Call for project proposals - Digital transformation

Call for transformative research projects. Information about the call, who can apply, criteria, how to apply, evaluation process and the application form. 

Last updated/revised: 15 January, 2018

Deadline #

16.2.2018 13:00 CET.

Who can apply?  #

Scientific staff at NTNU. As we try to develop new initiatives, no project that fits in naturally with the funded research programme of an existing centre will be assessed.  

NTNU can become a key contributor  #

Industrialised societies are increasingly exposed to disruptive changes caused by application of a broad array of digital technologies. This digital transformation opens numerous opportunities and it exposes us to several societal challenges. 

NTNU is, through its broad academic basis, strong technology profile, strength in research and development, possession of a large and highly talented student pool, and its long tradition for successful cooperation with the public sector and the lion’s share of Norwegian industry, well positioned to: 

  1. Contribute substantially to making Norway become a prominent provider of transformative digital technology for the international market, 
  2. Develop and utilize digital technology to significantly move the research frontiers in several areas, and
  3. Become a key partner for exploiting the digital technology to the fullest in Norway to enhance the competitiveness of existing and emerging industry and to improve public sector functions, while ensuring societal development in tune with the expectations of Norwegian citizens.

Call for transformative research projects   #

To demonstrate our dedication to become such a key contributor, NTNU has earmarked up to 40 PhD positions to pursue transformative research on the development and application of digital transformation technology.

Transformative research involves ideas, discoveries, or tools that radically change our understanding of an important existing scientific or engineering concept or educational practice or leads to the creation of a new paradigm or field of science, engineering, or education. Such research challenges current understanding or provides pathways to new frontiers.

More about Transformative Research

These positions represents a significant share of NTNU’s strategic freedom, and it is therefore most important to follow ideas and themes that might be a starting point for future scientific breakthroughs in a 5 to 10 years perspective.

Proposals leaning heavily towards fundamental theoretical and methodological development are encouraged, but no such proposal will be funded unless one or more application domains are targeted for proof-of-principle demonstration. 

We seek proposals dimensioned for concerted and efficient use of 3-6 new PhD positions involving 2-5 tenured researchers from at least two disciplines with supervisor/co-supervisor roles.

A minimum demand is that the proposed project is multidisciplinary, i.e. researchers representing different fields contribute methods and ideas from their respective disciplines towards the analysis of a particular research question while not necessarily challenging disciplinary boundaries. Proposals where concepts, methodologies and epistemologies are explicitly exchanged and integrated into a coherent whole, resulting in a mutual enrichment and empowerment to solve challenging problem are most welcome.

It is not possible to apply for any other projects costs but PhD-positions.  

Targeted areas  #

Particular attention will be given to projects addressing development of digital transformation technology (like for example Big data analytics/machine learning/AI, Digital Twins, Internet of Things, Augmented and Virtual reality) of relevance to one or more of the partly overlapping areas:

  • Manufacturing 
  • Construction
  • Ocean-based industries
  • Process industry
  • Energy sector
  • Information security
  • Public sector (including Health)
  • Digital learning and dissemination
  • E-democracy and citizen empowerment

Relevant information sources  #

Concerning thematic scope within these areas, seek inspiration from for example: 

Criteria  #

The proposed research problem should be based on a thorough identification of the relevant knowledge frontiers and clearly address digital transformation. 

The proposed research:

  • Should be transformative according to the definition given above
  • Might very well involve high risks, but it must be documented that the identified risks are not due to lack of critical competence needed for addressing the research question in a proper way
  • Should have the potential to be published in high impact journals
  • Should become the starting point of a research programme capable of attracting substantial national and international funding. 

International collaboration is not a strict demand, but if the project does not involve international collaboration, this has to be justified. 

When you prepare your proposal, assess your research problem and your academic strengths carefully in the context of national and international academic competition and to which extent your research plan, in terms of prior knowledge, is already fundable through existing external national and international governmental funding streams and established industry collaboration.  Where applicable, you should also assess the extent of current industry focus on the research problem.  

The proposal must be formulated in accordance with the application form provided here. Proposals that do not use this application form will not be assessed.

How to apply:  #

  • Applications must be submitted via the host faculty of the project leader. 
  • Applications that do not fill the criteria will be rejected.

Evaluation process: #

  1. The evaluation of proposals will be done by the Pro-Deans for research in accordance with the criteria given, but constrained by the demand that the funded projects will give a faculty-wise distribution of positions in line with existing rules (AD 1, HF 3, IE 7, IV 9, MH 7, NV 6, SU 5, ØK 2).    
  2. The list of funded projects will be announced: 19.3.2018
  3. In order to allow a concerted national and international advertisement of all positions 18.4.2018, the leaders of the funded projects, in cooperation with their own faculty/department, will have to prepare polished advertisement texts for the individual Ph.D.-positions within 16.04.18. 
  4. Planned deadline for Ph.D. applications is 18.5.2018. 

Application form  #

Maximum length: 5 pages (margins, min 2.5 cm, typing: TNR, size: min 11 points, spacing: 1) + CVs for the main partners (maximum 1 page per partner in the same format as for the proposal)

Applications deviating from the form will not be considered.

  • Project title: 
  • Project leader: (name, title, e-mail address, department, faculty):
  • Co-applicants: (name, title, department, faculty)
  • Aim of the project: 
  • Level of impact and excellence: (Explain why the planned research is potentially transformative)
  • Publication level: (Explain why a successful project might give one or more top level publications)
  • External financing: (Indicate a plan for attracting further external financial support for the project, eg.  FRIPRO, FET, ERC, and explain why the described project may serve as a basis to obtain this.)
  • Project plan: (Describe the assessable objectives that together realise the main goal of the project, their risk profile, the main underlying hypotheses, methods, progress plan and the organisation of the project (including an outline of the work plan for each PhD fellowship). 
  • Appendix:CVs for the main partners (maximum 1 page per partner incl. project leader)

Presentations #

Pro-Rector for Research Bjarne Foss's presentation on digital transformation (PDF)

Examples of digital transformation, photo collage (PDF)

Q&A from online meeting about the call for proposals - digital transformation 11 January 2018 (log in required)

Contact #

Ruth Hagen Rødde

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