PhD Research Fellow in Big Data: Decision Support Platform for Assessing Strategic use of Big Data in Local Enterprises

Sogndal og Fosshaugane Campus. Foto: Falkeblikk AS

Vestlandsforsking has one open position as a PhD Research Fellow in big data. The research fellow will be part of the Teknoløft Sogn and Fjordane project funded by the Norwegian Research Council for the period of 2018 – 2023. The research fellow position will target local business relevant decision support solution for effective big data mining and data exploitation.


The aim of the Teknoløft-project is to educate PhD candidates in big data and robotics in close cooperation with local enterprises in the county Sogn og Fjordane. The 6-year project seeks to expand the role of research in the county business sector’s innovation processes. We are seeking a PhD candidate to be part of this new initiative, producing top research at the crossroad between data science, machine learning, and innovation, with a specific focus on innovative uses of big data. Candidates will develop new ideas and methodology motivated by challenges of local enterprises.

Vestlandsforsking participates in regional, national and international research collaborations. The Big Data Group at the institute is composed of interdisciplinary researchers whose activities include big data analytics in wide set of semantic dimensions. We are further building up a research community in big data, in which the research fellow will be a part of. In addition, the research fellow will work closely with PhD research fellows at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) employed at the Teknoløft-project.

The position is for a period of three years, with the opportunity for a fourth year. In the latter case, 25 percent of the work will be relevant duties at Vestlandsforsking. The PhD studies includes a compulsory 3-6 months visit to an international research group.

PhD Research Fellow Position in Big Data: Decision Support Platform for Assessing Strategic use of Big Data in Local Enterprises

The critical factors and support environments which lead to a successful application and value generation from big data technologies in small and medium enterprises are largely unknown. The objective is to improve understanding about the impact of big data by developing an innovative, integrated and holistic tool. The candidate is expected to perform an exploration study in order to understand the patterns and requirements which are pertinent for generating value out of big data in local enterprises. The work should aim at developing a Decision Support Platform which will be able to predict the value generated (i.e., socio-economic impact) from big data technologies, taking as input the specific characteristics and related information of the business under assessment and associating it with a predefined set of use cases with similar characteristics by applying machine learning and data mining methods.


Applicants must hold a master's degree in statistics, mathematics, computer science or a related quantitative subject. Candidates who will submit their master’s thesis before 30th of June 2018 will also be considered. A good knowledge of machine learning, data mining or related methods is essential, and a research-oriented master thesis within one of these or related areas will be considered as an advantage. Furthermore, candidates must be able to demonstrate competence in at least one modern programming language such as Scala, Python or R.

In addition to the required educational background, the following criteria will be evaluated: competence and grades on completed course work, quality of the master’s thesis (excellent grade, equivalent of grade B or better on the ECTS grading system), publications (if any), and research experience.

The candidate must be diligent and display the ability to work independently, supplemented with regular guidance, and is expected to perform high-quality research and to publish the results in international workshops, conferences, and journals. It is the aim of the project to interact extensively with industrial partners, and the candidate should have excellent collaboration skills. The candidate must be proficient in written and spoken Norwegian and English.

The PhD research fellow must enrol in the PhD programme Computer Science at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and must meet the formal requirements for admission into the PhD programme. An application for enrolment should first be submitted after the appointment is made and the supervisor(s) will help with this procedure. The candidate must be enrolled as a PhD student within 3 months from the start of the employment.

Applying for the position

Applications will be evaluated by an expert panel. Applicants are asked to submit their application by e-mail to within 18th of June 2018.

The application letter should state the relevant qualifications for the position and your motivating interest in big data and should be accompanied by a CV with a complete list of scientific publications.

Please send diplomas, certificates and other documents to Vestlandsforsking, Postboks 163, 6851 Sogndal.

Applicants should indicate which publications or parts of publications should be given special consideration in the evaluation. If the documents are not in a Scandinavian language or in English, the applicants must submit certified translation of these. The transcripts must specify the topics, the course work, and the grades at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels.

Salary and working place

Initial salaries will be offered at NOK 436 900 / grade 50 in the Civil Service pay grade table scale. There is a compulsory 2% deduction to the pension fund. The successful applicant must comply with the guidelines that apply for the position at any time.

The place of work for this position is Sogndal.

Vestlandsforsking is a research organisation that conducts contract R&D as a partner for private and public sector. We are about 30 employees with expertise in the fields of society and technology, climate and environment, and tourism. We perform research both at the regional and national level and have long traditions in international research collaboration. We deliver knowledge that contribute to innovation and sustainable development. The institute is located in Sogndal in the county Sogn and Fjordane at Fosshaugane Campus in an active and innovative environment with both R&D activities, education and entrepreneurship. Sogn og Fjordane is known for its fantastic nature and excellent possibilities for an active outdoor life.