PhD Candidate in Electric Insulation Systems in Superconductive Power Trains for Aircraft Propulsion

Norwegian University of Science and Technology
January 15, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A

The Department of Electric Power Engineering has a vacancy for a

PhD Candidate in Electric Insulation Systems in Superconductive Power Trains

for Aircraft Propulsion

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

The Department of Electric Power Engineering (IEL) at NTNU has a vacancy for a full-time 100% position as a Ph.D. candidate within the field of High Voltage Engineering and Electrical Machines and Drives – “Electric Insulation Systems in Superconductive Power Trains for Aircraft Propulsion”. The work of this project will be associated with NTNU's Clean Aviation initiative that is currently being embraced locally at NTNU. The prospective candidate will be part of a project team that works in close collaboration with the aircraft industry.

The main supervisor will be Associate Professor Pål Keim Olsen. Co-supervisor will be Professor Kaveh Niayesh.

The position reports to the Head of Department. The main workplace will be in Trondheim.

Duties of the position

The aviation sector is currently facing a paradigm shift. It has become clear in recent years that the key to the pursuit of zero-emission aviation is the integration of new disruptive hydrogen-based propulsion technologies into the aircraft architecture. Further still, concerns around the rapid scalability of hydrogen aircraft to regional flight routes have shown that revolutionary technology improvements are inevitably needed.

The achieved level of electrification will be essential, as it will be the key player to reduce non-carbon emissions (mainly from water, NOx, SOx, soot, contrails, and contrail cirrus), as well as reducing onboard fuel consumption and noise. In fact, the electrification component is projected to be increasing by a factor of 50 to 100, compared to today's solutions. However, to save additional mass due to the electrification, higher power densities will be required.

The introduction of cryogenically chilled superconducting materials can enhance the current carrying capability, meaning that one achieves low energy loss while enhancing the power density of the electrical components. This performance can be achieved by heat-exchanging the components with onboard liquid hydrogen (LH2) at cryogenic temperatures (-253 °C).

Electrical insulation systems at cryogenic temperatures have been recognized as one of the key challenges for the efficient, reliable, and practical development of superconducting power apparatus. The organic insulation materials in these systems deteriorate much faster than metallic and ceramic materials. Partial discharges, i.e. electron avalanches in gas at the surface or in the volume of the insulation materials, are both a cause and symptom of this deterioration. The main challenges for the insulation system design and validation in cryo-electric aviation are fast-switching power electronics voltage stress, low temperature, low pressure and cosmic irradiation. The PhD candidate will address these challenges in a state-of-the-art cryo-insulation material test bench to measure partial discharge characteristics and perform material lifetime validation. The test bench delivers switched pulses at 20 kV and 10 kHz, with ultra-high frequency partial discharge detection and control of temperature, irradiation and pressure in the test chamber. A further advantage of such a test bench is the opportunity to investigate partial discharges detection as a non-destructive method for condition monitoring of superconducting propulsors.

Required selection criteria
  • You must have a master's degree within Electric Power Engineering or Physics with a specialization relevant to the given research area.
  • 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.
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty's doctoral program (https: // www.
  • Good written and oral English language skills. Applicants from non-English speaking countries outside EU/EEA/Switzerland must provide preliminary documentation of English language proficiency, in terms of an approved test. The following tests can be used: TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).
  • The appointment is to be made in accordance with 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
  • Professionally relevant background in non-conductive materials for superconductive applications or similar is an advantage.
  • Relevant (non-)scientific publications, e.g. in popular sciences, showing the ability to communicate fluently.
  • Written and oral Norwegians skills are an advantage. If you are not from a Scandinavian speaking country, you may provide documentation of your skills (e.g. Norskprøven, Bergenstest).
  • Personal characteristics
  • Inquisitive and self-motivated
  • Creativity and innovation in research
  • Scientific mindset
  • Ability to work across traditional disciplines and easily get in touch with other researchers
  • Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

    We offer
  • Exciting and stimulating tasks in a strong international academic environment
  • An open and inclusive work environment with dedicated colleagues
  • Favourable terms in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • 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 employment contract is for three years; however, there is a possibility for extension up to four years if selected for assistantship.

    Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in in Electric Power Engineering 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 or Norwegian.

    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:

  • A cover letter where the applicant describes personal motivation and relevance with respect to the requirements of this advertisement.
  • A draft research proposal (1-2 pages) for the PhD study, where you present your own ideas for the PhD-work and how it can be applied, based on the project description given in this advertisement. This proposal will be neither final nor binding for the project.
  • CV and transcripts/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 and add contact details to your supervisor.
  • Testimonials and certificates. Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement (https: // or a similar document, which describes in detail the study programme and grading system.
  • Name and contact information of three references.
  • Relevant publications or research work.
  • Incomplete applications will not be assessed.

    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

    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. (tas bort hvis ikke aktuelt)

    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 Pål Keim Olsen , email . If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Bodil Vuttudal Wold , e-mail:

    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: 15.01.2023

    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 Electric Power Engineering

    The Department of Electric Power Engineering is one of the seven departments at the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. Our department is Norway's leading in the field, and our vision is to be at the centre of the digital, green shift. We have excellent collaboration with business and industry as well as other universities and research organizations internationally. This gives us outstanding opportunities for interdisciplinary research with high relevance for the society, addressing industrial needs and global challenges.


    15th January 2023


    NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology




    Fulltime (1 positions) Fulltime (%)



    Place of service

    NTNU Campus Trondheim

    From this employer

    Recent blogs

    Recent news