Computational materials modelling for space

Computational materials modelling for space

Published Deadline Location
13 May 1 Jul Delft

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Job description

1 PhD position is available under the QAIMS (Quantum-enhanced Artificial Intelligence for sustainable Materials and Structural design in aerospace) lab of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of TU Delft. It falls in the exciting interdisciplinary area of Machine Learning (ML), Quantum Computing (QC), and computational materials modelling. When energetic particles interact with materials in space environment, they can cause defects and resultant property degradation. Classical ab initio density functional theory calculations are limited by small scale and short time whereas classical molecular dynamics are limited by insufficient accuracy. Machine learning is expected to bridge the gap by enabling a more accurate description of a material at atomic level at a relatively low computational cost. This PhD project is about to take this idea a step further, namely enhancing the AI models using QC to allow them to learn and predict “quantum mechanically”.

Through this project, we aim to make use of the trained QAI model for the design of accurate interatomic potentials and for detection of detailed characteristics of structural defects. This predictive modeling shall shine light on designing radiation-hard space materials under different mission conditions. The supervision will be jointly carried out by a team of academics from Novel Aerospace Materials (Dr. Yinglu Tang) and Applied Mathematics (Dr. Sebastian Feld and Dr. Matthias Möller) of TU Delft.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


Candidates should have a MSc degree in materials science, or a related field. Candidates should possess a strong foundation on computational materials modelling such as density functional theory, molecular dynamics, linear algebra, optimization, and programming. We are looking for candidates who

  • are independent, self-motivated, explorative, resilient
  • are open-minded, enjoy communication and networking with peers
  • have excellent command of English, both verbally and in writing
  • have experiences with computational materials modelling
  • have a demonstrable passion for machine learning and/or quantum computing and space

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2443 per month in the first year to € 3122 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Aerospace Engineering

The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world’s most highly ranked (and most comprehensive) research, education and innovation communities devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. More than 200 science staff, around 250 PhD candidates and over 2,700 BSc and MSc students apply aerospace engineering disciplines to address the global societal challenges that threaten us today, climate change without doubt being the most important. Our focal subjects: sustainable aerospace, big data and artificial intelligence, bio-inspired engineering and smart instruments and systems. Working at the faculty means working together. With partners in other faculties, knowledge institutes, governments and industry, both aerospace and non-aerospace. Working in field labs and innovation hubs on our university campus and beyond.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • €2443—€3122 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD02295


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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