PhD in Automated Online Adaptive Proton Therapy

PhD in Automated Online Adaptive Proton Therapy

Published Deadline Location
9 Oct 15 Nov Delft

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Job description

Radiotherapy (RT) is a key treatment modality for cancer, but side-effects can have significant negative impact on patients' quality-of-life. Intensity-Modulated Proton Therapy (IMPT) is a new type of RT, holding the promise of better preserving normal tissues surrounding the tumor, due to the finite range of protons. However, IMPT's advantage also comes at the cost of increased sensitivity to uncertainties in patient alignment and dose calculation, or changes in patient anatomy, which can never be completely eliminated. To account for uncertainties in IMPT, robust treatment planning has been proposed, where possible errors are directly incorporated in treatment planning. Robust planning decreases the sensitivity of treatments, however at the cost of irradiating larger volumes around target structures, thus degrading the superior normal tissue sparing potential of IMPT.

To provide a solution, the HollandPTC funded IMAGINATION project aims to take leap in IMPT treatments by developing and clinically implementing for the first time worldwide fully automated online adaptive proton therapy. This will enable IMPT treatments to be adjusted to the exact anatomy of the patient on each day without any interaction from the physicians and the treatment planners, thus making use of the full tissue sparing potential offered by IMPT. This is a collaborative project between TU Delft, Erasmus MC and HollandPTC, in which 2 PhDs will work closely together with the 3 institutes and their staff. During the project numerical methods and algorithms will be developed that enable automated progressive daily adaptation of the treatment plans during the course of the treatment; fast online refinement of treatments before each treatment session; automated quality assurance of adapted and refined plans; and online patient specific quality assurance based on the actually delivered treatment.

We seek enthusiastic candidates with a strong academic record and a keen interest in numerical modelling and algorithm development. We encourage applications from historically underrepresented groups in the STEM field, including women, people of color and all other minorities. TU Delft is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants receive consideration for the position without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student with a keen interest in developing numerical methods and software algorithms for automated online quality assurance of automated online adaptive IMPT treatments. The candidate should meet the following requirements:

  • Solid background in applied mathematics and computational physics, especially in probability theory, numerical analysis, and model and algorithm development.
  • MSc degree in Applied Physics, Applied Mathematics, Medical Physics, Biomedical Engineering or equivalent.
  • Programming experience in at least one current language (e.g. Matlab, Python, C/C++).
  • Excellent communication skills in English, both in writing and speaking.
  • Good team-player, ability to work in a collaborative environment with the Erasmus MC PhD and the project partners.
  • A background in radiotherapy or medical physics is a plus, but not necessary.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.



Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is a multifaceted institution offering education and carrying out research in the technical sciences at an internationally recognised level. Education, research and design are strongly oriented towards applicability. TU Delft develops technologies for future generations, focusing on sustainability, safety and economic vitality. At TU Delft you will work in an environment where technical sciences and society converge. TU Delft comprises eight faculties, unique laboratories, research institutes and schools.


Faculty Applied Sciences

The Faculty of Applied Sciences is the largest faculty of TU Delft, with around 550 scientists, a support staff of 250 and 1,800 students. The faculty conducts fundamental, application-oriented research and offers scientific education at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels. The faculty is active in the fields of Life and Health Science & Technology, Nanoscience, Chemical Engineering, Radiation Science & Technology, and Applied Physics.

The position is in the Department of Radiation Science and Technology (RST, Radiation ties the RST department together. The focus of our research is on energy and health. However our interests vary - whether they be materials, sensors and instrumentation, energy and sustainable production or health - all our research is somehow related to radiation. Close collaboration with the Reactor Institute Delft and the newly built Holland Proton Therapy Center (HollandPTC) guarantees access to the reactor and the irradiation facilities, as well as to a clinical proton beam.

The Holland Proton Therapy Centre (HollandPTC), founded by Erasmus Medical Centre, Leiden University Medical Centre and TU Delft, is an active partnership between these organizations in which they collaborate in the fields of healthcare, education, and groundbreaking research. The Centre has also established partnerships with other national and international proton centers.

HollandPTC is an independent outpatient clinic and research centre, located in Delft. The centre has two proton gantries with in-room CT imaging, a treatment room for the irradiation of eye tumors, and a bunker with a proton bundle for research. In addition, the centre has modern imaging equipment, including a dual-energy CT, a 3T MRI, and a PET/CT.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • University graduate
  • TNWRST19-039


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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