Smartster – Project description

Position as Industrial PhD student in Informatics with a specialization in Data science and Machine Learning

Smartster is operating digital marketplaces in 5 countries to help consumers find discounted retail offers from more than 800 retail chains and 22,000 brands. Smartster updates 20 million products on a daily basis and enables both physical retail chains with store networks and pure online retailers to present their offers. In order to improve the shopping experience, a new layer of data science, AI and machine learning is now being integrated into the Smartster platform. The Industrial PhD student will be one a key resource in driving this development. The overall purpose of the PhD project is to deliver in-depth knowledge of big data and how it can be used to improve retail conversions through AI, machine learning and recommendation engines.

As an industrial graduate student in INSiDR you will be employed by Smartster, with placement at the Smartster headquarters in Borås, Sweden. 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 is focused on obtaining customer insights through data analytics, with the aim of increasing the business value for the customer through personalised recommendations. More specifically, you will develop algorithms and methods, typically based on machine learning, for automatic analysis of large data sets. One specific task is to create a sophisticated recommendation engine, based on customer profiles and historical behaviour. In addition, different approaches to efficient customer segmentation will be investigated. An important part of the project is to integrate proposed methods and algorithms into the company’s operations, in order to evaluate the quality of the solutions. The work will be conducted as applied research, where findings and methods are continuously applied to the existing international platforms and improved using live data from existing consumers, possibly in real-time. As a doctoral candidate working on this project, you will be an integral part of a creative work environment, and will be reporting directly to the CTO and CEO at Smartster.

The remaining 20% of your time will be spent on work at Smartster, related to your PhD project, where the following tasks are included:

  • Work on improving/developing the technical platform and data store in use by Smartster as part of the developer team.
  • Integration of proposed methods and algorithms into the company’s operations and systems.
  • Implementation of solutions for customized and personalized user start pages, which are adapted to previous user patterns and data.
  • Implement systems for personalised newsletters and social media communication with individual users.


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, a very strong background in applied informatics, computer science, software engineering or a related subject is required. Specifically, you must have a documented excellence in programming, and you should be interested in developing this skill even further. Fluency in written and spoken English is a must.

For this position, we believe that you already have some experience of working with AI, machine learning, data science, data mining or that you have taken several courses in these subjects at a recognized university. Proficiency in a data science tool like KNIME, or experience of using Python for data analysis applications, is highly meriting. Experience from LAMP (Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP) environments is highly desirable, as well as knowledge of database architectures.  Skills in conducting experimental studies are also an advantage. Fluency in written and spoken Swedish is desirable.

We seek candidates who have a positive mindset and a can-do attitude and who actively seek to work in an international environment. We welcome applicants from any nation, gender and background who want to work in a multicultural environment. The candidate must be able to work autonomously and independently, as well as in our team.

Terms of Employment

The PhD position entails full-time employment at Smartster, 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 Smartster, Borås.

Start: September 2018

Application and selection procedure

It is still possible to send in an application. All applications submitted after this date will be considered in order of submission, until all positions are filled.

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


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

Supervisor contact: Vladimir Tarasov, Associate Professor, School of Engineering, Jönköping University,, +46 36 101591

Smartster contact: Andreas Swahn, CEO, Smartster Group AB (publ),, +46-704-22 22 01.

For questions about INSiDR or the PhD studies, please contact:
Jenny Balkow, INSiDR Director of School, University of Borås,
, +46 70 191 48 19
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