PhD scholarship in AI Methods for Improving Process Safety in Automation Systems

Technical University of Denmark


August 29, 2021


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PhD scholarship in AI Methods for Improving Process Safety in Automation


DTU Electrical Eng

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Apply no later than 29 August 2021 Apply for the job at DTU Electrical Eng by completing the following form.

DTU Electrical Engineering seeks qualified and talented candidates for a vacant PhD position in Improving Process Safety by Applying Model-based Methods.

The purpose of the project is to define function modelling framework and implement model-based AI reasoning solutions, i.e. to develop representations and algorithms, to support a variety of industrial safety assessment procedures including Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment. The model- based reasoning system will be applied for knowledge management and decision support to facilitate the industrial safety assessment activities.

Your work will have the potential to influence the current industrial practices, and subsequently improve the safety and reliability of industrial systems, reducing the social and environmental impact due to industrial accidents.

Responsibilities and qualifications Safety Assessment is a key building block through industrial plants' life cycle, which includes important steps such as hazard identification and afterwards risk evaluation. The result of it subsequently is used to support decision making during plant design, operation and maintenance, to eliminate or mitigate risks and improve safety level of the systems. However, many results of the safety assessment activities such as HAZOP studies are highly dependent on human experience and they are unlikely to be complete, consistent and error-free.

Model-based methods are gaining recognitions in Safety Assessment due to their features such as concrete knowledge representations and consistent knowledge- based reasoning. These features bring great potential to improve the efficiency of the Safety Assessment procedure and consistency of its result. The models developed for such a purpose should represent the safety objectives and functions explicitly and always be maintained and updated, corresponding to new operational situations and changing operational conditions to support Safety Assessment through the plants' life cycle.

The overall aim of the project is to define formal knowledge representation and develop reasoning algorithms for Safety Assessment methods based on one of the functional modelling approach called Multilevel Flow Modelling (MFM). Current research in MFM at DTU Electrical Engineering is about developing MFM based reasoning algorithms and software tools for the analysis of causes and consequences of disturbances in industrial plants like oil and gas production plants. More information regarding MFM can be found at https: // www., and additional training will be provided once the project starts. The methodology will be applicable to all kinds of complex process facilities, power plants, infrastructure and more.

The project is part of a research program “operations and maintenance technology” funded by the Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Center (DHRTC). The overall purpose of the program is to improve operations and safety of oil and gas production platforms in the Danish North Sea. MFM here plays a central role as a methodology for representation of plant knowledge and for Safety Assessment, Operation Support and Maintenance Planning. MFM is the technology basis for the Control Room Assistant (CRA), software developed by the project partner Kairos Technology, and will be applied again to a new software product called the “Hazop Assistant”.

We are searching for applicants that with one (or more) of the following background:

  • General Automation or Process control
  • Safety Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence (rule based systems and knowledge representation)
  • You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

    Approval and Enrolment The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

    Assessment The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor Ole Ravn and Assistant Professor Xinxin Zhang, DTU Electrical Engineering and Jørgen Rentler Næumann, DHRTC DTU.

    We offer DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

    Salary and appointment terms The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

    The starting date is 1 November 2021.

    You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

    Further information Further information may be obtained from Assistant Professor Xinxin Zhang,

    You can read more about DTU Electrical Engineering at www., and about “DHRTC” at www.

    If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.

    Application procedure Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 29 August 2021 (Danish time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

    All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

    The Automation and Control group performs research and teaching in automation technology, control theory, robotics and autonomous systems at DTU. The group has 54 affiliated researchers and other employees. Please read more about the Automation and Control group on www.

    DTU Electrical Engineering educates students within electrical engineering technologies. We offer studies at BEng, BSc, MSc, and PhD levels, and participate in joint international programmes. We conduct excellent research within acoustic technologies, electromagnetic systems, electronics, autonomous systems, robotic technologies, digital energy solutions, interconnected energy systems, electric energy technologies, and not least electrification in many respects. Our Department has more than 200 members of staff.

    Technology for people DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world

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