PhD Candidate in Model-Driven Verification and Validation of Software Systems

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About the job

We offer a 4-years PhD position (with 25% teaching duties) in Model-Driven Verification and Validation of Software Systems at the Department of Computer Science, NTNU.

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

The objective of this position is exploring new Model-Driven Engineering (MDE) techniques for the Verification and Validation (V&V) of modern software systems. The focus will be in particular on advancing techniques for systems developed with modern approaches, which include for example the integration of AI-based components and large language models (LLMs).

Model-Driven Engineering (MDE) is a software and system development paradigm centered around structured models. Models are defined according to precise Domain-Specific Languages (DSL), so that they can be used as input to automated code generators and other automation tasks. MDE finds application in repetitive and complex manual tasks: it has been extensively used for V&V tasks, in which information on a complex system needs to be processed and transformed in different ways.

While Model-Driven V&V practices are relatively established for traditional systems, the changes in software development practices in recent years raise new challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, new development techniques like continuous integration can synergize with MDE automated generation of artifacts. On the other hand, the spreading of generative AI techniques, like Large Language Models (LLMs), open up new opportunities for the development of DSLs, but also new areas of application.

MDE is encountered with different names and flavors in the industry. MDE techniques are at the foundation of Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), an initiative from the INCOSE consortium to transition systems engineering to a model-based practice. The software development community refers to such practices as Model-Driven Development (MDD) or Domain-Driven Design (DDD). MDE techniques are standardized by the Object Management Group, a consortium consisting of more than 200 among companies and research organizations.

The successful candidate, together with the supervisor, will be able to define a specific research direction within this topic, according to their interests and background. The applicants are therefore encouraged to propose their own idea in the project proposal to be attached to the application.

The ideal candidate will have some experience of Model-Driven Engineering or Domain-Specific Languages, or some experience with Verification and Validation topics. We look for a candidate that can approach this topic from a software engineering and systems engineering perspective, which means keeping in mind the overall system, even when dealing with specific technologies or components. We are looking for candidates with a strong research perspective that can publish their work in leading academic journals and conference proceedings.

You will report to Head of Department

Duties of the position

The objective of this position is exploring new Model-Driven Engineering (MDE) techniques for the Verification and Validation (V&V) of modern software systems. This work will build on existing research and existing collaborations with international researchers both in the academia and in the industry. The successful candidate is expected to have a strong background in Computer Science or similar disciplines, be knowledgeable about Model-Driven Engineering and/or Verification and Validation aspects and have some experience with reading and reflecting on research papers in the area.

We are seeking a highly motivated individual that wants to excel in a research environment and has strong academic ambitions. The PhD candidate will therefore contribute to generating knowledge regarding the V&V of complex systems.

Part of the main duties and responsibilities include conducting the following:

  • Perform literature reviews and be able to synthesize knowledge.
  • Interact with international researchers from the academy and the industry.
  • Work towards the identification of challenges and solutions in the proposed topics.
  • Develop and/or supervise the development of prototypes or extend existing tools.
  • Communicate and disseminate results to academic and non-academic stakeholders.

Required selection criteria

  • You must have a relevant background in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or similar area.
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are obtained at master’s level. Candidates near completion of their Master’s degree are encouraged to apply.
  • You must have a strong academic background from your previous studies. In particular, admission to the PhD education at NTNU requires an average grade of at least B, within a scale of A-E for passing grades, in the last two years of the master’s degree. 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.
  • You must have experience in topics related to Model-Driven Engineering (MDE), Domain-Specific Languages (DSL), or Verification and Validation (V&V).

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 Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant 

Preferred selection criteria

  • Experience in one or more of the following topics is considered an advantage:
    •  model-driven engineering (e.g., EMF, metamodels, DSLs),
    • reliability and safety evaluation (e.g., Stochastic Petri Nets, Fault Trees),
    • safety- or mission-critical application domains (e.g., railway, automotive, avionics).
  • Publication activities in relevant topics will be considered an advantage.
  • Excellent English written and oral communication skills.
  • Non-native English speakers must provide evidence of good English language skills. For guidance, please refer to section “How to prove English proficiency” in the page on language requirements for Master’s studies at NTNU; the same principles will be used for the advertised position.

Personal characteristics

The applicant should:

  • enjoy working in a team-based environment, but also be able to conduct independent activities and thinking;
  • be comfortable in working both on abstract/theory aspects as well as on concrete/practical details;
  • have good communication skills;
  • be highly motivated to publish in top academic conferences and journals in the software engineering and dependability areas.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience, and personal suitability, as well as motivation for the topics specified in the advertised position.

We offer

Salary and conditions

As a PhD candidate (code 1017) you are normally paid from gross NOK 532 200 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% of the time devoted to teaching assistance/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 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.
  • A project proposal (1-2 pages) that describes how you envision your research activities within topic, and how the topic connects to your expertise.
  • Publications, if it applies, or other relevant research work.
  • Name and address of three referees

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.

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

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.

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 Associate Professor Leonardo Montecchi (e-mail If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact HR at IDI:

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 2022/26341 when applying.

Application deadline: 23.11.23

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 .

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