and specialist candidate and Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Preferred selection criteria

  • Strong background in one or more of artificial intelligence, computer science, machine learning, or optimization.
  • Strong applied mathematical skills - in one or more of discrete mathematics, mathematical modelling, optimization theory, probability, statistics, or theoretical computer science.
  • Excellent programming skills - in one or more of: C, C++, Java, Julia, Lisp, Python, R, or Scala.
  • Experience with or interest in AI or statistical methods applied to medical data.
  • Strong written and oral Norwegian, Danish, or Swedish language skills.

Personal characteristics

In the evaluation of candidates, emphasis will be placed on education and experience, as well as personal suitability for the position which will include:

  • Willingness and ability to learn new skills and approaches in a multidisciplinary team research environment.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Excellent writing skills, capable of synthesizing and expressing complex ideas clearly.
  • Self-motivated, ambitious, resilient, resourceful, result-oriented, and independent.

Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

We offer

Salary and conditions

As a PhD candidate (code 1017) you are normally paid from gross NOK 501 200 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 4 years (with 25 % teaching duties), alternatively 3 years (with no teaching duties).

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in Computer Science 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.

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 your application will be considered based solely on information submitted by the application deadline. You must therefore ensure that your application clearly demonstrates how your skills and experience fulfil the criteria specified above.

The application must include:

  • CV or resume.
  • 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 it. Documentation of a completed master's degree must be presented before taking up the position.
  • A short project proposal (2-3 pages) describing the main research challenges for the relevant research discussed under “About the position” as well as corresponding research goals and an initial project plan.
  • Name, current affiliation, and email address of at least two persons who will provide references for you.
  • Publications or other relevant research work that you have written.

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.

Documents must be translated to English unless they are in Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, or English.

We will take joint work into account. If it is difficult to identify your efforts in the joint work, you must enclose a short 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

NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is our strength. We want to recruit people with different competencies, educational backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives to contribute to solving our social responsibilities within education and research. We will facilitate for our employees’ needs.

NTNU is working actively to increase the number of women employed in scientific positions and has a number of resources to promote equality.

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.

A public list of applicants with name, age, job title and municipality of residence is prepared after the application deadline. If you want to reserve yourself from entry on the public applicant list, this must be justified. Assessment will be made in accordance with current legislation. You will be notified if the reservation is not accepted.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Ole Jakob Mengshoel, email  Potential candidates can also contact Trine Moholdt, email, if they want more information about the BTB project. If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact HR, email:

If you think this looks interesting and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates attached. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation.

Application deadline: 15.01.23

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Computer Science

We are the leading academic IT environment in Norway, and offer a wide range of theoretical and applied IT programmes of study at all levels. Our subject areas include hardware, algorithms, visual computing, AI, databases, software engineering, information systems, learning technology, HCI, CSCW, IT operations and applied data processing. The Department has groups in both Trondheim and Gjøvik. The Department of Computer Science is one of seven departments in the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering .