Position as Industrial PhD student in Informatics with a specialization in data science within the retail industry

Viskan System AB is a private company with expert competence in the supply and development of comprehensive e-commerce solutions. The company was founded in 1996 and provides e-commerce solutions ranging from logistic flow management, subscription-based digital services and state-of-the-art content management. These solutions are made possible through numerous platforms including web, desktop and mobile. Over the years, the company has developed strong customer relationships with its clients. The result has been a large amount of transaction data which offers new opportunities for the company to improve the quality of services offered to its clients.

As an industrial graduate student in INSiDR you will be employed by Viskan System AB, with placement within the Department of Research and Development at the Borås office. In addition, you will be admitted to the PhD study programme in Informatics at Jönköping University.

Project description

During the five years of PhD education, you will spend 80% of your working time on dissertation work, such as:

✓ Planning and conducting research work

✓ Analysing, writing and publishing scientific papers in high quality journals

✓ Participating in research level courses

✓ Participating in national and international conferences and workshops

✓ Organizing and writing the PhD thesis

The PhD project that you will undertake will be focused on two related research problems:

1. Targeted and relevant product recommendations grounded in the analysis of previous purchases of the individual end customer as well as the consuming behavior of similar end customers, or measurable national or international consuming trends. From a data science point of view, the challenge will be to determine a suitable data model and data mining approach that will provide useful recommendations based on the processing and recommendation model training on moderately sized datasets (a typical dataset can contain 100k orders per year). A secondary goal is to determine the generalizability of the proposed approach by evaluating the recommendation system on different sets of data from a variety of Viskan’s retailing customers.

2. Consumer Returns Analysis focuses on an accurate estimation of the likelihood that a customer will return a previously bought item. In the general case, it is interesting to find out whether some items are more likely to be returned than other items regardless of customer. In the specific case, it is useful to determine the potential correlation between item recommendations and returned items, for specific customers or groups of customers, to estimate the accuracy and relevancy of the targeted recommendations. The outlined specific case ties neatly to the first research problem to form the basis for a focused PhD thesis topic.

The remaining 20% of full-time will be spent on work at Viskan System, related to your PhD project, where the aim is to apply the knowledge gathered from the research to improve existing products together with Viskan’s highly skilled developers, using data sets from major retailers and brand owners from the Nordic region.


The core formal qualifications needed for the position are to fulfil the requirements for admission to doctoral studies at Jönköping International Business School. These requirements consists of passed examination at advanced (masters/second) level and fulfilled course requirements of at least 240 credit points (ECTS credits), 60 of which should be at advanced level, or equivalent competences acquired in some other way within or outside of Sweden. Requirements also include a Bachelor degree, consisting of at least 90 credit points (ECTS credits, 3 terms) in a relevant subject area for the position. The doctoral programmes at JIBS are conducted in English. The applicant must show proof of fluency in English, both written and spoken. Please note that a Swedish 1-year master (magister) degree in a relevant subject is sufficient, provided that it also includes a bachelor degree diploma.

For this PhD project, the required core qualifications and skills are:

✓ Master’s degree in informatics or a related subject area, e.g. computer science

✓ Formal education or documented experience in artificial intelligence, machine learning, or data mining and knowledge discovery

✓ Proficiency in at least one scientific computing language (Matlab, Python, or R)

✓ Excellent command of English in both speech and writing

✓ Excellent cooperative and communication skills

✓ Strong motivation for doctoral studies

In addition, the following skills and competences are desirable:

✓ Excellent command of Swedish in both speech and writing

✓ Proficiency in at least one machine learning or data analytics framework or platform (e.g. scikit-learn, Core ML, TensorFlow, Weka)

✓ Prior experience or expertise in consumer behaviour or e-commerce

Terms of Employment

The PhD position entails full-time employment at Viskan System AB, Borås, with an initial 2-year fixed-term contract, which will be converted to a permanent position, subject to sufficient progress of the PhD studies. In total, the PhD study time is limited to a maximum of five years.

As an industrial graduate student in INSiDR you will be required to attend PhD courses and workshops at both University of Borås and Jönköping University, in addition to your daily work at Viskan System AB, Borås.

Starting date: September 2018.

Application and selection procedure Application is open until May 27th.

Applications to the PhD project, and the associated position at Viskan System AB, should be uploaded via the application form


For questions about the PhD project, please contact the academic supervisor or Viskan System.

Supervisor contact: Niklas Lavesson, Professor, School of Engineering, Jönköping University, niklas.lavesson@ju.se, +46 36 101 458

Viskan System contact: Linus Brimstedt, Viskan System AB, linus.brimstedt@viskan.se, +46 70 683 98 54

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